In March the UN (United Nations Organization) published that Chile is the happiest country in South America and the third in Latin America. Previously a study published that Chile is the country with the highest wealth per capita in Latin America. However, U.N.’s assessment might be for businessmen and their governments, because for workers it is very different.
Wealth in the pockets of a few
According to a study Chile is the country with the most millionaires in Latin America. Specifically there are 67 thousand people with a wealth of more than 1 million dollars (around 660 million Chilean pesos), which means that this figure represents only 0.5% of the country’s population. Contradictorily, Chile is among the 10 most unequal countries in the world, according to the World Bank.
To better understand… Piñera’s fortune is about 2,800 million dollars, while that of the Luksic is 16,300 million dollars, something like 11 billion pesos. And so we could continue with several cases, but as we can see , a few concentrate a deranged amount of money. While businessmen have their economic future more than assured, how are the workers of this country? While 50% of workers have a salary of up to 380,000 thousand pesos, unemployment rate is increasingly high, in fact only this year 1,550 people were left without work, even worse the metal industry announces important company closures this year, a big difference, is it not?
The housing nightmare
A while ago a study by the Ministry of Housing and TECHO-Chile showed that the number of camps grew 48% in just 6 years, which is a setback of about 30 years in terms of the number of camps in the country because those are figures similar to 1985. What causes this situation? Several reasons, mainly due to: 1) the difficulty of finding employment, 2) precarious salaries that do not cover basic expenses, 3) rent increases, 4) the enormous difficulty of obtaining a housing subsidy and the usurious costs of a bank loan.
However, the housing problem is a nightmare only for the working class, while for entrepreneurs it is their golden dream, it is the opportunity to further fatten their pockets. As indicated by an academic from the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism of the University of Chile: “Now they are selling more expensive and smaller houses. They are not normal prices for a country like Chile, which still has high poverty rates (…). Housing has become one of the favorite toys of free market and big companies. The real estate market is not free. Consumers, those who need housing, are tied, have no freedom to choose”
In contrast, and opposed to the reality of the working class, Piñera’s property is 11 thousand square meters, and is valued at a fiscal amount of 3 billion pesos.
Jail for the poor, ethics classes for the rich
Carlos Délano and Carlos Lavín were -recently- condemned to 4 years of probation, the payment of 850 million and the attendance of ethics classes, this due to the fraud of 1,700 million to the Treasury and illegal financing in politics, a fact known as Penta case. The former presidential candidate, Pablo Longueira was dismissed (ending possible criminal prosecution) for the SQM case, also for illegal financing of electoral campaigns. While the Caval case, a fact that directly involves Sebastián Dávalos (son of Michelle Bachelet), remains open and will probably not end in a greater penalty. And so we can continue with a huge list where businessmen and members of traditional political parties commit crimes but do not spend a single day behind bars, which shows that the laws and “justice” are in their favor.
Does justice work the same for a worker as for a businessmen? The answer is no, as published in a recent study which indicates that people with lower income are between 3.3% and 9.5% more likely to be imprisoned in respect to people with higher income, worse yet , this figure can increase up to 25% for Mapuche community.
The problem of wealth distribution shows the underlying problem…
Who appropriates wealth and why
As we can see, there is a very, very small sector that concentrates a universal amount of money, this is due to the fact that they obtain their wealth from the appropriation of the means of production, in other words, by being owners of the factories and companies, of energy, machines, tools and natural resources. In this way, they are owners of copper (the mining industry), the sea (the fishing industry), and forests (the forest industry). That is, they are enriched with the resources that are of all the inhabitants of the country, this wealth goes to their pockets, while it should be to finance education, health or pensions.But is it the businessmen who produce that wealth? no, the workers produce it.
Lets look at a specific case, in the CCU (Luksic group) workers produce a host of products, generally beverages , this work in the factory usually pays to the worker a salary of approximately 400,000 pesos for the long workday that can reach 12 hours a day, meanwhile, CCU confirmed that it had profits of 396,891 million pesos for the year 2018. All that money is generated from the sale of the goods (in this case drinks, wines, piscos, etc. ) produced by the workers . And who keeps it? It goes to the pocket of the entrepreneurs. In the end, the entrepreneur appropriates the profit produced by the workers.
This is capitalism
Summarizing, the inequality or unequal distribution of wealth is due to the fact that there is a group or rather a social class that appropriates the wealth generated by the workers. Broadly speaking there are two social classes, one that produces wealth (the workers) and the other is the one that appropriates the wealth (the bourgeoisie or entrepreneurs).That is, capitalism is an order or a productive, economic and social system, in which the employer obtains unimaginable profits, while the worker who performs absolutely everything remains with his salary, contradictorily, the amount of the salary is set by the employer and does not respond at all to the needs of today. This order has been maintained both in the governments of Bachelet and Piñera, and both have done nothing to change it, on the contrary, their reforms have reinforced it.
Economic power = Political power
It turns out that entrepreneurs not only appropriate wealth, but also control the Government and the State. For example, the Luksic group owns factories, mining companies, media (such as channel 13), ENEX (energy company), and Banco de Chile. That is to say, it has control in practically all areas of the economy, and also, it finances electoral political campaigns, whether that of Piñera or Bachelet.
Moreover, based on a study by CNN journalist Daniel Matamala all major economic groups in the country (18 in total), and without exception, have financed campaigns or delivered money to political entities.In this way, the businessmen finance the campaigns of the politicians of the traditional parties, so that later they vote laws and make reforms in their favor.
Will we let this stay like this?
With poor working conditions, with no access to quality health, education, housing and pensions, it is necessary to change this situation. We have to organize ourselves and fight for better working conditions, for a minimum wage (500 thousand pesos) that responds to our needs, for pension rights and public health for all.
To achieve this we must conduct a thorough battle against businessmen, in this sense we must prepare a general strike, organized from the base at our jobs and unions, this way we stop production and directly affect the pocket of the employers.However, this struggle has to be combined by a greater task: to change this system that has the capitalists and their politicians in power, for a workers ‘and popular government, this is the only way for the wealth of resources natural and the wealth produced by our work go towards our needs.
No more dismissals: decrease in working hours maintaining the salary to guarantee more jobs!
Minimum wage of 500 thousand pesos!
For the right to public health for all!
Enough of governments and parliamentarians at the service of entrepreneurs!
Enough of Piñera!Let’s build a party to fight for a government of the workers!