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Montevideo, November 20th 2018 - 14:12 UTC

Argentine labor unions and social groups protest austerity measures in Buenos Aires City

Thursday, September 13th 2018 - 10:34 UTC
Full article 27 comments

Labor unions and social groups blocked streets in downtown Buenos Aires on Wednesday, with more marches planned over the days ahead over austerity measures proposed by the government and backed by the International Monetary Fund. Protesters are angry about the belt-tightening policies, which are cutting services to low-income Argentines already walloped by inflation of 31 percent and climbing. Read full article

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  • golfcronie

    If the Argentines were not so lazy and always going on strike it could be a very different country. Latins have generally been lazy and wanted something for nothing.

    Sep 13th, 2018 - 04:28 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • bushpilot

    You are only allowed to blame Macri.

    Sep 13th, 2018 - 05:33 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • DemonTree

    I expect it's the EU's fault somehow. You can blame everything on the EU.

    Sep 13th, 2018 - 06:31 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Enrique Massot

    Here draws to a close another cycle in which Argentina has again been taken to its knees, looted, humiliated and tied up to the whims of a few powerful countries.

    Those who marvel at the country’s recurrence of payment crisis just need to look at the recent history to see the whole process developing under their eyes in less than three years.
    In such a short time, the worst government that Argentina has known has succeeded in demolishing the productive structure of the country, dismantled its domestic market and mortgaged its future.

    Nothing like that could have happened without the enthusiastic support of the country’s powerful media group Clarin, as well as other media responding to the interests of a wealthy and powerful minority in the country.

    It has happened amid the cheers of the international media, who are still inserting the default line “Business-friendly, free-market advocate Mauricio Macri, who replaced a left-leaning, populist government…” and so on.

    The only thing Macri succeeded growing is the foreign debt and the number of soup kitchens across the country.

    The current IMF “support” will only be the last straw in the current downhill spiral.

    When this sorry comedy of errors ends, smartasses will ask with incredulity “How come this country does the same thing all over again?”

    But Macri and his merry gang, who did not lose any time stashing their earnings away, will just have a good laugh.

    Sep 13th, 2018 - 07:40 pm - Link - Report abuse -2
  • golfcronie

    Luckily Cristina got out when she did, otherwise it would be her fault, eh Enrique.

    Sep 13th, 2018 - 10:46 pm - Link - Report abuse +2
  • Chicureo

    Argentina has again been looted, humiliated and tied up to the greed of a numerous corrupt and deceitful politicians in tandem with union leaders.

    Those who have any understanding of the country’s recurrence of payment crisis just need to look at the lengthy sordid sad history over the past 50 years.

    Macri inherited one of the worst Argentine governments guilty of demolishing the productive structure of the country, dismantling the domestic market and bankrupted its future.

    Cheers for Enrique for defending the destructive kleptomaniac left-leaning, populist CFK government.

    Sep 14th, 2018 - 12:03 am - Link - Report abuse +2
  • Enrique Massot

    Chicu...we are in 2018.

    Mauricio Macri has been at the helm since December 2015. The “pesada herencia” argument has long past its best before date in Argentina.

    Not even the staunchest Macrist dares anymore to advance such argument after three years of Macri measures.

    However, that still makes sense for a right-wing extremist, admirer of the works of Chilean assassin Augusto Pinochet.

    Sep 14th, 2018 - 03:33 am - Link - Report abuse -2
  • Chicureo

    Certainly an expected weak protest from a pathetic leftist socialist comrade Enrique trying to blame Argentina's difficulties due to the Macri governance since December 2015. The “pesada herencia” argument is clearly valid and comprehensible to those who has a reasonable understanding of why the country is failing.

    Fair enough, a hundred years ago Argentina was arguably one of the wealthiest countries in the world and would easily still be if it wasn't for the unfortunate corrupt governance with few exceptions since the 1930's.

    A country with a well educated large population, enormous abilities in minerals, petroleum, natural gas, agricultural production and fisheries, backed by significant manufacturing ability remains an example of stupidity of how to bankrupt itself.

    Cristina, certainly is not the only cause of her country's disaster, she's simply a part of the monstrous legacy of the kleptomaniac national mentality of its many leaders.

    Sep 14th, 2018 - 04:22 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • Enrique Massot

    @Chic

    Oh come on Chicureo! Stop the litanie about how rich Argentina once was yada yada.

    A confessed Pinochetist has no way but to hate any government that positions itself but a bit to the left of the extreme right.

    Certainly, those who justify mass killings, torture, kidnappings and mass exile would totally agree with the conservative myth, told time and again, that the majorities must suffer in order to enjoy some trickled down later on. This is what Macri told Argentines at the beginning of its sad collection of semesters, the next being always worse than the former. Now Argentines are nearing the end of the rope and they are not happy.

    These Argentine elitists trying to set the country's clock back to a time where the wealthy few enjoyed while the majorities basked in abject poverty are the real monsters, ready to kill in order to keep their privileges.

    And you, Chicureo, are but a pitiful lackey working on their behalf.

    Sep 14th, 2018 - 04:35 pm - Link - Report abuse -3
  • Chicureo

    Typical for a deluded Marxist-Socialist to blame the sad failures of a failed state to the evils of the IMF, good governance of neighboring countries, the elimination of corruption and just plain common sense.

    From the rise of total destruction in 1973, since 1990 Chile has been arguably one of the most democratic and progressive Latin American countries with an independent central bank that has maintained one of the most stable currencies in the world.

    We did that by working harder and expecting less from our government while encouraging honesty from our political leaders.

    Sep 14th, 2018 - 05:28 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • DemonTree

    @Chicureo
    “would easily still be if it wasn't for the unfortunate corrupt governance”

    Not necessarily. Argentina was rich from agricultural exports, not manufacturing or services, and it's much easier to multiply productivity of the latter than the former. There was also the opening of the Panama canal which allowed world trade to bypass South America, and the replacement of the British Empire with the American one - Britain needed food imports while America is a major agricultural exporter and therefore rival of Argentina.

    “We did that by working harder and expecting less from our government while encouraging honesty from our political leaders.”

    The copper didn't hurt, either...

    Sep 14th, 2018 - 07:30 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Chicureo

    DemonTree, with respect you obviously haven't been following the world copper market lately which has been unfortunate for my country. Thankfully, Chile diversified into multiple alternatives and encouraged their success by eliminating taxes on exports.
    Copper still remains our number one resource, but at least we've diversified and promoted international investment. We still face serious social inequities that slowly we're improving but still have a lot to do. Meanwhile, our spoiled next door neighbors continue to squander their wealth and potential while blaming their woes on others.

    Sep 14th, 2018 - 08:22 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • DemonTree

    No, I haven't, but it really makes no difference to my point. Natural resources can be a blessing or a curse, and it's down to the successive governments that Chile was able to benefit from them, avoid Dutch disease and diversify the economy. Pinochet was a big fan of neoliberalism, but he made sure to keep those copper mines under public ownership, and so has every government since. There's still a 10% export tax on copper, and between 1990 and 2012 Codelco contributed an amount equal to 13% of total tax revenue to the Chilean government. Imagine the cuts required if that disappeared, and the effect on the rest of the economy of reducing spending or increasing taxes. For comparison Macri inherited a deficit of 5.4%, and Greece's deficit reached 15% in 2009.

    Sep 14th, 2018 - 09:29 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • Chicureo

    DemonTree
    Argentina spends more than its able leverage funds to finance itself with.

    FYI: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mining_in_Chile
    Although the majority of copper production is produced by the nation, there is a enormous amount of private investment as well.
    Despite Chile's lack of substantial natural resources, our somewhat diversified economy along with an independent central bank has kept our away from falling into the corrupt populist disaster of many our neighbors.

    Sep 14th, 2018 - 09:57 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • Enrique Massot

    @Chic

    The Chilean model? You can keep for yourself whatever you have built over the bodies of thousands of your country people. Chile will eventually deal with its past and perhaps bring the murderers to trial as Argentina did.

    Argentina's tragedy has been a pendulum between those wanting to develop the country as a self-sustaining, independent entity and those who insist in taking the country back to its agri food exporter past.

    The current devastation that Argentina faces is just the result of another clumsy attempt to take the country back to the Dark Ages.

