Argentines are warm; Americans are cold

I hear this all the time: Argentines are warm and friendly; Americans are cold and distant. Family is important in Argentina; the family hardly exists in the US. Argentines understand the meaning of friendship; Americans are too busy making money to bother with friends. This is the general idea....I am interested in hearing what readers of this website think. Are these widespread beliefs accurate?
I heard the same description of Americans while living in Spain. Quite often it was accompanied with; "Here we work so we can live.. In the USA, people live to work."Having lived overseas in Spain, Italy, and Greece, I can say we do approach things in a much more practical and efficient manner. Not much time for small talk or a time out with friends to enjoy their company and conversation. Well, maybe, if we schedule the event in our Day Planer. All hail Stephen Covey! That is why I moved/retired in Argentina....Cheers!
"sergio" said:
I hear this all the time: Argentines are warm and friendly; Americans are cold and distant. Family is important in Argentina; the family hardly exists in the US. Argentines understand the meaning of friendship; Americans are too busy making money to bother with friends. This is the general idea....I am interested in hearing what readers of this website think. Are these widespread beliefs accurate?
Americans are too busy trying to keep their heads above water. Things have changed quite a bit during the last thirty years. Americans work way more hours than Europeans, and often for less pay (since wealth and earnings are so much more skewed in the US than in Europe or Japan). Americans have to make do with two weeks vacation, rather than the four or five weeks that the Germans and French enjoy. Furthermore, since there isn't really much of a social welfare net, there's a compulsion to amass ever more as insurance against a rainy day. This naturally has a detrimental effect on social and family life.
"antupata" said:
yes, argentines are warm. that is why you will find the same apartment listed on craigslist for 79000 listed on clarin for 60000. check it out. michaelClick Text Here
Good example, like american companies who outsorce call centers to thirld world countries in order to reduce costs, paying a foreign employee much less then what they would pay an american employee in the United States.
"WynnsWoods" said:
While I can certainly appreciate concerns regarding outsourcing I think that at least some analysis is required to fully understand that issue. For one thing, outsourcing tends to create bigger issues in the country of origin. Issues regarding loss of jobs, wages and taxes are but one thing to consider.
Then one need look at the benefits to countries and territories such as Argentina, India and Puerto Rico that are known for providing such a work pool. The loss to the EEUU in economic incentive becomes the obvious gain to such regions. An influx of jobs, wages and earning, and taxes not only on the individuals providing those services but also corporate taxes on the companies are but some of the benefits to be enjoyed.

I do not necessarily support offering jobs overseas to save money, as long as there are protections in place regarding fair wages and earnings based on compliance with national standards and regulatory provisions seems more than fine to me. I would also think that countries such as Argentina would have fair standards regarding hours, wages, and working conditions in place to protect their own citizen’s rights. If not then shame of the government. One of the fundamental responsibilities of any governing body is to protect its own citizenry.

Then let’s look at demographics for a moment. Argentina has a 10.2% unemployment rate with 26.9% of the population living under the national poverty line and an equally disappointing 23% of the people living on under $2 USD per day. I would think that anyone would welcome any influx of jobs nationally created or derived through outsourcing from other countries.

So just to go a step further let’s look at just one of the economic issues facing Argentina that has contributed to this massive level of unemployment coupled with grave poverty: “the ease of doing business” here. There are 15 procedures required to start a business here compared with 10.2 for the region. There are 23 procedures in Argentina to opening a warehouse compared to 15.4 in the region. The costs associated with a business acquiring the rights to property in Argentina is 8.3% of the value of the property compared to 6% regionally. Labor tax and contributions cost Argentine companies an average of 30.2% of their profit versus 14.5% in the region.

There are of course some areas in which Argentina in this region of the world, however in the overall world ranking as published by the World Bank Argentina is ranked #101 in the world compared to the United States which sits at #3. Couple that with a Gross National Income in Argentina of only $4,470 USD per capita compared to the United States sitting at $43,740 I would think it a very good thing for Argentina that companies from the United States are outsourcing here. I know this much, I have talked to people working in these jobs here and they are all very glad to have the job.

Outsourcing may speak poorly regarding economic motive and greed of the foreign companies exploiting cheap wage standards in other countries. But in my opinion there is nothing but gain for the economies, countries, and people involved in countries that allow companies to come in and outsource there.
I was trying to make a point:: people ALL OVER THE WORLD -Argentina and the U.S.- will try whatever it takes to make more money, this could be outsourcing for foreign companies or charging expatriates more for a specific property.
Here is a question for you, is it fair for two people who do the exact same job, to get paid differently?
The tired old argument that all people throughout the world should be paid the same for the same work regardless of the country they live in is absurd.
No, he is talking about enormous sufferings of "la gente trabajadora" ruthlessly exploited by american imperialists, who somehow do not want to open their big fat wallets to pay them more than local employers. You see, the same brand new car can be priced differently in different zipcodes and it is normal. But when it comes down to the argentine people, a very special logic based on a universal fairness is applied.
"WynnsWoods" said:
TatanBsAs, thank you for the clarification of your point. While obviously there are legal, ethical, and moral constraints that must apply………. the point of being in business is to make more money. One cannot simply decry foul and leave the discussion at that.
You mentioned expatriates being charged more money for property and while I am living that reality and while I think it unfair, I do not blame the Argentine who is charging an inflated rental rate. Rather I blame the expatriates who have set the precedent for accepting such treatment. The simple fact of the matter is that were there are expatriates willing to pay higher rates than Argentines and that is creating a market for homeowners, fair or not. I do not fault the Argentine homeowner for wanting to make the most money he can for his investment; that is what I call sound financial reasoning.
You posed the question “is it fair for two people who do the exact same job to get paid differently” and my answer is a resounding YES. To me the standard of inquiry should be qualitative in substance rather than quantitative as you suggest. Merely looking at numbers tells you nothing regarding the quality of living standards. The fact is someone in New York City requires more money to live than someone in the middle of the country such as in Nebraska or Kansas. At the same time someone in Argentina would require far less money to sustain that same quality of life as a New Yorker.

