Rock Steady

Mar 1, 2003

Nicolás Eyzaguirre, Chile's finance minister, is a gifted amateur musician and a seriously orthodox economist. He also is living proof that a socialist can make free market economics work.

Nicolás Eyzaguirre is Latin America's most successful finance minister, and not just because he has kept Chile, the region's most successful economy, on a firm footing through the worst economic crisis to hit Latin America in 20 years. He also deserves considerable credit for the country's new bilateral free trade agreement with the United States. Eyzaguirre's lastminute trip to Washington in December was crucial in dealing with the final sticking points of the landmark agreement that had taken almost 10 years to negotiate.

And as a lifelong socialist, Eyzaguirre is living proof that it is possible, indeed vital, to reconcile sound money policies with social reform. He is showing the rest of Latin America and the developing world as a whole that many of the increasingly discredited ideas of the 1990s - deregulation, trade liberalization and strong public finances - can in fact improve the lot of poorest,...

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