Monday, June 15, 2015

F. A. Hayek's Controversial Visits to Pinochet's Chile

Bruce Caldwell and Leonidas Montes have a new paper out on F. A. Hayek's controversial visits to Pinochet's Chile, Friedrich Hayek and His Visits to Chile.

I haven't read the paper yet, but here is the abstract and the conclusion from the paper:

Abstract: F. A. Hayek took two trips to Chile, the first in 1977, the second in 1981. The visits were controversial. On the first trip he met with General Augusto Pinochet, who had led a coup that overthrew Salvador Allende in 1973. During his 1981 visit, Hayek gave interviews that were published in the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio and in which he discussed authoritarian regimes and the problem of unlimited democracy. After each trip, he complained that the western press had painted an unfair picture of the economic situation under the Pinochet regime. Drawing on archival material, interviews, and past research, we provide a full account of this controversial episode in Hayek's life.

1. During the first trip Hayek met with elite members of the Chilean society who were gracious hosts and were active supporters of the military regime. He gradually warmed to what he saw and came away with the feeling that there were some dramatic economic improvements, and that conditions in Chile and other places had been misrepresented in the press. He felt this strongly enough to have written to the FAZ while still on his trip.

2. We have presented evidence that Hayek’s ideas were little known in Chile in the 1970s. As such, it is very unlikely that they played a role in the creation of the 1980 Chilean Constitution. It also does not seem that those who invoked his name to defend their own positions correctly represented Hayek’s actual views.          
 3. We have shown that the available evidence suggests that Hayek did not participate in the selection of Viña del Mar as the site for the 1981 Regional Meeting of the Mont Pèlerin Society.

4. Hayek’s second trip to Chile was quite different from the first in terms of his hosts. Both Jorge Cauas and Hernán Cortés Douglas, President and Executive Director of CEP, wanted to learn more about his political and social philosophy and to gain some insights about how to make the transition back to a constitutional democracy in Chile. Other members of CEP, however, wanted to retain the Chicago Boys’ emphasis on economic policy. The tension came up in some early interviews when Hayek commented about Friedman, and was evident in the April 1981 meeting of the Council of CEP and in his interview with Lucia Santa Cruz.

5. The interviews in El Mercurio have not been well represented. Most of what was said was not about Pinochet directly, and in those parts that could be taken as being relevant to Chile, Hayek was repeating views that he had expressed many times before. Furthermore, some interesting questions and responses were missed: e.g., Lucia Santa Cruz’s attempt to get him to criticize natural law doctrine and the Catholic Church, which would have been read in Chile as a criticism of Jaime Guzmán and gremialismo, and his criticisms of Friedman’s methodological approach.

 6. We gave a number of possible reasons for why Hayek failed to speak out about human rights abuses. Given the string of countries that he visited on his trips (others of which also had authoritarian governments in place with their own human right records), and his visits to confer with former Chilean presidents on his second visit, it may be that he hoped autocratic regimes that practiced what he considered to be sensible economic policies would find a way back to liberal democracy. Constitutional constraints on unlimited democracy might provide the means to do so. Chile had adopted a constitution in 1981 that promised to hold a referendum that would allow a return to democratic elections in 1988. This was just the sort of result for which Hayek hoped. And Chile’s success, after following economic liberalization, set a good example. As Puryear 1994, pp. ix-x notes, since 1980 “fifteen military regimes have yielded power to elected civilian governments, and today Cuba is the lone remaining Latin American dictatorship.”

 7. Finally, whatever Hayek’s hopes may have been, his ideas had either no, or if any, only minor, influence on the course of Chilean politics before the 1980 Constitution. His thought has become much better understood there in recent years, due largely to the efforts of CEP that began in the early 1980s. But they were not well known at the time of his visits.

No comments:

Post a Comment