Forbes: (Argentina) Economic activity is almost dead and inflation is not even near to be defeated," he

Ries

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#31
I can only reply by saying, yes, I have travelled all over the world for over 50 years, and I completely disagree that there is first- some kind of "average argentinian" and second, that they are all without work ethic or have some sort of "cultural rot".
I know a lot of young Argentines to whom this does not apply at all.
I know a lot of Argentines, period, of all ages, who are as motivated, work as hard, and are as entrepreneurial as any other nationality.

when I hear this kind of broad brush description of the entire population of a country, I dont see rational arguement- I see ideology being expressed.

when you say things like "Argentines had happily borrowed beyond their means"- its meaningless. A very few elected and unelected people in power made the decision to borrow the money- not "Argentines". Just as the average Greek was not consulted about their debt, nor was the average town council in northern England consulted.

these decisions are made, in the USA, Russia, Greece, or, yes, Argentina, by a very few, almost uniformly wealthy, powerful men. Who benefit from the borrowing, financially.
There were no referendums, no ballots, no consensus.

When the USA suffered the worst recession in 80 years a decade ago, the average american had no voice in the decisions that led to it.

So, yes, Austerity will be a "tool" aimed at the people, who had no vote in creating the situations which it is a response to, and, in Argentina, had, generally very small amounts of money spent on their benefits, compared to, say, the skimming on major construction projects, or the millions that just disappeared.

The people who need to "pay up" have their money safely in offshore banks, Miami Real Estate, and companies like Buquebus and Edenor, which will miraculously survive any Austerity by raising prices.

We differ on several points- one, that individual Argentines are somehow lazy and bad, and need to be punished,
and, two, that the structural problems that caused the current situation can be solved by cutting social services.
 
#32
I can only reply by saying, yes, I have travelled all over the world for over 50 years, and I completely disagree that there is first- some kind of "average argentinian" and second, that they are all without work ethic or have some sort of "cultural rot".
I know a lot of young Argentines to whom this does not apply at all.
I know a lot of Argentines, period, of all ages, who are as motivated, work as hard, and are as entrepreneurial as any other nationality.

when I hear this kind of broad brush description of the entire population of a country, I dont see rational arguement- I see ideology being expressed.

when you say things like "Argentines had happily borrowed beyond their means"- its meaningless. A very few elected and unelected people in power made the decision to borrow the money- not "Argentines". Just as the average Greek was not consulted about their debt, nor was the average town council in northern England consulted.

these decisions are made, in the USA, Russia, Greece, or, yes, Argentina, by a very few, almost uniformly wealthy, powerful men. Who benefit from the borrowing, financially.
There were no referendums, no ballots, no consensus.

When the USA suffered the worst recession in 80 years a decade ago, the average american had no voice in the decisions that led to it.

So, yes, Austerity will be a "tool" aimed at the people, who had no vote in creating the situations which it is a response to, and, in Argentina, had, generally very small amounts of money spent on their benefits, compared to, say, the skimming on major construction projects, or the millions that just disappeared.

The people who need to "pay up" have their money safely in offshore banks, Miami Real Estate, and companies like Buquebus and Edenor, which will miraculously survive any Austerity by raising prices.

We differ on several points- one, that individual Argentines are somehow lazy and bad, and need to be punished,
and, two, that the structural problems that caused the current situation can be solved by cutting social services.
 

Ries

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#33
My question is- if Argentina is a corrupt, socialist, crime ridden country infected with cultural rot-
Why, exactly, do all you right wing conservative moralist Daddy knows best types want to live here?

Me, I love Argentina.
I know there are many problems- just like every country on earth.
But I know a lot of very hard working, wonderful argentines, and every day, I have pleasant, fair, and honest interactions with Argentines.

As the old rednecks used to tell me- Love it or Leave it.
or, to quote Ronnie- Vote with your feet.

I hear Russia is always looking for investors.
And they have those mail order brides there.
 
#34
Have you not lived or traveled enough to tell the difference between an average Argentine and the rest of the world? Come on. And it's not necessarily the fault of a young Argentine to not have any work ethics today when they struggle to perform at a work place, is this why there is a law that doesn't allow to fire someone who truly needs to be fired? Maybe it has to do with the fact that half the country would then have to be fired?
I know a lot of Argentines, period, of all ages, who are as motivated, work as hard, and are as entrepreneurial as any other nationality.
My response is meant to encourage positive conversation on the topic and is not meant to discredit your opinions. I quoted both of you for the context and an example of divergence of opinions.

