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Jose Pinera

Jose Pinera Echenique is an economist and public intellectual who is best known as the architect of Chile's private pension system based on personal retirement accounts. Pinera has been called "the world's foremost advocate of privatizing public pension systems" as well as "the Pension Reform Pied Piper" (by the Wall Street Journal). He was Secretary of Labor and Social Security, and Secretary of Mining, in the cabinet of General Pinochet. He is now Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Washington, President of the International Center for Pension Reform based in Santiago, Senior Fellow at the Italian think tank Istituto Bruno Leoni, and member of the Advisory Board of the Vienna-based Educational Initiative for Central and Eastern Europe.

Jose Pinera is the son of Jose Pinera Carvallo, Chile's Ambassador to the United Nations during the government of President Eduardo Frei Montalva (1964-1970). His uncle Archbishop Bernardino Pinera was twice elected President of Chile's Council of Bishops. He has three younger brothers: Sebastian Pinera, a businessman-politician and since January 17, 2010, President of Chile; Pablo Pinera, a former member of the Board of the Central Bank; and Miguel Pinera, a musician. He also has two sisters, Guadalupe and Magdalena. The Pinera family comes from Asturias, Spain.

After promoting a plan of free market reforms that he considered could double Chile's annual rate of growth to 7%, he became, first, Secretary of Labor and Social Security , and then, Secretary of Mining , in the cabinet of General Augusto Pinochet. As such, he was responsible for four structural reforms: the creation of a retirement system based on private personal accounts (the AFP system), the opening of the private health insurance system (the ISAPRE system), the redesign of the labor code changing the terms of trade union elections, and the constitutional law on mining. Jose Pinera entered the cabinet in December 1978 when Chile faced two serious external threats: a possible war with Argentina over the disputed Beagle Islands and a trade boycott by the American AFL-CIO trade union. Pinera quickly announced that Chile would soon promulgate a new trade union law reestablishing labor democracy in Chile and a new collective bargaining law. At the same time, the Vatican offered mediation over the Beagle Islands.

Related websites


honorary degree

"Chile rethinks its privatized pension system", by Larry Rohter, New York Times, January 10, 2006.

"From Bismarck to Friedman




International Insurance Society

International Insurance Society

Liberalni Institut, Prague

Association of Private Enterprise Education

Jose Pinera's homepage

The International Center for Pension Reform

Dr. Honoris Causa at University Francisco Marroquin


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