New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - United States of Argentina
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Check GunBroker.com for SWFA's No Reserve and No Minimum bid firearm auctions.

United States of Argentina

 Post Reply Post Reply   Topic Search Topic Search  Topic Options Topic Options
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/18/2009 at 07:23
Ick View Drop Down
Optics Professional
Optics Professional
Avatar
ICK, Ed's BOY

Joined: October/08/2008
Location: Pennsylvania
Status: Offline
Points: 817
United States of Argentina
How inflation turned a rising power into a pauper
By Philip Jenkins

Anyone not alarmed by the state of the U.S. economy is not paying attention. As our Dear Leader begins his term, the theory of very big government has the support of an alarmingly broad political consensus. Despite the obvious dangers—devastating inflation and the ruin of the dollar—the United States seems pledged to a debt-funded spending spree of gargantuan proportions.

In opposing this trend, critics face the problem that the perils to which they point sound very theoretical and abstract. Perhaps Zimbabwe prints its currency in multi-trillion units, but that’s a singularly backward African dictatorship: the situation has nothing to do with us. Yet an example closer to home might be more instructive. Unlike Zimbabwe, this story involves a flourishing Western country with a large middle class that nevertheless managed to spend its way into banana-republic status by means very similar to those now being proposed in Washington.

The country in question is Argentina, and even mentioning the name might initially make any comparison seem tenuous. The United States is a superpower with a huge economy. Argentina is a political and economic joke, a global weakling legendary for endemic economic crises. Between them and us, surely, a great gulf is fixed. Yet Argentina did not always have its present meager status, nor did its poverty result from some inherent Latin American affinity for crisis and corruption. A century ago, Argentina was one of the world’s emerging powers, seemingly destined to outpace all but the greatest imperial states. Today it is … Argentina. A national decline on that scale did not just happen: it was the result of decades of struggle and systematic endeavor, led by the nation’s elite. As the nation’s greatest writer, Jorge Luis Borges, once remarked, only generations of statesmanship could have prevented Argentina from becoming a world power.

For Americans, the Argentine experience offers multiple warnings, not just about how dreadfully things can go wrong but how a nation can reach a point of no return. Not only did Argentina squander its many blessings, it created a situation from which the society could never recover. Argentines still suffer from the blunders and hubris of their grandparents without any serious likelihood that even their most strenuous efforts will make a difference. A nation can get into such a situation easily enough, but getting out is a different matter. A corrupted economy can’t be cured without being wiped out and started over.

It is hard, looking at the basket case Argentina has become, to imagine what an economic powerhouse the country was before World War II. From the 1880s, Argentina was, alongside the U.S. itself, a prime destination for European migrants. Buenos Aires was one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas, in a select club that included London, Paris, Berlin, and New York City. Argentina benefited mightily from foreign investment, which it used wisely to create a strong infrastructure and an excellent system of free mass education. It had the largest and most prosperous middle class in Latin America. When World War I began, Argentina was the world’s tenth wealthiest nation.

Right up to the 1940s, American and European economists struggled to explain the glaring contrast between booming Argentina and slothful Australia. As many studies pointed out, both countries had begun at a roughly similar point, as agricultural producers dependent on fickle world markets. Yet Australia remained stuck in colonial status while Argentina made the great leap forward to the status of an advanced nation with an expanding industrial base and sophisticated commerce.

So what happened? Certainly the country was hit hard by the depression of the 1930s, but so were other advanced nations that ultimately recovered, and Argentina profited from intense wartime demand for primary products.

The country was killed by political decisions, and the primary culprit was Juan Perón. He dominated political life through the 1940s and ruled officially as president from 1946 to 1955, returning briefly in the 1970s. Although he did not begin the process, he completed the transformation of Argentine government so that the state became both an object of plunder and an instrument for plunder.

