Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Chile's President Gabriel Boric holds the country's draft Constitution

Chilean President Gabriel Boric shows the final draft of the constitutional proposal after signing it during its presentation at the National Congress in Santiago on July 4, 2022. (Photo: Javier Torres/AFP via Getty Images)

Top Economists Hail Chilean Constitution as 'New Global Standard' on Climate, Inequality

"The world has much to learn from the exemplary process of the convention and the visionary product on which Chile will vote in its September plebiscite."

Jake Johnson

A group of world-renowned economists and social scientists published an open letter Wednesday hailing Chile's draft constitution as a transformative document that—if granted final approval by the Chilean people on September 4—would serve as a "new global standard" on fighting the climate crisis and pervasive inequality.

Signed by Thomas Piketty, Jayati Ghosh, Gabriel Zucman, and other luminaries from across the globe, the new letter praises the proposed constitution as a "visionary product" from which the rest of the world "has much to learn."

"The new constitution sets a new global standard in its response to crises of climate change, economic insecurity, and sustainable development."

"For the first time, a constitution recognizes care work, social reproduction, and women's health as fundamental to the prospects of the economy," the letter notes.

The experts proceed to cite the 178-page document's approach to "public services and social security" as "another source of inspiration."

"By establishing new institutions for the provision of universal public services like education, health, and social security," the letter reads. "Chile successfully applies the lessons of recent history that show the importance of these services for both short-term economic resilience and long-term economic growth."

A 154-member assembly finalized the newly proposed constitution in May following a lengthy and contentious process kicked off by a 2020 plebiscite, in which Chileans overwhelmingly voted to replace the right-wing constitution that the Pinochet dictatorship—ushered into power in a U.S.-backed coup—foisted upon the country decades earlier.

"This is an ecological and equal constitution with social rights at its very core," María Elisa Quinteros, the president of the assembly, said of the new document in a recent interview with The Guardian.

Months before the new document was completed, leftist Gabriel Boric won the Chilean presidency on a vow to bury neoliberalism, a resounding signal of the public's desire for sweeping change in the deeply unequal nation.

While neoliberal mouthpieces such as The Economist—which actively helped foment the 1973 coup that brought Pinochet to power—have criticized the newly proposed constitution as a "left-wing wish list" that poses a threat to the nation's "business climate," expert observers have applauded the text as remarkable and historic, given its recognition of the government's obligation to fight the climate crisis, provide free public education, and protect Indigenous people and other vulnerable groups.

In their letter Wednesday, the top economists and social scientists write that "taken together, we believe that the constitution creates a legal framework that will succeed to prepare Chile for a new century of equitable growth, with provisions to attract investment, protect financial stability, and promote development for all Chileans."

Read the letter in full below:

We, economists and social scientists from around the world, commend the Chilean constitutional convention and the visionary document it has produced to secure sustainable growth and shared prosperity for Chile.

We believe that the new constitution sets a new global standard in its response to crises of climate change, economic insecurity, and sustainable development. The economic provisions of the constitution would represent gradual but substantial advances for the people of Chile.

The approach to gender in the constitution marks a major step forward in the economic model of development. For the first time, a constitution recognizes care work, social reproduction, and women's health as fundamental to the prospects of the economy.

The approach to public services and social security is another source of inspiration. By establishing new institutions for the provision of universal public services like education, health, and social security, Chile successfully applies the lessons of recent history that show the importance of these services for both short-term economic resilience and long-term economic growth.

The constitution's tax policy mandates promise to tackle Chile's economic inequality—among the highest in the OECD—while upgrading the country's revenue to OECD standards, reducing dependency on extractive rents and contributing to sustainable public finances.

The approach to work represents an important and democratic response to our times. By enshrining rights to work and collective action, the constitution aims to redress the crisis of precarity that afflicts economies around the world.

Finally, the approach to central banking sets a new global benchmark. By enshrining a mandate the takes account of financial stability, employment protection, and environmental care, the constitution establishes a responsible framework for central banking that is fit for the 21st century.

Taken together, we believe that the constitution creates a legal framework that will succeed to prepare Chile for a new century of equitable growth, with provisions to attract investment, protect financial stability, and promote development for all Chileans. The world has much to learn from the exemplary process of the convention and the visionary product on which Chile will vote in its September plebiscite.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

11 Million Without Electricity in Cuba as Hurricane Ian Knocks Out Power Grid

One Cuban farm owner called the storm "apocalyptic, a real disaster."

Jake Johnson ·


85% of Global Population Set to Live Under 'Deadly' Austerity Measures Next Year

"In the worst of times, austerity is the worst possible choice," said one expert. "It should not even be on the agenda."

Jake Johnson ·


'People Power Has Won The Day': Manchin Dirty Deal Defeated

The win was the result of "hundreds of national and grassroots organizations, along with concerned Americans from coast to coast, working together for the health and safety of frontline communities and a livable future for the planet," said one campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·


Emissions Unleashed by Manchin Deal Would 'Wipe Out' Any Climate Gains: Analysis

"This analysis shows that Manchin's dirty deal directly undercuts the potential carbon savings of the IRA by fast-tracking fossil fuel projects currently waiting on permits," said Fossil Free Media's Jamie Henn.

Jessica Corbett ·


Florida Told to Brace for Deadly Impact as Ian Expected to Become Category 4 Hurricane

The Tampa Bay area has long been a "sitting duck for catastrophic storm surge and has dodged several bullets," said one climate scientist. "Might not be so lucky this time."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo