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    How Chile (almost) democratised Big Tech | Audio Long Read

    enSeptember 16, 2023

    Podcast Summary

    • Discounts on Outdoor Furniture and Historical Diplomatic SummitBurrow offers discounts up to 25% off outdoor furniture, while Mint Mobile reduces wireless plan prices during inflation. In the past, a diplomatic summit aimed to create a more just technological world order through free trade and joint research projects.

      Burrow, a furniture company, offers timeless design, thoughtful construction, and free shipping for their outdoor collection, which is built to withstand the elements using rustproof hardware, weather-ready teak, and quick-dry foam cushions. For Memorial Day, they are offering discounts up to 25% off outdoor furniture at burrow.com/acast. Mint Mobile, on the other hand, is reducing prices during inflation with their Unlimited Premium Wireless plan at just $15 a month for new customers, but with a $45 upfront payment and taxes and fees. Meanwhile, in a historical context, a diplomatic summit in Lima, Peru, in 1973, aimed to create a more just technological world order by pooling political power and avoiding the steep costs associated with importing foreign technology. The Andean Pact, a regional free trade agreement, was signed to facilitate industrialization and economic development, and foster the establishment of joint research and development projects to create domestic alternatives. Orlando L'Atelier, representing Chile, called for the creation of a new international institution to facilitate developing countries' access to advanced technology and research.

    • Vision for country's technological development influenced by geopolitics and geoeconomicsOrlando L'Atelier and Salvador Allende's vision for unique industrial and technological stacks prevented dependency on multinationals, but was never realized due to military coup and neoliberal economists' bankrupt solutions, leaving valuable insights for a post-neoliberal future.

      The technological development of a country is influenced by geopolitical and geoeconomic factors, not just bureaucracy or lack of innovation culture. This was a vision proposed by Orlando L'Atelier and Salvador Allende in the 1970s, which aimed to help countries develop their unique industrial and technological stacks, preventing technological and economic dependency on multinationals. However, this vision was never realized due to the military coup in Chile that toppled Allende's government and ushered in a brutal dictatorship. L'Atelier, a prominent figure in Allende's administration, became a critic of the neoliberal economists advising the Chilean government and exposed the bankruptcy of their solutions. Tragically, L'Atelier met a violent end. Despite the challenges faced by Allende's government, there were radical initiatives, including L'Atelier's push for a tech equivalent of the IMF, that offer insights for a post-neoliberal future. These initiatives saw technology through the lens of geopolitics and heterodox economics, a perspective that was destroyed by the global neoliberal transformation following the coup. While Pinochet embraced the Chicago School of Economics, Allende's government represented the Santiago School of Technology, which offers valuable lessons for the future.

    • Challenges to Free Trade and Technology from Dependency TheoryDependency Theory, popular in the 1950s and 1960s, argued that free trade and technology favor developed countries and powerful entities, leading to economic dependence for developing countries on advanced economies and multinationals.

      The economic theories advocated by the Chicago and MIT schools of thought on free trade and technology were challenged by the SEPAAL economists based in Santiago, Chile. They argued that over time, free trade and technological innovations favor the developed countries and the powerful, leading to a greater dependence of developing countries on advanced economies and multinational corporations. This perspective, known as Dependency Theory, gained popularity in the 1950s and 1960s, but its limitations were recognized a decade later. Dependency theory correctly identified technology as the new frontier of power and accumulation, and it predicted that American technology would become a new source of monopoly power and economic colonialism. This theory, despite its flaws and inconsistencies, remains relevant today, as new technologies like quantum computing, 5G, and artificial intelligence have the potential to create new power dynamics and economic dependencies.

    • Chile's focus on technological self-relianceChile prioritized building domestic technological expertise to reduce dependence on foreign solutions, establishing INTEC to help national companies and ministries.

