This expression was made popular by Chilean Marxist president Allende during the early 1970s. It comes from the Spanish "La vía chilena al socialismo" ("The Chilean Way to Socialism"). "The Chile Way" at that time meant theft or undervalued payment by the State for privately owned properties, such as copper mines and farms. "The Chilean Way" also meant management by the State of large farms which were taken from small-holders, although this Chilean Way of farm management turned into a disaster and Chile had to import a great deal of food from foreign suppliers. So in many ways, The Chilean Way came to be associated with failed Socialist experimentation. Since the end of the Allende administration in 1973, The Chilean Way has taken on additional meanings which reflect the local social and cultural characteristics. For example, construction work done The Chilean Way means that the trades people will not show up for work on time, and often not sober, and will expect to be paid whether they work or not, and will steal the building materials and tools of the owner or construction company. Some people suggest that The Chilean Way can also mean "flojera"(laziness) or "a medias" which is Chilean for something done just half-way, or barely satisfactory. In Chile we also say "the right way, and the Chilean Way."
"I thought I hired a good gasfiter (plumber) but he just did things The Chilean Way -- you know, with massive amounts of silicone to seal the leaks."
"The student leaders of the FECh are doing things The Chilean Way and demanding that they have subsidised bus fares even during weekends and summer vacation."
A way of doing things or solving problems with very little resources but meticulously planned in order to obtain the best possible result or the greatest benefit from a difficult or unsafe situation.-
Although it derived from the spanish original "A la Chilena", which has a broader meaning, the english form is more often used, even by spanish speakers, to denote the more specific meaning written above.
The term was coined locally in South America in the mid-eighties, when, under Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship, chileans managed to survive a great economic depression by being very inventive business-wise and diversified the country's economy, rather intuitively than with actual training.
The "Chilean Way" met global significance in February 2010 when Chilean newly elected State Officers faced the "2010 Concepcion earthquake" and were challenged with Reconstruction issues, wich they did very effectively and efficiently in order to solve immediate needs of nearly 2 million of the most affected people.
Further world recognition of the phrase came after the rescue of 33 copper miners, that same year, who spent 69 days trapped over 2,300 ft (700 mts) underground, with no casualties whatsoever.
- Dude, how did you managed to throw a party with so little cash?
- Chilean way, dude... the chilean way.
- I can't believe they're making us build this model overnight!
- We're gonna solve this the chilean way, alright, mate?
- Alright, mate. I'll bring snacks, you make some coffee.