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Chile and the temptations of petro-populism

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• A version of this post ran on the author's blog. The views expressed are the author's own.

It would be hard to find two countries more opposite within South America than Chile and Venezuela. Excessively rigid rules vs. no rules. Homages to a right-wing dictator vs. homages to a left-wing dictator. Majority white European vs. a rainbow of mestizaje. Wheat, wine, apples, softwoods and salmon vs. oil, rum, mangoes, chemicals, and red snapper.

But there’s one thing everyone can agree on: we want cheap gas, cheap parking, and unlimited road space for our death monsters.

In Chile, yesterday, the government announced new rules for shopping mall parking prices. First half hour free, always round time periods down, post prices. Wait, I get the second parts, as it’s important to know what you’re going to pay, but really? The government is going to force the malls to offer the first half hour free?


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