The Chilean Road to Socialism


PART VIII

PROBLEMS OF TRANSITION TO SOCIALISM

CHAPTER 28

The Direction of Economic and Social Planning

The kind of socialism Chile will construct—if indeed any variety of socialism can be achieved and maintained from social democracy to revolutionary socialism—will depend in good part upon what kinds of political and developmental decisions are made in these early years. Will Chile opt, as advocated by the Minister of Agriculture, Jacques Chonchol, for a "developmental socialism," involving industrialization and building of export industries? And will this socialist industrialization follow the capitalist pattern of depending upon production of consumers' goods beyond the means of many, or even most, consumers? A simple decision of whether or not to produce automobiles for private consumption, as clearly demonstrated by David Barkin, will sharply influence Chile's social and economic future.

Chonchol also seems to advocate what some term a "technocratic" or "elitist" development path, integrating the Armed Forces into a national development effort and avoiding the mobilization of the people, especially the marginal mass of the population. Perhaps, as suggested in the second article of this chapter, socialist development depends less on economic decisions as such than on the degree to which workers themselves wrest control of the productive and decision-making processes from capitalist bosses and state bureaucrats and technocrats.


ON THE CHILEAN ROAD TO SOCIALISM

This is a condensation of Jacques Chonchol's lengthy talk at a seminar on "Socialism and Decentralization," December 1970. The transcript was published in Cuadernos de la Realidad Nacional Nº. 7, March 1971. Chonchol has occupied important government posts in administration of the agrarian reform under Frei and Allende. He is also a past Director of the Center for Studies of the National Reality (CEREN), an important research and policy institution.

JACQUES CHONCHOL

The accession to power of a Marxist President within the confines of democratic legality has shocked those who have tended a little too readily to dismiss the importance of the political superstructure in an exclusive focus on purely economic interests. Elected in legality, our government shall strive to accomplish its program within the narrow confines of constitutional legality. We shall strive to maintain our tradition of cultural and ideological pluralism while we attempt to expand the democratic form to the reality of democratic participation. Our road to socialism will be a Chilean road. We shall not servilely copy foreign models, but rather adapt socialism to our particular Chilean circumstances and traditions.

Clearly our economic model will be one of developmental socialism. In many years to come, we will have to stress the necessity for accumulation and strive to reinvest at least 20 per cent of our production. At the same time, we must attempt to raise the real income of the most deprived sectors of our population. This clearly cannot be done without curbing or at least maintaining stationary the real income of our more privileged middle and upper classes. Our problem is thus to realize our aim without resorting to brutal force and repression. But no willed self-sacrifice can possibly be expected of the working class unless it is allowed to participate actively in the planning process, unless it is made to feel that it is directly making vital decisions for the good of the country.

At present, our clear class allies are the organized urban proletariat and the organized peasantry. The unorganized, marginal elements now have neither the consciousness nor the power to really support us in our program. Certain sectors of the so-called middle class are also on our side. And also the intellectuals who, regardless of their class backgrounds, have attempted to join with us in our collective struggle to build the Chilean road to socialism.

Chile has not an agricultural vocation but an industrial one. Our policy should be one of industrialization, and we should especially concentrate on those sectors in mining and forestry where we are most likely to succeed in meeting the stiff competition of the world market. Our agricultural development plan should not attempt servile copying of foreign solutions. Rather, here too we should adopt specifically Chilean solutions best suited to our particular situation. It would seem that regional planning with a combined intensive agricultural development and local industrial production would best serve the interests of the population and resolve the labor problem.

The Armed Forces can here be of great help in our collective struggle. Those who talk of the need for a people's militia are clearly unrealistic.

There can be no drastic reorientation of our economic structure, which up to now has served the interests of a minority class, without a simultaneous cultural revolution. The values of capitalism have penetrated deep into the minds of the lower strata. It is within this context that the question of freedom of the press takes on all its importance. Clearly this problem cannot be discussed within criteria of forty years ago. The information media cannot be administered according to capitalist criteria or run in defense of private interests. How to solve this problem correctly while avoiding information monopoly is of course a problem that should be confronted with great seriousness.

The road to socialism is not an easy road. The grand bourgeoisie will keep attempting to disrupt our programs and wreck our enterprise. It should not be impossible to deal with this problem, now that we have the power of the state in our hands. There is also the international situation, which may cause us some added difficulties.

