Chile has experienced deep structural changes in the last fifty years. In the 1970s a massive increase in government spending, not financed by an increase in taxes or debt, induced high and unpredictable inflation. Price stability was achieved in the early 1980s, after a fixed exchange rate regime was adopted. This regime, however, generated a sharp real exchange rate appreciation that exacerbated the external imbalances of the economy. The regime was abandoned and nominal devaluations took place. This generated the collapse of the financial system that had to be rescued by the government. There was no debt default, but in order to service the public debt, the fiscal authority had to generate surpluses. Since 1990, this was a systematic policy followed by almost all administrations and helped achieve two different, but related, goals. It contributed to reducing the fiscal debt and enabled the Central Bank to pursue an independent monetary policy aimed at reducing inflation.