Chile is one of just three countries in the OECD that outrank the US gap between the rich and the poor, according to the organization’s surveys. (The two others are Mexico and Turkey.) Long the economic darling of Latin America, Chile enjoyed a decade of stable and strong growth rates, bringing the highest GDP per capita in Latin America outside the Caribbean. But these robust numbers mask the worst income inequality performance within the OECD.
Much of Chile’s economic boom is linked to copper and metal exports to China. As is the case for many resource-based economies, profits have accrued inordinately to the small percentage of the population employed in these extraction industries.