Under such circumstances, since it confronts a unified Right, the Left should strive for unity and avoid unnecessary ideological divisions within the group. Not that revolutionary ideas should be forgotten. Rather, the Left should unite around a common practical economic program with tolerance of ideological and cultural pluralism. We need all the strength we can muster. Strength is found in unity. Let us all join forces and strive collectively toward our common goal, the building of Chilean socialism.


POLITICAL CONSCIOUSNESS: THE BASE OF PRODUCTION

The author of this article from Punto Final Nº. 136, August 3, 1971, is unidentified except by initials.

L.C.

The Chilean social structure is the major obstacle to our current attempts to increase economic production. Blue-and white-collar workers presently engaged in the private sector might well suspect that our current campaign may not be completely to their advantage. Should the surplus produced by their increased labor be reinvested in production? Should it be distributed? And to whom? The decision has not yet been reached, but one thing leaves no doubt: the worker will not willingly see the fruits of his increased efforts appropriated by the private owners of the means of production.

The Actual Conjuncture.

The Chilean economic structure compares favorably to that of many other nations. Added to the agricultural sector already under state control, the forthcoming nationalization of the copper industry will bring 60 per cent of our gross national production under governmental control.

Much of the industrial sector is already under the control of the state even if no more steps were taken toward further nationalization. The nationalized sector already contributes 70 per cent of our total national reinvestment.

Yet the nationalized sector still falls prey to the same mechanisms that hinder production growth in the private sector. Public ownership does not necessarily modify the social relations that prevail among workers; nor does it automatically improve manager/worker relationships. State ownership by itself is not sufficient to unleash the creative imagination of the producers, which we have been trying to encourage.

State control of certain productive sectors is a salient feature of modern capitalism. The Manchester vision is a distant memory of the past. In France, for instance, nationalized industries are numerous; in Great Britain the Labour Party has ushered through many important nationalizations; in the United States the Roosevelt administration's Tennessee Valley project was the first to challenge the sacred old principles of traditional economic liberalism.

It should therefore be clear that state control by itself is no foolproof guarantee of the people's interests.

The Chilean state enterprises, because of their insertion in a society permeated with capitalist ideology, are governed by its values and norms of conduct. A state-enterprise manager may well reproduce the prevalent capitalist ideology in his political consciousness and practical conduct.

Even the private sector is to a large extent no longer directly managed by its formal owners. Rather, it is managed by representatives of the impersonal board of directors. In the same fashion, the state, through appointed cabinet ministers, also selects its management representatives.

Mass Control

Even if chosen for his honesty and administrative and professional competence, an appointed manager may still be unable to stimulate and put to use the worker's creative abilities. Despotic behavior, hierarchical rigidity, authoritarianism, may well thwart the active participation of the masses, inhibit the growth of political consciousness, and hinder the workers' permanent mobilization so essential for a victorious class struggle in today's conjuncture.

Recommendations.

The prevailing conditions in the private and public sectors were extensively discussed at the July National Trade Union Conference of the Socialist Party. It was concluded that clearly different strategies should be implemented in our current campaign for an increase in productivity in the private and the public sectors. The Socialist Party urged an immediate increase in productivity in the nationalized sector, while the strategies for a similar increase in the private sector were not yet defined. The problem will be discussed within the ranks of the Popular Unity.

However, the Socialist Party has demanded that the masses play an active and determinant role in the control of the nationalized sector. Such a step is bound to have important repercussions, since, as has already been pointed out, 60 per cent of our national production is under direct control of the state. In the production of energy, in mineral extraction, in industrial production, in the fields of transportation and communication we have made giant steps forward. New factories, new plants are sprouting all over Chile, with the state Development Corporation as chief investor. With the nationalization of the mining industry, the state has become a Chilean economic giant. We already control an important segment of the banking sector. Its take-over shall soon be complete, thus putting an end to the financial monopoly of the ruling classes.

Yet, such an economic step forward is no guarantee of political and ideological progress. Such an achievement could only result from the eradication of the bourgeois ideology that still pollutes the Chilean atmosphere.

Strategic Alternatives in the Private Sector.

The private sector, now chiefly confined to the production and distribution of consumer goods, has a direct impact on the population. By preventing these goods from reaching the centers of distribution, it could willfully attempt to generate popular unrest. To prevent such a counterrevolutionary practice, the Control Committees of Production have been created.

As the national sector of the economy is chiefly geared toward exportation, it can exert little direct effect on the consumers. For this reason, the Production Control Committees can play an essential role. They can already prevent attempts to sabotage production. Yet, until a decision is finally reached as to what will be done with the surplus generated by the worker's increased labor, the Committees' task will be unduly difficult to perform.

With the exception of resentful latifundistas and obstinate or monopolistic industrialists, the private sector has generally responded favorably to our call for increased productivity—not, of course, responding to a patriotic sentiment, but rather enticed by the lures of higher profits. Today the profits of middle-sized entrepreneurs are higher than before. In a transition period, this should surprise no one: remember the "rich peasants"—the kulaks—of the twenties in the Soviet Union. But naturally the worker can hardly be expected to labor with increased love and care for the sole purpose of increasing the wealth of his old boss.

There is thus a contradiction between the present need to keep private enterprise going at a steady or even increasing pace, and the necessary motivation that alone could generate the fever (a specific revolutionary category) to produce more and imagine "impossible" solutions.

The Socialist and Communist parties both believe in the importance of the Control Committees of Production; they have been given an increasingly important role. However, they do not appear to be exempt from certain features of "bureaucratism," which are also present in our trade unions.

Production and the nation are moving forward. But it would be an illusion to assume that this advance automatically solves our problems. On the contrary, these assume an increasing importance: more than growth is at stake today if we are to fulfill our mission and create a truly authentic new society.


AUTOMOBILES AND THE CHILEAN ROAD TO SOCIALISM

An original article for this volume. David Barkin teaches economics at Lehman College of the City University
of New York and has done research in Chile.

DAVID BARKIN

The construction of socialism is Chile's most pressing task. Its realization will require a great effort by all Chileans and—even more importantly—a greater consciousness by individuals of their relation to the national development effort. The popular government must ensure that each new decision is consistent with its overriding objective to reshape the economy and society for the benefit of workers and peasants. Only in this way will workers be persuaded of the government's intention to break with the historical pattern of aiding the upper classes. While it is difficult to mold an economic policy consistent with the new egalitarian ethic, this task should have highest priority.

This short article describes some issues arising from a decision to manufacture a substantial number of automobiles for private use by firms financed jointly with public and private foreign investment. The decision merits comment because of its importance in the national development effort and because, by making it, the government might be closing possible lines of action in other areas. The public expenditures and increased private demand necessary to sustain a vigorous automotive sector would necessarily preclude the growth of other areas. We examine the wisdom of this choice below.

Instead of definitive answers, we suggest lines of analysis and questions about the total impact of this decision. Doubts are raised of an economic nature—that is, in relation to the allocation of resources—as well as of a political nature—referring to the relationship of the workers to the new productive and distributive structure.

The Automotive Decision

In June 1971 bids were solicited from automobile producers around the world. The purpose was to reduce the number of different models of vehicles produced by the Chilean automotive industry and to make production more responsive to the needs of the domestic and export markets. Its goals were:

a) To produce commercial and private vehicles for mass consumption;

b) To upgrade the technology of the domestic industry and to create a technological infrastructure that would permit the development of new export industries;

c) To create, directly or indirectly, high-productivity jobs;

d) To obtain additional tax revenues and profits for reinvestment by government;

e) To balance with car exports the foreign-exchange cost that the satisfaction of the demand for automobiles requires;

f) To achieve levels of efficiency so as to be able to compete in trade with other member states of the Latin American Common Market and the Andean Pact.

To achieve these goals, production was to be limited to three models: a small vehicle with an engine of less than 1,200 cc; a medium-size vehicle with an engine of less than 2,000 cc; and a chassis for diesel trucks, buses, and other commercial vehicles. Production would increase from the twenty thousand units produced in 1970, to one hundred thousand units in 1980; forty-five thousand small vehicles, forty thousand intermediate, and fifteen thousand diesels were the goals.

Preliminary proposals were sought from companies willing to enter into a joint venture with the Chilean Development Corporation (CORFO) to produce these vehicles, with only a minority participation in the new businesses. Nine proposals were proffered in September 1971 to produce one or more of the vehicles; no North American firm was represented in spite of the fact that both Ford and General Motors had assembly plants in Chile at the time.

Relation to the Distribution of Income

The first question posed by many is whether an increase in automotive production is compatible with a sizable redistribution of income such as that promised by the present government. At first blush most, if not all, the answers have been negative. During the past presidential campaign, for example, Radomiro Tomic, the Christian Democratic candidate, declared, "It is a very grave error against the long-term interests of the nation to stimulate the production and sale of automobiles for the internal market. . . . The owners of the vehicles will (in 1980) barely represent five percent of the population." [1]

Household-expenditure data show that the wealthiest 5 per cent of the population, which earned more than eight times the minimum wage, purchased more than 75 per cent of all automobiles sold in 1969. It is clear that the private car remains a luxury consumption item in most cases and, therefore, satisfies the demands of only a narrow, privileged class.

