Investigación, consultoría y entrenamiento en Psicología Industrial para America Latina.


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Topic 1. - A critical vision: “The problem of a local subculture that permits through pathologies of power and control of their habits, the domain of ignorance over the rationality"
Subject: The bad subculture in the city of Iquique, from the north of Chile, South America (2013).



Topic 1. - A critical vision: “The problem of a local subculture that permits through pathologies of power and control of their habits, the domain of ignorance over the rationality"

Subject: The bad subculture in the city of Iquique, from the north of Chile, South America (2013).

A. Majorities and Social Profile of the city. – 

Iquique, a small port, aproximated 250.000 persons living there,  is located in the north lands of Chile, in a desert zone, also is the capital of the first national “region” (region in Chile is the same as state, in the US) called Tarapacá. Its main economic activity is the commerce, the one that fortifies a mixed and small economy, that incluides a local and some international commerce, a small fishing industry, that is at the moment in bankruptcy; and also a small and almost median copper mining, the one that normally derives its utilities and benefits to other regions of the world and a few to the capital of the country, called “Santiago de Chile”.


Iquique actually (2013) has a bad educational performance in all levels, in basic education and middle education levels (in fact, occupies the last and worst place in the ranking of education in all the country of Chile). The university education level in Iquique is deficient too, because university authorities priorize criteria of  commerce in education, priorized over the universal criteria of the knowledge (question more or less generalized in all the country of Chile, managed by national policies of decentralization and economic independence of the institutions of university education, but that is accentuated in this city), this situation produce a bad quality of students, teachers, programs and spoil the complete university system too.


Between the historical landmarks of Iquique, to really know this city, is important to mention that in the middle of the century XIX  a.c. (after christ), Iquique was a Peruvian city; and as Chilean city is only effective from the last decade of the century XIX a.c., that is to say, after the Pacific War (1879, Pacific meaning the Pacific Ocean). War between Chile and the Peruvian-Bolivian coalition, in which Chile was victorious and took control of the Peruvian and Bolivian coasts. Now a part of North of Chile now, through all this years. A new Chilean north, that includes a part of sea and a part of a mountain range called “Cordillera de los Andes”. 


The Pacific War, was caused in the control dispute on the nitratos mining operation (nonmetalist mineral) in the actual Chilean North zone, that belonged to Peru and Bolivia (near actual Antofagasta city. Antofagasta is a more big and one of the more productive cities from Chile with good work costumes). Then, the English economic colonialism, had interest in maintaining the control of the productive centers of saltpeter or potassium nitrate of this Latin American zone, and helped to Chile, that gave more privileges to the English economic policies, than Peru and Bolivia, who demanded major amount of taxes to the English interests.


This city is characterized by old english constructions. The old constructions and English personal properties, were designed and preconstructed in England, to be finally armed in this city. These houses, included american wood  and original ornamentations installed for ever, because cannot be removed outside this houses. All this economic activities generated a better “quality of social, economic and architectonic life”, was possible and product of the apogee of the saltpeter or potassium nitrate, that was considered “white gold” by the end of century XIX, after christ. and through the middle of the century XX a.c. An excellent source of incomes to the zone of the north of Chile, especially to Iquique, that stood out exporting this product through its own port.

This situation was prolific until the years 1930-40 a.c. and even 1950 a.c., dates in which was replaced, almost definitively, the nitrate of natural saltpeter or potassium nitrate by the synthetic saltpeter or potassium nitrate, commonly used in the preparation of the powder, also some uses in agriculture and in the marine culture too. This substitution of the natural product, to the synthetic product of the saltpeter or potassium nitrate, generated a crisis and fall of the price and transaction of the natural product.


Then, in the north of Chile, where is the natural saltpeter (potassium nitrate), the productive centers were closed, causing an economic crisis in all the North zone of the country, especially in Iquique, city that was forced to maintain itself economically until the decade of the sixties of century XX a.c, thanks to its fishing industry, industry that was generous only until the year 1969, date in which a productive chaos took place, presumably by the growth of the Peruvian fishing fleet and the fleet of international fishing on the high seas, that caused (and they cause) great destruction of the fish that arrived normally at the coasts from Chile (like smaller fish), reason why was generated the fishing industrial crisis in the city (that still persists). Product of the previous mentioned situation, in Iquique “black flags” in all the city were elevated (arised), indicating with this, that the population protested, because they did not have work nor foods to maintain to their groups or familiar nuclei.


B. The power and the control in the diversity of costumes, commerce, military and the special  through the "local freemason" influences in the middle of the poverty.-

The poverty in the city was increasing, and the crisis was every time cause of other problems, such as the emigration of the population. All these “fears of the local civil people”, generated a subculture of interests of a partial sector of the population. This local, well-known subculture like “local oligarchy”, seated in retailers, politicians, masonry (free-mason) and others; generated a very bad habit called “nepotism” and also a “coalitionated group of common interests” that took root firmly in the city for long decades, this groups generated a particular habit of sustenation and survival for only “some” few people of this city.  


Particularly remarkable was the creation of a subculture of interests generated by the local  Freemasons (only this city as reference), which conditioned all their member actions, in response to the "favors" provided to them. This group of local free-masons, generated a clear "pathology of power and control", always manipulating the basic needs of the local people, in the social environment, handling and conditioning benefits to the community as an "hidden-entity", evidently  that made the destination and rules of the benefits for only "some people" of the community (specially them), and that established the "power and influences" in the satisfaction of basic needs of the local families, so then they only privileged certain families in the district.


Must be highlighted the concept of "pathology of power" in this local groups, because permits through the manipulation, the cultural ignorance that is the essence of this local disorder. They attacked and attacks to anyone who attempts to argument of speak about their pathologies of power, of course they cover their management style with their "chain of loyalty" that reflects a lack of criteria in their proposals. Power above reasoning is their argument, seen in all kind of places and formal institutions and activities in the city. Their influence is the example of unreasoning objective of pathology of power, and still exists in our times.


This kind of management of a city of course, is not "evident" in other cities, but is supposed that exists, if inferences of this “example” are permitted. 

By  the same situation, the poverty was increasing progressively in the city, becoming significant at the beginning of the seventies. In this decade was implemented in Chile, the military dictatorship, specifically in 1973, the 11 of September, later to legitimize itself as military government, in constitutional property. This military government, was led by August General Pinochet Ugarte, as maximum authority, that previously had been Intendant of the city of Iquique, position of public administration that carried out as political authority. This affinity of the military governor with the city of Iquique, allowed to grant this one, special privileges, constructing and developing a handle of economic growth of the region, that was called “Zona Franca Internacional”, consisting of a territorial zone tax-free and tributes to the state of Chile, in order to produce interest, by the same facilities of liberation of taxes in the zone, in the world-wide retailers and producers, looking for implicitly that these settle and take advantage of the benefits, towards it, to invigorate and to improve the local economy, through mercantile growth, and with the possibility of facilitating the installation of productive industries in the zone.


Providentially, this support generated resources to this weak local economy. Nevertheless, the city of Iquique, perhaps by influence of its ingrained style, nepotism and oligarchical type, in addition by the facility and malleability to handling of criteria of political and administrative management, normally criteria that favored foreign immigrants who settled in the city, generated bad commercial habits in Iquique, such the commerce contraband, or nonofficial commerce, with neighboring countries like Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. It is possible to emphasize that the “afuerinos” (inmigrants in Iquique), normally people and familiar groups of the South zone of the country, took advantage the benefits of the zone directing their decisional criteria in relation to the destinies of the city, around their particular interests.


By this way, the local oligarchy and its implicit nepotism, gave advantages to foreign people, not to local people, at the cost of the good local treatment. Thing that the foreign one was not customary, because the uncertainty of resources of their zones of origin, added the abuse of the large estate owners and industralists who exert through authoritarian and similar to slave typle of administrations, in their places of origin, did not allow them to grow and to be developed, found a vein of resources in Iquique, an opportunity for their lives, but with costs of their lack of values and normal criteria of work and social coexistence (for example, still is commented in series of television, that the “patrons”, or owners of companies and zones of agriculture from the south of Chile, take advantage the workers, until the point of which when a worker is going to contract marriage, the owner can maintain sexual relations with the wife of the worker before her husband. These “individuals” normally lacking of good education, and with military or political investiture, began to generate new customs in this city, and that are catalogued normally of “bad customs”, perhaps motivated by the social resentment of not having morals parameters and also a lack of normal social existence.


For example, added to the corrupt vision of businesses of the neighboring countries, the action of interests of the locality, commanded by foreign, generated serious problems of businesses. For example, Iquique negotiating with Bolivia, almost contributes with the 50% of utilities (about US $ 1000.000.000), but that utilities and business are not recognized officially by the Bolivian government, that is to say, are contraband or black market. (Now this situation has been reframed and denied on the part of both governments, perhaps, by the interests of other localities, such as the city of Arica, in which there is only a small commerce with Bolivia, recognized officially, but that today the Bolivian authorities, want to deny all contact with Iquique, because surely it does not provide “particular currencies” through illicit enrichment, taking advantage of the guarantees state).


