There's a Global Seismic Shift Underway
Trust is breaking and people are protesting against centralized power
Hello defiers! Today’s Defiant is a little different because I can’t not talk about what’s happening in Chile, my home country. I’ve been watching in horror and disbelief how angry mobs are tearing everything down –oddly, at the same time that my own home in NYC is upended as I’m in the middle of a move. Here are my thoughts on how what’s happening in Chile is linked to similar events across the world, and how it all relates to open finance.
Chile is used to the ground shaking. But another type of tectonic shift had been underway, layers grinding for years under a seemingly peaceful surface, until last weekend that pent up tension burst into massive, angry protests, stronger than any of the earthquakes that often hit the country.
It wasn’t an isolated event. Protests are erupting all across the globe. In the past few weeks, thousands have taken to the streets in Argentina, while in Ecuador the president had to move the government out of the capital, and in Haiti 30 protestors have died. And that’s just Latin America. People are also clamoring their demands from Hong Kong, to Beirut, to Barcelona.
There’s a common thread across most of these uprisings. People feel cheated by those in power who, through economic mismanagement and/or corruption, squander their chance to get ahead –even if they’ve done everything right. Trust in institutions is starting to break.
I’ve seen this break of trust clearly over the past few days in Chile. It all started with the “evade” movement in which people stopped paying for the subway after a fare increase. That provided the first crack: It suddenly became not only accepted, but encouraged to disobey authority.
Once that seeped in, people didn’t stop at jumping over subway barriers; they burned down the station. 20 subway stations across Chile went down in flames, and so did supermarkets and iconic buildings. The government imposed curfews and the military joined the police in trying to contain the unrest. 11 people have died.
A bus going up in flames amid protests in Santiago. Image source: AFP
That wasn’t supposed to be Chile. The long and narrow country has historically been a beacon of stability in the region; the boring, well-behaved neighbor where nothing ever happens. That this rage is blazing through one of the quietest countries in the Americas, may be a sign that there’s something wrong with very foundation upon where the country stands.
Not just in Chile, power has become entrenched among the same groups of people for too long. Those benefitting have strengthened their hold so that the gap is widening, and those left on the other side can’t make the leap.
It’s become clear change is needed. What’s unclear is how governments will face this overhaul, and if they even will.
In this world where centralized power is increasingly questioned after years of abuse, the tools that allow people to take back control, regardless of whether their governments take action, will flourish. Decentralized and open finance will be one of the key tools emerging in this seismic shift. And no deadly protest is needed to join.
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About the author: I’m Camila Russo, a financial journalist writing a book on Ethereum with Harper Collins. I was previously at Bloomberg News in New York, Madrid and Buenos Aires covering markets. I’ve extensively covered crypto and finance, and now I’m diving into DeFi, the intersection of the two.