There are four types of countries in this world, according to the old Argentine lament. There are first world and third world countries, rich and poor. Then there’s Japan, where nobody can work out how they did so very much with so very little. And lastly, there’s Argentina, where nobody can figure out how so little was done with so very much.
Crisis is in the air again, Fellow Reckoner. The cacerolazos are back in the streets of Buenos Aires, banging their pots and pans. The currency, the Argentine peso, is making its familiar march toward the “hockey stick” formation it always takes before a crash.
And the government is pointing its fingers to anyone and everyone else for causing the poor people of the pampas yet more grief and hardship.
Same ol’, same ol’, in other words.
We returned to the “Paris of the South” after a delightful summer in the Paris of the North. Barely a weekend goes by in Europe without a protest of some description. We saw marches in Spain, rallies in Portugal, demonstrations in France.
And each day the papers brought news from across the continent…riots in Athens…bellyaching in Rome…public outcries, pickets and remonstrances of every stripe.
Still, you get the feeling that their heart’s not quite in it up north. Well, maybe the Greeks…and perhaps the Italians. But the rest just seem to join in for the sake of it, or for fear of being left out.
Here in Argentina, however, protesting against the government is both a vocation and an avocation. It’s a national sport. A true calling and a leisurely pastime. Something for men and women, young and old, rich and poor. Something on which everyone can come together to disagree.
The government gives the people plenty to complain about too. Rampant and worsening inflation…draconian regulations on imports and exports…capital controls…nationalizations…expropriations…confiscations…
Yep. If you’re an up and coming protester, looking for a good place to advance your career, you could do far worse than Argentina. It’s the one country where piqueteros will always have a job.
for Markets and Money
From the Archives…
The Sharks Amongst the School
21-09-2012 – Greg Canavan
20-09-2012 – Greg Canavan
There’s Going To Be a Fight
19-09-2012 – Dan Denning
The World’s #1 Money Printer
18-09-2012 – Bill Bonner
The Video That Started All the Controversy
17-09-2012 – Dan Denning