Chile in Postwar Period and New Economic Trends

By | December 14, 2021

The effects of the revolution of the world economy produced by the war and increased after it, also had repercussions on the Chilean economy. While for a time Chile was called to supply the needs of Europe with an increase in the production of nitrates from minerals and meat for slaughter, later the impoverishment of Europe, which after the war found itself in a position to be able to absorb only smaller quantities of overseas products, and the development of artificial fertilizers in Germany during the war, made themselves felt in the life of many companies that were in full swing. This occurred mainly in mining production and was perhaps not the least cause of recent political disturbances. As regards the next economic future, we can say that while the country is emerging from a period of crisis, the influence of the new North American economic penetration policy in the countries of Latin America is increasingly accentuated. This penetration began especially during the war, when South America was deprived of its normal supplies, especially industrial products, by England, Germany, France and Italy. After the war, North America suffered more than all the countries that had increased their production capacity during the war, from the consumption crises, it began a propaganda for the systematic penetration of South American markets. However, in addition to this purpose, the United States is trying to take care of the South American states as places of supply for the special materials they need: tin from Bolivia, oil from Venezuela, copper and nitrates from Chile. At the meeting we see a tendency towards the emigration of American capital to these countries for their complete enhancement. Thus, much of the new mining exploitation in Chile started with North American capital. While the economic, but largely political, penetration of the United States is making progress in Central America, the southern states present some resistance to North American penetration due in part to moral reasons. Thus also Chile finds itself among these contrasting trends which also have repercussions on political phenomena. In any case, the great natural wealth of Chile requires a strong use of capital, which could be very advantageous to the country. And a large-scale import of capital could only occur today except from North American origin. For Chile 2014, please check

Communication – The position of Chile with respect to the center of the continent, which places the country in a relative insularity, is now being mitigated with the progress of the communication systems. On land, the construction of railways, which follow the Andean passes, places the country at a short distance from the eastern regions of the continent; by sea, the construction of the Panama Canal puts Chile in more direct contact with the American political-economic center, that is, with the Atlantic states of the North American Confederation. The high and steep coast that falls sheer to the sea does not allow the construction of a coastal railway; so that a large part of the local coastal traffic is carried out by means of cabotage, while the transandine railway lines, due to the steep difference in height that they have to overcome, are not sufficiently economic, especially for the transport of goods. Consequently, maritime traffic is by far the most important for the country.

The railways. – The Chilean railway network currently measures about 9000 km: of these about 5800 km. they are run by the state, the remainder by private companies. Given the topographical configuration of the region, it is natural that the meridian lines must be more developed than those of the parallels. Today most of Chile is crossed in its length by a fundamental artery, which starting from Iquique for Copiapó, La Serena, Santiago, Talca, Temuco reaches Puerto Montt, going from 20 ° to about 41 ° 30 ′ south latitude. From this artery, which we must consider as the backbone of the whole Chilean network, and which obeys evident geographical laws in its location, numerous trunks detach that lead to coastal centers such as Antofagasta, Constitución, Concepción, Valdivia. Noteworthy is the railway network built for mining reasons in northern Chile, belonging to private companies: so we have the Ferrocarriles Salitreros (Iquique-Pisagua) owned by the Nitrate Railway Company Limited; the Tocopilla-Toco; the Taltal railway, etc.

There are currently three international lines: 1) the AricaLa Paz (km. 438, of which 206 on Chilean territory), which connects the capital of Bolivia with the coasts of the Pacific; 2) the railway from Antofagasta to Bolivia (km. 833), which joins the great La Paz-Buenos Aires artery at Uyuni; 3) the transandine, which starting from Valparaiso for Santiago and Los Andes, crossing the border at the Passo de la Cumbre, enters Argentina reaching Mendoza: from there it continues to the Argentine capital (from Los Andes to Mendoza the gauge is 1 meter). The very important artery is about 1400 km long; it crosses the Cordillera through tunnels, the longest of which is located at 3190 m. high. Characteristic of these three international railways is that they are high-altitude lines, as they run for some stretches at over 4000 m. high (Arica-La Paz reaches 4264 meters above sea level). Under construction is a new international artery that will connect Bahía Blanca (Argentina) with Concepción and Talcahuano sul Pacifico through the Pino Hachado pass.

The Chilean road network is estimated to have a development of 36,000 kilometers. The roads are good and well-maintained, especially in the salt-mining region. The Andean passes are crossed by important mountain roads, which however remain closed during the winter season. In 1927 in Chile there were 14,900 cars, 1600 buses, 2771 transport vehicles: therefore there was about one car for every 200 people. In this regard, Chile holds the primacy among the Andean republics.

Chile in Postwar Period