From an analysis of possible redistributive programs it was determined that it would not be possible to market successfully the planned production of eighty-five thousand automobiles if there were any sizable transfer of income from the upper classes to the working classes and peasantry. [2] In view of this we must conclude that the automotive program is incompatible with a progressive program of income redistribution.

The Automobile and Public Funds

A second widely discussed aspect of this subject is the effect that an expansion of the number of automobiles would have on the need for roads and parking facilities, especially in the large metropolitan areas. Here, too, the commentators are in agreement about the injurious effects of such an expansion. Thus Tomic noted that an even less ambitious program drawn up in 1969 would require a remodeling of all cities to accommodate wider streets, which would cost several times the actual outlays for the cars themselves. He estimated that one third of the nation's savings might be needed for such a task.

It seems almost unnecessary to detail the impact of an increase in the automotive stock from the approximately 220,000 vehicles that presently function in Chile to more than five hundred thousand in 1980 if the plan were fully implemented. Of course most of the new vehicles would be concentrated in the capital city, Santiago, and it is likely that if the new programs were to be fully implemented the number of private cars would increase from about fifty thousand in 1970 to about 250,000 at the end of the decade. To anyone familiar with Santiago, such an increase in autos holds the promise of interminable traffic delays, air pollution comparable to that of the dirtiest cities in the world, and an expensive and nerve-shattering series of "urban improvements" to permit the private car some minimal movement in the metropolitan area.

Estimates of the costs of even the barest minimum of public works—urban streets and highways—that would be required to service these vehicles without closer study are presently unavailable, but some comments are in order. Even at present there are enormous deficiencies in the road system for the basic needs of mass transportation and industrial production. These deficiencies are especially serious in the areas in which the poorest groups live. But the new vehicles would be purchased by people living in those areas that already have the best road systems and highest incomes. Even these relatively good road systems would be woefully inadequate for the proposed increase in cars. Their owners would exert strong pressures for further road expenditures in the zones that are in relatively least need of them. As in other aspects of the market economy, the tendency would be to exacerbate the existing inequalities rather than to facilitate structural change.

Regardless of the strategy followed, sizable investments will have to be made in the construction, expansion, and maintenance of the road system in the coming years. A doubt arises, however, about the size and design of the new projects. Stress should be placed on mass-transport needs. Expenditures for facilities to satisfy the demands of individuals in the upper classes for more and better roads on which to use their private cars are not consistent with the present stage of Chilean development—even if they were financed out of resources provided by the new car owners themselves through tolls and taxes.

This position is based on the obvious scarcity of resources. The decision to build a road or a building requires forgoing other facilities. There are clearly many unsatisfied demands throughout the country, and a road project would require the sacrifice of some other vital facility. The government's most important task is to establish priorities for the many demands placed on it; the popular government has explicitly expressed its intention to benefit the working classes systematically, in contradistinction to the historical tendency to channel public funds and programs toward the upper-middle and upper classes for their own benefit and that of international capitalism. Roads for private automobiles do not contribute to this goal.

A second reason for our skepticism about the desirability of an increase in production of private automobiles is its direct competition with the satisfaction of social needs. At present, mass transport is scarce and is particularly poorly designed for the needs of the working classes. There is no doubt that these services should be expanded. But the private car competes directly with mass transport not only for space on the city streets but also within the halls of power. A decision for mass transport probably requires one against private automobile production in all but the most affluent of nations.

The Economics of Automobiles

It is clear that the basic assumption behind the decision to expand the automotive industry was that its contribution to over-all growth, both through direct increases in production and through derived demand of other industries, would be substantial. This rationale emerges from the framework of bourgeois economics, in which industrial demand is insufficient to sustain an acceptable rate of economic growth; in this light, the auto industry is attractive because of the complex and numerous productive relationships it has with other industries in both manufacturing and services. It is ideal to planners, because once stimulated it then generates a pattern of self-sustained growth without the need for further bureaucratic intervention. The "demonstration effect" assures producers of adequate pent-up demand as long as some means is found to finance new car purchases; advertising and imported cultural patterns of invidious comparison assure a continued growth in demand. In this setting, the state should create incentives for industries that will generate self-sustaining growth processes.

