Argentina’s Economic Tragedy: Lesson for U.S.

via The New American

Written by Charles Scaliger

Tuesday, 07 September 2010 06:45

Buenos AiresFor a peek at where debt-ridden America may be headed, look no further than modern-day Argentina.

South America’s second-largest country in many ways resembles our own. Like the United States, Argentina lies mostly outside the climatic extremes of the tropics and the polar regions. Blessed with a varied topography, Argentina has robust natural resources and world-class agriculture. Like the United States, Argentina is a melting pot for immigrant peoples as diverse as Boers, English, Italians, and Basques, in addition to Hispanics. Argentines are among the world’s most patriotic people and her culture among the most vital in Latin America. With a solid work ethic, top-notch educational standards, and a modern professional class, Argentina is a far cry from the “banana republics” and cocaine fiefdoms so typical of large swaths of Latin America.

As a teenage exchange student in Argentina in the late ’70s, when the country was ruled by a military junta, I was appalled at the levels of inflation evident even then. At the time I had no idea where inflation came from, but it was astonishing to see prices rising weekly at the store where I spent my monthly allowance. Few people deposited their money in banks; the wealthiest people I knew all put all their money into commodities and real estate, since it was impossible to save any nest egg.

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