It’s a delusion harbored by ruling classes the world over, but especially in Latin America. It’s the bogus belief that even if people get richer, they don’t get smarter. Ask Chile’s Carménère-sipping elites where that clueless thinking got them. Ask them to explain why the country with the region’s highest per capita GDP and one of its stronger middle classes — the Latin American nation most likely to achieve developed status first — has been the scene of some of the region’s loudest street protests in recent years.

Call it the ire of expectations. Chile’s stellar economic performance has indeed raised incomes, but it’s also raised awareness about lingering inequality, big business abuses, deficient education — all the flaws that keep even quasi-developed societies from becoming genuinely developed, and which leaders like Chile’s think they can put off fixing as long as the masses can buy new cars…

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