    President Macri, whose maternal family is made up of wealthy landowners, has produced a textbook case of such restoration attempts by lowering export taxes for agri food and mining products, with the later benefiting mostly foreign corporations.

    Meanwhile, a beaten up productive sector has received zero incentives or stimulus and instead had to deal with constant inflation, low purchase power, sky-high interest rates, high taxes and the dismantling of barriers to imports.

    Now, friendly media, government trolls and the usual suspects at MP insist it's all CFK's fault. Three years later! Give me a break.

    In December 2015, Macri received a functioning country with little debt. Now, the foreign debt alone makes 80 per cent of the GDP--and he will leave a devastated country with all indicators in the red.

    Sep 14th, 2018 - 10:21 pm - Link - Report abuse -2
  • Chicureo

    “... Macri received a functioning country with little debt...”
    Enrique deserves kudos for delivering to the forum two outrageous contradictions of reality in one short sentence.
    “...a functioning country...”
    “...with little debt...”
    Perfect example of deluded Marxist-Socialist stupidity...

    Sep 14th, 2018 - 10:57 pm - Link - Report abuse +2
  • DemonTree

    @Chicureo
    That article makes copper even more important, providing over 1/3 of government revenues. Certainly good government was also required, to prevent the money being wasted or stolen, and create the fund to cushion variability in the price. But how rich would Chile be without it? Copper was over 40% of Chile's exports in 2016.

    Sep 14th, 2018 - 11:50 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Chicureo

    DemonTree
    Chile without copper revenues would be bleak and would force us to reclaim our rightful ownership of eastern Patagonia with all it's petroleum potential. Our armed forces would easily crush Argentina's excuse of a military.
    (Admittedly this might cause some controversy, but it would be a viable solution...)

    Sep 15th, 2018 - 12:07 am - Link - Report abuse +1
  • DemonTree

    Lol. I guess that would solve the problem, but do you really want another neighbour forever complaining that you stole their land?

    Sep 15th, 2018 - 01:31 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Zaphod Beeblebrox

    Reekio,

    “In December 2015, Macri received a functioning country with little debt.”

    You cannot be serious!

    In 2015 Argentina't government debt:GDP was 52.6% and had been steadily rising since 2011. https://tradingeconomics.com/argentina/government-debt-to-gdp

    You can blame Macri for not solving the problem, but don't blame him for creating the problem!

    Sep 17th, 2018 - 06:37 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    How about we agree to blame Macri for making the problem much worse?

    Sep 18th, 2018 - 11:18 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Skip

    ”Stop the litanie (sic) about how rich Argentina once was yada yada.”

    It is interesting to see the discussion on how and why Argentina has continuously devolved from being one of the richest countries in the world to a seemingly never-ending basket case. To think that Argentina and Australia were both extremely similar at one stage in their development. They once competed for immigrants.... who would choose Argentina over Australia now?

    It is a classic example of populism and corruption. Without those, Argentina would have been another Australia. Both keep failing to gain a foothold here. We once relied on the old, tired and out dated ideals of Enrique and then we realised that they weren't going to keep us wealthy so we threw them away in the 80s. Even Enrique threw them away when he left to live in a country that doesn't live by them.

    Australia is a major food exporter, a large resource exporter with foreign debt.... all the things that shouldn't work according to many of the discussions above to make Argentina prosperous. We are also a massive services exporter and have pretty much hollowed out or manufacturing to poorer countries without causing our economy to falter.

    And we just entered our 28th year of continuous growth. There is seriously no reason why Argentina couldn't have gone down the same path.

    Sep 19th, 2018 - 12:06 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    @Skip
    Zaphod found an interesting article that disagrees with the 'continuously devolved' theory:

    http://archive.economonitor.com/blog/2014/02/argentina-the-myth-of-a-century-of-decline/

    And I'm curious which of Enrique's ideals you think Canada doesn't share. AFAIK Canada has a diversified economy, strong social protections, and low inequality. It also has no loans from the IMF. I'm guessing EM would be happy if Argentina became more like Canada, but Macri's government has clearly not achieved that.