The automotive industry offers an easy route to maintain growth while the Chilean road to socialism is being defined and the way prepared. The latent demand of elites for more cars can be satisfied with foreign capital anxious to gain a foothold in a potentially profitable auto industry; the foreign partners also will provide the technical assistance and plans necessary for its implementation. A decision to change the economic structure radically and undertake a different development strategy would require not only the mobilization of new human and material resources in an economy in which there are few reserves —especially of qualified people—but also the political power to obtain the understanding and co-operation of an important part of the society which is accustomed to the bourgeois pattern of consumption.

Finally the upper-middle income groups expect the continued production of private cars, one of their most important prestige symbols. In the present political environment, a restriction on the growth of the productive capacity of durable-goods production—for instance, autos —might be interpreted as an attack on economic freedom. The new automotive industry might be the government's way of showing its willingness to take the demands of the more affluent classes into consideration.

Some of these hopes, however, seem ill-placed. The automotive industry does not appear to represent a clear improvement over alternative investments. Its technology, for example, is too specific to have many applications elsewhere. Potential foreign-exchange savings, resulting from making a greater proportion of the parts domestically, would be more than offset by the increased use of foreign exchange due to the larger volume of production. The employment effect will also probably be less than if the resources were reallocated to other investments that utilize less capital and more labor and are more attuned to the immediate needs of the people.

The traditional approach that dictates the production of private autos can be a dangerous one in spite of the short-run advantages mentioned above. The expansion of the automotive industry is not a short-run decision whose effects can later be changed. It will reinforce a capitalist pattern of development—a pattern based on market signals generated by the existing distribution of income that lead to the production and consumption of luxury consumption goods at the expense of the basic needs of the working classes. In the bourgeois scheme, effective demand is the source of production decisions, and income would have to remain highly concentrated in the hands of the upper-income classes to maintain an automobile industry.

Socialism and Economic Strategy

The transition to socialism offers another alternative, which is more consistent with long-term goals: the restructuring of production on the basis of social needs rather than private consumer demand, be it actual, latent, or potential. That is, the transition makes possible—or perhaps essential—a change in the way of determining the industrial structure from one based on consumer demand and an underutilization of productive potential toward one based on needs—defined by a political process—and the full utilization of the nation's human and productive capacity.

In this new context, the political basis for the determination of productive decisions would be mass organizations that participate in the definition of a new policy for consumption. They would encourage an awareness of political power that the workers can direct. Only in this way can the population actively participate in and help implement a long-term development program that would permit high rates of investment and proper allocation of scarce resources.

This alternative might be considered complementary to one that accepted the expansion of durable-goods production. Yet, in a poor country such as Chile most of these goods must inevitably be luxuries and their production would require a diversion of resources from mass consumption or investment. Even more important, however, the consumption of these goods would perpetuate the differentiation in personal status, with the consequent heightening of conflict among groups to which such differentiation leads. [3]

It is precisely for this reason that the decision to expand the automotive industry is most incongruous. The expansion would have to depend on a high concentration of income and differentiated consumption among classes. The new government's goal is to create propitious conditions for the workers to assume power and improve their living standards, while its short-run efforts would stimulate economic activity by strengthening an industry (auto) that does not serve the workers' needs. The consequences of continuous inequality inherent in the decision are striking and in sharp contrast with most discussions of economic strategy.

A short parenthesis is needed here. The previous comments about the automobile are based on a traditional idea of its role in and distribution throughout society; we do not wish to totally disregard the important functions that individual vehicles could serve. Rather, we think that present capacity is sufficient to fill the need for vehicles in public services and to allow individuals freedom of movement in areas where public transport is inadequate or inappropriate. At a later stage of development the possibility of restructuring the distribution system to permit individuals to rent cars for short periods might avoid the stratifying effects of vehicle ownership without eliminating the benefits and flexibility it offers. For the immediate future, the possibility of restricting vehicular traffic in urban areas would contribute to a fuller use of a well-designed public transport system.

A new economic strategy must clearly define the basic requirements of the population and create the productive capacity to satisfy them. The definition of needs itself will determine the structure and the economy. In most capitalist nations real needs are determined by family incomes, materialist culture, and market structures, which often channel demands away from socially desirable expenditures; government social-welfare programs only temper the cruelty of market forces—unemployment and high prices—for some of the poorest groups. In Chile, on the other hand, the opportunity exists to make fundamental changes in consumption patterns and the basic definition of needs. With a redistribution of wealth and power to the workers, there will be greater need for wage goods— principally foodstuffs and non-durable goods—but there will also be a massive expansion of collective services.