Paradoxicalally, and in relation to the previous statement of evil handling of criteria and vision of local businesses, a steep increase of taxes to the local industries or near Iquique was generated, which caused the exodus of the majority of these emergent industries to other near localities, such as Tacna in Peru and Brazil. Since we have been able to observe, Iquique had big opportunities, but this growth has not been rationalized properly, that is to say, it has not been ordered nor he has been lifting of the own benefit of the city, but rather it has benefitted to other people and particular localities. In definitively, it has generated an administrative chaos and redirected to modern businesses strategies, that benefit to third parties and not to this locality.


C. Progressive Cultural and Economic Deterioration of the City:

The “permissiveness” to third parties or other that do not comprise of the local patrimony (that is to say, temporary immigration), has generated indiscriminate, disorderly and abusive advantages, lacking to the own potentials of the city, because a local subculture was generated, and  where the behavioural pathologies proliferate and that brings the consumption and the authoritarianism, where grows the ignorance, the mediocrity and the trivialities of easy life in the resident community. The resultants are a bad productivity generally, a bad quality of life, a disorder of the private and public administration and other vices bureaucrats. And as was mentioned, emerged the existence of other groups, like the politicians and sects, such as the masonry, groups that generated an elite sectarian, and that occupies and monopolizes the jobs and influences more important in the city. This defines the occupational matrix of nonlegitimate people that corrupts the order of the local organizations.


But peculiarly, must be considered that it is on the part of the immigrants, the real problem, people who helped in the generation of a subculture of  ignorance and anachronistic style of life, which prevents the qualitative improvements that are required in the modern life. Perhaps in these groups of being able, many “immigrants” exists with “special abilities”.


D. - Continuous Worsening.-

As the influence of the unmannerliness of being able in Iquique has meant a cultural backward movement, also the administrative local culture has been modified, that traditionally was considered as good, united and adapted to principles and national rules, I talk about years 1940-1970, the comprise of arbitrary manipulations of interests of some individuals and/or local groups, and as well as these same creators, have begun to annul and to slant, to falsify, to deceive and arbitrarily to use by their own benefit, the procedures and formal techniques of administration and provided organization of “norms and laws” in general, for example, in the development of the quality in the production and the service of companies e national institutions. For example, the international norms of quality, ISO 9000, that have been adapted in Chile by the National Institute of Normalization. The peculiar thing is that in Chile and in particular and special case, the companies from Iquique, has been obtaining the “certifications of quality” (with national standards but accrediting international criteria), through bad uses of this type of validation, because “groups of consultants” next to the formal institutions have been created people that evaluate the certification process, that are united for “the truncated” profit of the quality certifications, without respecting in strict sense, the rigor of the international exigencies. That is to say, procedures are copied and falsified, are not realised quality audit suitably, do not adapt the criteria nor instruments to the particular realities of each company, etc. That is to say, is very little for the real thing that becomes, in the end, the agreement negotiated between company, consultants and company of certification (endorsement), to only shows a shameless behavior to us, that reflects the explicit and evident mediocrity in the local organizations.


The manipulation of the rules, is a bad local habit, and that has not been demonstrated like a bad national habit. As we see, the manipulation of rules, is a bad local habit; because the interests “to pretend” by the profit of commercial advantages, are a subject that facilitates the disorder and the lack of probity of the enterprise system of Iquique. If the easy money is the objective of our lives, then, Which will be the destiny of our children. It is evident that the personages who organize this commercial and administrative plot, do not persecute objectives neither of medium, nor of long term. Simply, “the benefits of national administrative policies not with citizen aims, but with exclusively individual and particular aims are used"



1. Is the problem of economic organization fundamentally?

Answer. - I think it is a problem was originated on the basis of socially precarious situations that has lived this city, and in relation to the good times revenue, which generated a subculture of traditions too permeable to foreign influences and mainly from immigrants who could not adapt theirselves to the culture of the city.

2. Changes have shown substantial improvements?

Answer.  Are only superficial improvement, since local customs have been affected by a lot of influences. There is no significant improvement, but rather a substantive degradation, which influences the criteria for business development, the cultural and educational improvement. The problem is that the original traditions of the city have been lost...


3. The labor work criteria remains volatile then?

Answer. The organizations have problems of adaptation and sub-market deals in their levels of basic needs, there are no projections in the medium to long term, except in the objectives, but not in practice. Of course manipulation of criteria without good predictors and objective measurements are increasing ignorance and bad management in this zone.