      Technological self-reliance was a key focus for Chile during a time when modernization theory suggested that economic progress was dependent on borrowing solutions from North America and Western Europe. The Santiago school of thought, which emerged in Chile, disagreed and saw foreign control over technology as a major obstacle to development. They advocated for building up a nation's own technological capacity, as exemplified by the establishment of the Institute for Technological Research (INTEC) in Chile. This government agency aimed to help national companies and ministries acquire domestic technological expertise, reducing dependence on foreign technology and expertise. This approach, which contrasted with the advice of consulting firms like McKinsey, was a significant shift towards leveraging local knowledge and resources for national development. The discussion also highlighted the importance of confronting multinational companies that stood in the way of technological progress and experimenting with new tools and methods for managing the economy.

    • Chile's Pursuit of Technological Sovereignty vs ITTForeign companies opposed Chile's technological sovereignty efforts, using political connections to sabotage policies and nationalization. Political will is crucial for achieving industrialization goals.

      Chile's pursuit of technological sovereignty under President Salvador Allende was met with resistance from foreign technology companies, most notably ITT. Allende's plans to nationalize industries and put engineers in charge of strategic decisions were seen as a threat to foreign interests. ITT retaliated by using its political connections to prevent Allende's policies, even going so far as to fund his political adversaries. When Allende came to power in 1970, ITT's local properties were nationalized. The company responded by mobilizing its allies in Washington and attempting to destabilize the Chilean government. Allende's vision of a technologically advanced, self-sufficient Chile was a potential game-changer for Latin America, but the coup that overthrew him in 1973 put an end to this possibility. The story of ITT in Chile highlights the challenges of technological sovereignty in the face of foreign opposition and the importance of political will in achieving industrialization goals.

    • Chile's Bold Attempt to Use Technology for National Development under AllendeDuring Allende's socialist government in Chile, groundbreaking tech initiatives aimed to use software for nationalization, influenced by dependency theory. Despite challenges, Allende demonstrated a bold stance against corporate actors and a need for technological sovereignty remains relevant today.

      During Chile's socialist government under Allende in the 1970s, the nationalization of companies like ITT and the implementation of the Cybersyn project were groundbreaking attempts to use technology for the national development strategy, despite the lack of qualified managers. This initiative was influenced by the Santiago School's dependency theory and aimed to provide the software for the practical realization of the theoretical aspects of nationalization. However, the US ambassador and other forces worked against Allende, leading to a brain drain and making the implementation of Cybersyn more challenging. Despite the challenges, Allende's leadership demonstrated a bold stance against powerful corporate actors and an intellectually dynamic framework. Unfortunately, the 1973 coup ended Chile's democracy and robbed the world of a potential model for countries to defend their technological sovereignty and harness innovation to build a more equal and just world. The lessons from this period, such as the importance of technology being a tool for geopolitical power and the need for technological sovereignty, remain relevant in our current world dominated by Big Tech.

    • Historically exploited for resources, Latin America lacked tech for sustainable developmentPowerful entities controlled innovation through ideas and ideals, but Latin America's Allende showed a path to democratic technology, and companies like UnitedHealthcare and 1800flowers go 'extra' to provide exceptional services

      Latin America, as described by Eduardo Galliano, has historically been exploited by powerful entities for their natural resources, lacking the capability to create and defend their own technology for sustainable development. This issue extends beyond Latin America to the entire planet, with a few dominant ITTs controlling innovation through ideas and ideals rather than power relations and military strength. Allende, despite his shortcomings, recognized the importance of real-world innovation and left a lasting legacy by mobilizing the Santiago School and demonstrating a path towards democratic technology. Moreover, in the realm of healthcare, it's crucial to be "extra" in terms of coverage. UnitedHealthcare's Health ProtectorGuard fixed indemnity insurance plans supplement primary insurance, helping manage out-of-pocket costs without usual requirements and restrictions. Lastly, 1800flowers.com goes above and beyond in helping people celebrate life's special occasions. From farming and baking to floristry and making, their products are made with love and care, ensuring a smile is delivered every step of the way.

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