Again, to me the better gauge of fairness is to look to the relative quality of living income brings. If we apply the reasoning that everyone should be paid exactly the same then here is an example of what would happen. The person who works for a company in NYC or London will earn enough money from their job to rent a decent apartment and eat out once a week while the Argentine will earn enough to rent a mansion and hire a team of chefs to prepare all their meals or the Bangladeshi can purchase a palace.

This exact analysis is employed by most US companies irrespective of whether they outsource or not. People working at the exact same job earn more money in NYC and in Las Angeles as do people in the Midwest and if they transfer to the London office they will earn yet another rate. What companies do is look at the relative cost of living in an area and pay based upon that criteria. If they are paying someone in NYC to live at a certain standard then they pay proportionate everywhere. This same rule should apply to employees in countries they outsource to and I have seen no statistical evidence to suggest they do not as a normal practice. If there are problems in this area I would suggest that the governments of those countries can set standards they think are fair regarding wages derived through employment from foreign companies.

Henryb, if in fact there are issues here of economic injustice then the government here is failing the people. The quality of living standards in Argentina is hardly the fault of American Imperialists who do not want to open their fat wallets. I think it is ridiculous to characterize a company offering jobs here as partaking of ruthless exploitation. And since when is paying wages at the national average exploitive as you suggest. Foreign companies are not and should not be bound legally or morally to pay more than the local companies as you suggest. If the government wants to step in on the behalf of workers and established work and pay standards exceeding their own, that can certainly be accomplished.

I have to question exactly what your point is Henry. It would seem from your comment that you are suggesting that Argentine companies are exploiting their own people if fairness demands companies pay wages that are higher than normal for here. Is that what you are saying? I assume Argentina has minimum wage standards and if in fact US based companies are failing to provide a reasonable quality of life based upon paying those required wages then there is another issue to be explored: the inadequacy of Argentine labor laws.

It is easy to spit out outrageous and racial slurs:

“No, he is talking about enormous sufferings of "la gente trabajadora" ruthlessly exploited by American imperialists, who somehow do not want to open their big fat wallets to pay them more than local employers”.

However it is intellectually inferior to stoop to such methodology in the face of an irrational and weak argument prima facia.

Henry, the standard you are suggesting is anything but the “universal fairness” you mentioned. It is racism poorly concealed to demand foreigners pay more than is normal and it reeks of that exploitation you complain about. It would appear that you are claiming legitimacy of a standard that excedes that which the Argentine people and government have deemed appropriate. If it has been decided that a particular job requires 20 pesos an hour than the dictates of logic and morality command that this rate remain constant regardless of the nationality of the person paying those wages.

The simple fact of the matter is we do not live in a perfect world. There is economic injustice practiced all over the world to include within the borders of the EEUU. Unfair labor practices and exploitation are a reality in every country. That being said there is no logical way to draw a connection between imperialism and the business practices of a few companies. Imperialism is the forceful extension of a nation’s authority by territorial gain, political dominance, or economic control over other nations that are not colonies. At its worst, outsourcing is a few individuals profiting by offering lower wages than are fair.

In summary, yes there are economic injustices in the world but simply pointing a finger at companies trying to make a profit does little towards offering real sustainable solutions. Unfortunate or not, the political arena is where substantial change must occur. Were the world structured such that living in NYC city cost the same as in Paris, Mexico City, Tehran, Rio, or Buenos Aires then and only then would same wages for same pay apply. I do not support wages based upon gender, race, religion, or age. But rather I look towards the quality of living a wage supports in a particular area. Numbers alone tell us nothing and as I noted above all effective critical analysis of such situations must be related to quality of living rather than rate of pay.
Thank you for your response. So, according to practically everbody here its ok for a foreign company to pay less to somebody who is foreign because their estandard of living does not require the same income as somebody, in the US for example, but its not OK for an argentine to want to charge an expatriate more then he would charge an argentine national for a property, or for a local tourist agency to charge more for a plane ticket, eventhough an expatriate normally makes much more money. This does not seem very consistent.
"is it fair for two people who do the exact same job, to get paid differently?"YES. I imagine there are some Argentine companies doing business outside of Argentina with employees stationed abroad. Do they pay the same salaries in the US, for example, that they pay in Buenos Aires? Are there no concessions for higher costs of living? From what I have heard, American companies pay as much or more than the local standard and often offer more benefits and better working conditions. Obviously to do business here they need an incentive. Labor law is strict in Argentina. It is very expensive to fire an employee and there are extremely high taxes the employer must pay. If wages were not lower than those in the US, why would any company do business here? Short term housing is a special issue. Prices are higher than normal 2 year contracts not only because foreigners can pay more but also because they do not provide guarantors. Guarantors are always required for a normal 2 year contract. Guarantors are hard to get, virtually impossible for an unconnected foreigner. Owners, therefore, charge more in part to compensate for the potential risk. It would, however, be unfair to charge a foreigner more than a local if he could provide good guarantors and sign a two year contract. Also what is unfair is charging foreigners more for other items, just because they are foreign. Even the national parks charge a higher price for foreigners. I can't think of other countries that discriminate in this way.