Unlike our own opinions and observations which are severely limited by subjective biases and sample size, there are studies on employee engagement and work-experience dimensions, for more than 1,000 companies around the globe, with a sample size of more than 8 million employees across more than 60 industries. The work-experience dimensions include 16 variables such as collaboration, empowerment, leadership, performance management, resources, valuing people, talent, work/life balance, etc. It is done in intervals to show trends over time. It also looks are the responses from the so-called baby boomers, the millennials and the generation x-ers. Sounds like a very interesting study.

What does it say about the Latin American market and Argentine market and its work force?
-Latin American market shows a declining trend, especially in some key markets. Argentina is one of two countries where this decline was noted on 7 out of 16 variables measured.
- 3 key areas where Argentine workforce experiences the largest declining trend overt time are: autonomy, customer care, learning and development
- 3 key areas where Argentine workforce experiences the largest improving trend overt time are: physical work environment, leadership, benefits

On the variable of learning and development, for example:
Comparing the rate of change over time, Indian workforce showed a growth on this variable, while the Argentine workforce showed a decline (at a significantly greater rate than the Indian work force showed growth)
South Korean workforce on the other hand showed a much greater growth rate than India, and compared the the Argentine work force, they are on the opposite ends of the spectrum (fast growth rate for South Korean work force and almost equally fast decline for Argentine work force on this variable).

Etc, etc., etc,

For the sake of entertainment, we can compare variable by variable, for any set of countries of interest over a given time period. Or we can simply discredit these studies and go back to our biased and emotionally charged opinions. Which option is more fun?
 
#35
#36
I can only reply by saying, yes, I have travelled all over the world for over 50 years, and I completely disagree that there is first- some kind of "average argentinian" and second, that they are all without work ethic or have some sort of "cultural rot".
I know a lot of young Argentines to whom this does not apply at all.
I know a lot of Argentines, period, of all ages, who are as motivated, work as hard, and are as entrepreneurial as any other nationality.

when I hear this kind of broad brush description of the entire population of a country, I dont see rational arguement- I see ideology being expressed.

when you say things like "Argentines had happily borrowed beyond their means"- its meaningless. A very few elected and unelected people in power made the decision to borrow the money- not "Argentines". Just as the average Greek was not consulted about their debt, nor was the average town council in northern England consulted.
I'm sorry but you do not see the point;

People seem to have a problem with the term "average" when used in the context of an individual, it might have something to do with your idea of human rights or sense of ethics in general? No? All I wanted to do is be accurate here, quite the opposite from your accusation of being biased against Argentines. Anyone who has worked with enough Argentines and seen the way they perform would become convinced that an average group of them would match the lazy description that I've given them by comparison to people in various parts of the world, are you denying that Argentines are lazy? Maybe I should say "most of them" instead of average, that would probably be just as precise. If you don't have that same conviction I recommend you do some manufacturing work and measure their performance and speak to management from different companies, do some fact gathering. Even the employees themselves told me that on numerous occasions, they prefer to be relaxed and not have ANY responsibilities, this show the way they perceive work culturally. And this is not about being defensive, or negative versus a more positive approach to speaking about the issue of employment, I'm purely interested in facts and behavioral trends that affect that socioeconomic well-being of this country where I happen to live at the moment.

Cultural rot is yet another way of naming the reason why the culture of this country is acting like an impediment to economic improvement, is it any different from a rotting apple that would soon destroy an entire case of apples if not removed? Well then let's call the apple and remove it. Argentines are too passive to care about the terrible state of their economy, and are too selfish to think that their own performance is not affecting the entire industry and therefore the economy as a whole, are you denying that?

It's great that in any country there are hard working people and I know quite a few of them but focusing on those positives would defeat the purpose of this conversation, i'm concerned with the under-performance of Argentine industries because it is unbelievable to see such a resource rich country with no war, favorable geography but with bad economic mismanagement part due to people's basic inability to recognize their own shortcomings.
 
#37
My question is- if Argentina is a corrupt, socialist, crime ridden country infected with cultural rot-
Why, exactly, do all you right wing conservative moralist Daddy knows best types want to live here?
As we are on the topic of lazy, how lazy is this tired old argument? It's like sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting la la la. I can take or leave the socialist argument, but believe Argentina is corrupt and crime ridden, while general workforce apathy is apparent here through eyes on the ground assessment and more demonstrable factors.

So, because I believe those things I should not live here? Many people don't choose where they live and it is not always dependent on whether they can or cannot afford a plane ticket. I would guess most people who don't like it here but remain do so because of family committments. I am surprised you would need that explained.

For what it's worth, I love Argentina the country (possibly the most beautiful on Earth) but believe Buenos Aires is a toilet. My wife was born and raised here and thinks differently. I love my wife more than I hate Buenos Aires.
 