Perón came from a fascist and corporatist mindset, which became more aggressively populist under the influence of his second wife Eva. They aimed their rhetoric against the nation’s rich, a designation that was swiftly expanded to cover most of the propertied middle classes, who became an enemy to be defeated and humiliated. To equalize the supposed struggle between the rich and the dispossessed, the Peróns exalted the liberating role of the state. The bureaucracy swelled alarmingly as nationalization brought key sectors of the economy under official control. Government bought loyalty through a massive program of social spending while fostering the growth of labor unions, which became intimate allies of the governing party. Argentina came to be the most unionized nation in Latin America. Perón also ended any pretense of the independence of the judiciary, purging and intimidating judges about whom he had any doubts and replacing them with minions.

The Peronist model—a New Deal on steroids—evolved into an effective clientelism, in which party overlords and labor bosses ruled through a mixture of corruption and violence. Clientelism, in effect, means the annexation of state resources for the benefit of political parties and private networks. Right now, both the word and the concept are not terribly familiar to Americans, but this is one Latin American export that they may soon need to get used to.

As high taxes and economic mismanagement took their toll, the Peróns blamed the disasters on class enemies at home and imperialism abroad, but the regime could not survive the loss of the venerated Eva. After attempting briefly to swing back to the center, Juan Perón was overthrown and driven into Spanish exile. Later governments tried varying strategies to reclaim Argentina’s lost splendors and some enjoyed success, but Perón’s curse endured. Even when his party was driven underground, its traditions remained: demagogic populism, a perception of the state as a device for enriching supporters and punishing foes, and a contempt for economic realities. Utopian mass movements inspired by Peronist ideas and charisma segued easily into the far-left upsurge of the 1960s, when Argentina gave birth to some of the world’s most dangerous terrorist and guerrilla movements. By 1976, the military intervened to stave off the imminent collapse of the state and launched the notorious Dirty War that killed thousands.

Since 1976, Argentine economic policies have lurched from catastrophe to catastrophe. The military junta borrowed enormously with no serious thought about consequences, and the structures of Argentine society made it impossible to tell how funds were being invested. Foreign debt exploded, the deficit boomed, and inflation approached 100 percent a year. Economic meltdown had disastrous political consequences. By 1982, like many other dictatorships through history, the Argentine junta tried to solve its domestic problems by turning to foreign military adventures. And like other regimes, they found that their control over military affairs was about as weak as their command of the economy. Military defeat in the Falkland Islands destroyed the junta. By 1983, a civilian president was in power once more. But nothing could stop the nosedive. Inflation reached 672 percent by 1985 and 3,080 percent by 1989. The disaster provoked capital flight and the collapse of investor confidence, not t
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/18/2009 at 15:22
Ed Connelly View Drop Down
Optics Retard
Optics Retard
Avatar
God of no Chihuahua

Joined: December/16/2007
Location: USA
Status: Offline
Points: 24220
Do I get a college credit if I read all this???    Bucky
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/18/2009 at 15:29
Ick View Drop Down
Optics Professional
Optics Professional
Avatar
ICK, Ed's BOY

Joined: October/08/2008
Location: Pennsylvania
Status: Offline
Points: 817
No, but it has the possibility to inrease your chances with a college co-ed, Ed.
 Post Reply Post Reply
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Similar Threads: "United States of Argentina"
Subject Author Forum Replies Last Post
United States Rifle, Caliber .30, M1 338LAPUASLAP Firearms 5
1891 Argentina Mauser (Sport or Not?) TPS_Phil Firearms 21
Cordoba, Argentina Dove Hunt REMF General Hunting 18
Can anyone help me with info on this United Scope hillman Spotting Scopes 3
Dove Hunting at Entre Rios Argentina Benedicta Outfitters General Hunting 10
united scope 280shooter Rifle Scopes 3
Another state RifleDude Firearms 8
Firearm Laws by State Chris Farris Firearms 3
Hensoldt Scopes are coming to the states! optik Tactical Scopes 2
State Department Ruling on 3/4 mil-dot Chris Farris Tactical Scopes 2 4/1/2004 6:30:56 PM


This page was generated in 0.266 seconds.