YaleGlobal Article On Argentina
"Argentina should not be an example of what is wrong with globalization. It should rather be an example of the importance of a properly functioning society and a strong government." Part of me wants to say "Yay!", part of me wants to add "But wait a second..."
The article deserves to be read, thought about and commented (those activities performed ideally in that specific order), but the core of my reaction to it is: Professor Lehmann is quite right that there was -and still there is- a deep problem rooted on Argentina's elite and their failure to act like they should, and for this I mean "act like a damn elite". For the most part they act like short-sighted, power-grabbing, media-loving, paradoxically underambitious (in the great scheme of things) looters with good suits. I love a good suit, but the rest of their characteristics are not up to par, really.
Also, I have to side with him -and YaleGlobal in general- on generally praising globalization. This is a position that has earned me a lot of flack in Argentina, as you might guess, but I do find globalization a good, positive, even necessary development. There are lots of stuff in other countries I want to buy, and lots of people there I'd like to hire me so I can buy the stuff. Trade barriers get in the way.
That said, I'm also forced to add that it wasn't only Argentineans who acted either ignorantly or with malice. To cite but an example, investment houses conciously overhyped argentinean bonds, while fully aware that elementary budget considerations showed the fiscal unsustainability of the country's borrowing agenda. At the same time, IMF functionaries pressured the goverment to dedicate resources to debt services beyond the point at which those services also critically damaged the long term prospects of the economy.
Of course, ultimatedly the blame rests in our government, and really in us, the people who choose them. To expect bona fide from the financial community, to hold them to have our best interests at heart, would be a naivete of the greatest order. So in the whole I agree with Professor Lehmann's thesis: Argentina's failure was the Argentinean people's.
But it was, in part, a failure to protect from the dangers of globalization, which, as all power tools -and a good and powerful tool it is- must be handled with care.
The country's boom and bust cycle is perhaps responsible for its dubious distinction of having the world's highest proportion of psychoanalysts per capita.
Actually, I suspect it's the other way around.Posted by nnyhav | February 23, 2004 12:16 PM
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