    Sep 19th, 2018 - 09:01 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Skip

    DemonTree

    I was trying to highlight Enrique’s hypocrisy. He says these things are bad for Argentina but has chosen to live in Canada (like Australia) for which these have worked. His actions speak louder than his words.

    I read that article with great interest. I don't think I subscribe to the whole 100 year decline but I think Australia is a useful comparison because of where both countries once were and where they are now. I went back and read the original Economist article and I feel the blog rebuttal was twisting facts to represent his own theory. Mainly just using GDP.

    An interesting quote from the original article: “Between 1929 and 1975 Australian income per person increased at an average annual rate of 0.96%, compared with 0.67% in Argentina.”

    But what I wanted to highlight was that if there are….were two similar countries then it is Australia and Argentina. Both large colonial countries built on mass immigration on the dispossession of indigenous people with huge agricultural potential. Where they differ is that Argentina was never as isolated as Australia but shared fairly peaceful borders with countries with similar languages and cultures (a massive potential market) while Australia was isolated until about 30-40 years ago.

    I don’t think there is one action or one point where they diverged but they did diverge. Radically. But instead of tackling the big core issues they keep dancing around trying to tinker with things. Australia is also in a tinkering stage right now mainly because things are going so well. But when they turn and don’t then I’m hoping we will do what we did in the 80s and make some major changes. When the system stopped working well we changed the system.

    Tariffs, protectionism, fixed currency – they went. Some will say it is neoliberalism and yet we have a huge social safety net, income redistribution and free healthcare. Isn’t this what people like Enrique want?

    Sep 19th, 2018 - 01:40 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Zaphod Beeblebrox

    DT,

    “How about we agree to blame Macri for making the problem much worse?”

    If you look at the stats I provided, Macri has brought Argentina back to pre-2008, which was some sort of golden age according to Reekie so I don't know why he is complaining. ;-)

    “Zaphod found an interesting article that disagrees with the 'continuously devolved' theory”

    Thanks for the acknowledgement. :-)

    Sep 19th, 2018 - 04:59 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Enrique Massot

    During Cristina Fernandez' tenure, many MP readers were active criticizing her ways as president.

    They attacked her over inflation numbers, poverty, foreign policies, etc.

    Now that Mauricio Macri is at the helm with totally opposite government actions, they begin lamenting Argentina's lost destiny after decades of mismanagement, making comparisons with Australia, and so on.

    Not a word -- and I mean, zero, zilch, nada -- to comment about what's going on right now under Macri. Oh well, I should not say nothing. Sometimes they do write something, as for the foreign debt, to say ridiculous things such as “Macri did not start the borrowing.”

    Why, of course Macri did not start. He just borrowed un unprecedented amount in an unprecedented short time and made Argentina the poster child of borrowing countries. Not only that. The massive amounts Macri borrowed went to support keeping the lights on. Not a single capital project was carried out with those dollars. Macri borrowed so much, in January private investors refused to put a single additional dollar into Argentina, prompting the government to knock on the IMF doors to keep borrowing, which is about the only thing this government officials seem capable of doing besides juicy profits for themselves, family members and associates.

    Sep 19th, 2018 - 05:12 pm - Link - Report abuse -1
  • Zaphod Beeblebrox

    Reekio,

    “Not a word -- and I mean, zero, zilch, nada -- to comment about what's going on right now under Macri.”

    I posted these Govt debt:GDP figures in another thread and I got no response from you, Not a word -- and I mean, zero, zilch, nada:

    2002-166.7%
    2003-139.2%
    2004-118.1%
    2005-80.2%
    2006-70.6%
    2007-62.1%
    2008-53.8%
    2009-55.4%
    2010-43.5%
    2011-38.9%
    2012-40.4%
    2013-43.5%
    2014-44.7%
    2015-52.6%
    2016-53.3%
    2017-57.1%

    As I said, these show a downward trend until 2011 and it has been an upward trend ever since. You can't blame Macri for the 2011 reversal.

    So Macri has not reversed the trend, but in 2017 he had brought this statistic back to the 2007 level. You seem to think that the Kirchner years were some sort of golden age and that Macri has messed things up and it is now worse than ever but these statistics do not show this. So maybe Argentina should replace Macri, but NOT with CFK.

    Sep 21st, 2018 - 06:01 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

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