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Abstract

The structural adjustment programs of these three countries, like those of many others throughout the world in recent years, have greatly changed previous balances between the state and the private sector, capital and labor, and domestic versus world market influences on the economy. This article examines some of the consequences of these changes for questions of poverty and income distribution and for questions of autonomy. The Chilean experience is discussed in terms of three different variants, or models, all within the basic open-economy orientation. Of these, the first had particularly negative consequences in the dimensions examined, the second gave more positive results, and the third improved on the second. Mexico and Peru have been following models similar to the first, the most costly, of the variants used in Chile. This path can be seen as the one closest to the full logic of the new orientation but it is also one that is unnecessarily adverse for equality and for autonomy.

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