milton-friedman

The Chicago Boys now and then

When questioned about his apparent involvement with the Pinochet's militant regime by Newsweek in 1976, Milton Friedman observed that "I do not consider it as evil for an economist to render technical economic advice to the Chilean Government, any more than I would regard it as evil for a physician to give technical medical advice to the Chilean Government to help end a medical plague". This article traces the roots of the now-ubiquitous conception of economics as a neutral technical order by examining how contemporary voices bracketed 'the economic' from 'the political' in the case of the Chicago Boys. Rebecca Liu argues that those from the financial and economic sector have insulated their discipline from critique by performing a series of rhetorical manoeuvers that shut off a priori the efficacy of these criticisms through using a language of 'expertise'. The result, however, is the coagulation of ideological positions into 'scientific, self-evident truths' that challenge our very ability to make sense of, and fight for, our standing in the world.