The importance of collective services cannot be overstated. It stems from the need to provide a certain minimum to all and to broaden the area in which the workers can control their own lives. Collective services open greater possibilities for local decisions to be taken about production and distribution; these services include education, health care, day-care centers, cultural activities, and transportation, among others. Their initial organization is difficult, because the private-enterprise system generally is unwilling to divert the necessary resources to these vital areas affecting human welfare; new systems of management and decision making have to be designed and implemented.

One further area which will also require investment is housing. The capitalist economy is generally unprepared to satisfy the basic housing needs of its proletariat. Consequently it is one of the most pressing problems facing the popular government. Its solution cannot be found in the context of a bourgeois economy, where experience has demonstrated an absence of efforts to develop the needed technological innovations to produce inexpensive but serviceable housing.

This general listing of the broad characteristics of a program of mass consumption suggests that the investment program that should be implemented is very different from that of past decades. The program offers several advantages when compared with one whose point of departure is the development of the automotive industry. First, it could have a sizable employment effect, since in addition to agriculture—which any government would have to develop—a large part of the improvement in living conditions would come from personal services provided by people for each other. Housing and necessary public works would further contribute to the task of productively incorporating large numbers of people into the labor force. Second, this type of program would require fewer imports than others, since the man power and materials are available domestically and the country has an ample agricultural potential to develop.

Finally, the investment process, consciously de-emphasized during the first year of popular government in favor of income redistribution, will have to be brought to the fore. Only by gradually closing the channels for broadening consumption will the government be able to divert resources from an economy oriented toward luxury consumption to one responding to more basic needs of the entire population. This type of restriction on the availability of goods will be all the more difficult if the economy is still producing durable consumption goods in which the increases in production come at the sacrifice of heavy investments and foreign purchases for national development.

Conclusions

The decision to expand the automotive industry to produce a hundred thousand vehicles of different types by 1980 with an emphasis on the private car appears to be a grave error. Not only would it require the maintenance of the existing high concentration of income and divert scarce government funds from other areas with higher social priorities, but it would also increase air pollution and further weaken the possibility of improving public transportation.

But these simple objective criteria are less important for the construction of socialism than the considerations about the decision's relation to social stratification. We saw the difference between a program based on the production of expensive consumer durables and one based on the provision of collective services for all. The socialist alternative contributes to short-run improvements in living standards for most of the population and to a harmonization of social relations on the job and in the community. The automobile not only would be sold to the affluent classes, but its continued production would call into question the ability of the government to reduce class differences in the new Chile.

A Postscript

At this writing (April 1972) the government has decided to go ahead with the production of a small popular car known as the Rata (a Chilean version of the 2-cv produced in France by Citroen), to be produced by Citroen-Renault, and a diesel chassis to be manufactured by Fiat. For the time being, at least, the bids on the intermediate-size car were not accepted, and there is some ground for optimism that production of this model will either be eliminated or seriously curtailed. No details are available about how automobile production will be marketed or whether some mechanism will be created to permit a broader distribution of La Rata.


LA CUECA DEL AUTO

This song was inspired by David Barkin's preceding article. The cueca is a Chilean folkloric rhythm and dance.
Suni Paz is a Latin American folk artist.

SUNI PAZ

I tell you that the car, compañero, is no damn good
Your legs can take you, my friend, as far you want
And the heart works better after a walk.

The car poisons, compañero, our existence
Smoke in your lungs, my friend, will finish you fast
And the smog makes the cities look really bad.

A car is only a symbol of money and class
Have you ever seen a peasant, my friend, mounting a car?

Compañero, there are priorities that leave their mark
And others that only smoke up our lives

Better bicycles, my friend, than Citronetas!

Our existence jeopardized, yes
The city gray as fog
And one can’t even see, my friend, the night peaks of the Andes

Better bicycles, compañero, than Citronetas!


Notes:

1. "Revolution Chilena y Unidad Popular," speech before the National Board of the Christian Democratic Party, May 1969.

2. An analysis of the data behind these statements may be found in the Spanish-language version of this article, to be published in late 1972 by the Centro de Planificación, Universidad Catolica, in a book edited by Oscar Muñoz on the distribution of income in Chile.

3. Given the existing distribution of power, it might be necessary to continue producing non-essential goods to accommodate existing demands and absorb some of the excess money that has been printed; this production should be as tightly restricted as possible and perhaps should be channeled toward goods for which productive capacity already exists or might be easily built, which does not require large amounts of foreign exchange, and whose illegal importation cannot be easily controlled.


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