1976 Uruguay, Chile, and Brazil were all controlled by US-backed military governments implementing free market reforms.
Argentina likewise witnessed brutal repression, torture tactics, and thousands of 'disappearances.' Klein tells a frightening narrative of society wide, KUBARK-like tactics combined with conscious economic shock therapy in country after country of the Southern Cone of Latin America. What had been improving, more egalitarian countries experienced an upsurge in poverty, with a rapidly growing wealthy elite. Before the interference, Argentina had had lower poverty than the US. An isolated oasis of commercial glory today, the shopping centre Galerias Pacifica, was used as a torture dungeon in the violence of the 70s.
Lesson learned: This economic shock therapy can at least temporarily quash developmentalism, funnelling profits to foreign-based multinationals, while the entrenched free market legislation and large scale privatisation are difficult to reverse. What also became clear was the dissociation of economics and politics in the public eye: Friedman could be awarded the 1976 Nobel Prize in economics for his theories, while the 1977 Peace Prize went to Amnesty International, for confronting the brutality that coincided with the implementation of those theories.