Protests in the global south, particularly in Chile and Ecuador, appear to be the result of long range monetarist policies that suit the political class and fail large sections of society.
The Latin American south cone countries have been international analysed for what is being called social protests in the face of rising prices, elimination of subsidies, sale of ancestral lands to mining companies and other anti-social measures taken by governments.
However, if you look at the recent history of Ecuador and Chile, nations where these expressions of discontent have been focused on, such protests should be seen as a resistance or as emancipatory movements that are fighting an unequal economic and social order, which increasingly configures to various geographical regions.
According to Chileans, “it’s not 30 pesos it’s 30 years”, which is said in reference to recent events apparently triggered by the rising price of public transport, alongside continued authoritarianism and repression despite the ending of the dictatorship and a precarious economic situation.
Since the extinction of the welfare state, to which political trends such as Reganism and Thatcherism in the United States and the United Kingdom respectively have contributed – which has adversely impacted the working class – the aim of the economic neoliberal project has been to erode the social commitment of the state. Instead it underpins the idea of market self-regulation in the search for less state intervention in economic matters, alongside the implications that this brings to social welfare.
In this sense, the role of international organisations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) has been crucial in maintaining the international monetary order in favour of the great powers, that is, the countries of the “centre” and what Wallerstein defined as dominant nations, as opposed to the countries on the “periphery”, who needs are subordinated by the former’s.