#38
Btw, if anyone has employed people in this country (more than one too) then they should know the problems in Argentina in terms of work committment, productivity, customer care, and so on. Where I agree with the counter argument is that I don't think it is cultural but rather politically created and many Argentines have a "what's the point attitude to work". Also, the workers rights here are a joke, and many times have they caused my family problems. Be lazy, be arrogant, be unproductive, but hey, keep your job.
 

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#39
I have been an employer in the USA since 1982. Plenty of people I know there complain constantly about "kids today" having problems with work commitment, productivity, customer care, and so on.
I have probably had something like 100 different employees in that time- and learned how to interview, and who to hire.
I have also had employees in Argentina in the last few years- not en blanco.
Similar care in hiring has served me well.
We have had excellent people working with us here- young people who are skilled motivated, and do what they say they will.

in both countries, I find the answer is who you hire, and how you treat them.

I tend to be in contact with a wider variety of Argentines working than most expats- I am involved more in manufacturing, wholesaling, and design and construction, and I consistently meet, and deal with, extremely motivated hardworking argentines. And in my 12 years in my barrio, I have gotten to know a lot of local retail and service workers and businesses, and, again, do not find evidence of your sweeping generalizations. Particularly in small business, and in entrepreneurial businesses that I deal with, I do not see laziness, arrogance, or the attitudes you describe. Instead, I often get exemplary service, custom products, and much less institutional friction than I see in the USA. Very common in the USA to get blank stares, refusal to even consider anything but the old way of doing things, and inability to adapt or change. Not so here. People here hustle, because if they dont, they dont eat.

I know a fair amount of US employees (not employers) in my field, metalworking, who constantly complain about workers in the USA. Usually platitudes and received wisdom similar to what is being said here.
But there, and here, the main slacking usually occurs in large corporations, which have crappy management, insolent attitudes towards their own employees, and pay low wages.
There are still a LOT of companies in the USA that expect that, because they were successful 50 years ago, they should automatically be successful now.

Here, in Argentina, I have seen constant improvement. For instance, the service I have received from Banking Employess in the last couple of months- both at Banco Cuidad and Banco Nacion- is night and day better than it was in, say, 2008, when it really was like a kafka story.
Credit card transactions, which used to be long and painful, just to charge something, often with a special turno at one and only one caja, are now effortless and fast.
Tramites are mostly simpler and faster.
A lot can be paid online.
Banco Nacion has a "gatekeeper" now, right up front, who will quickly tell you who to talk to- I remember sitting in plastic chairs waiting an hour for my number to be announced over a 1940s PA system- much better now.
 
#40
Any austerity is hard on the working class, but that's just the nature of an economic consolidation, work more spend less when the economy needs a period of time to re balance itself and make adjustments. I do agree with you on the middle ground approach tough but I still persist on balancing the budget in order to attract foreign investment and safeguard the budget but that's not enough and this is what Macri fails to understand. We need to change labor laws, which can arguably once again screw the working class but there is no other way to be competitive at an industrial level, otherwise we'll always be isolate out of necessity to protect the domestic industry because we cannot compete with the real world.

I agree on the export mafia rules, the country cannot hold them hostage just because they get paid in dollars, and we need transparency so that everybody can go online and see where tax revenues are spent but we also need to cut the size of the government and fire a whole bunch of people because it is unsustainable, this would hurts but that's the nature of austerity. Greece had the choice to leave the EU and simply default but hey they themselves were the ones to decide to stay and pay up! It's their problem that the economy isn't growing much but at least they've learned responsibility and serve as an example to other nations who are considering borrowing beyond their means to repay.

You mention Chinese imports but where else are we going to get goods that are not made in Argentina at an affordable price? To incentive the Argentine industry to flourish and stay competitive so that we do not crush once the borders are opened, you need to go house to house and talk to families with small children who often times fail to stress the importance of education and technological innovation, in this country, learning something, studying hard and then pursuing an advanced career path is not encouraged on any level so the structure of governance is only one problem, people themselves and their attitude towards higher education is what needs to change first and foremost and meantime -- austerity.

Agree with many of the points that you and Reis are making here and for sure, Argentina will inevitably face some form of austerity programme that will hit working people and poorer groups hard. That is the way capitalism works, though the state can regulate the damage and ensure basic protection for those most vulnerable. Of all the factors you both note in regard to Argentina, for me only one factor makes sense for the longer term and that is education. By education I don't just mean building up the human capital stock in the country and improving the quality of expertise to international standards (eg Japan, Poland, India), but really establishing an educational ethic of hard work as the basis of reward. Argentina has brilliant people and clever business people but far too much brilliance goes into tax avoidance, tax evasion and basic speculation. The system of health is really quite good and the education system could be good with investment and direction. Giving scholarships to poor but bright kids on a substantial scale is a sure way of giving an escape route from the poverty trap and crime. The second big issue is tax reform and labour market reforms as linked: you can win a lot of legitimacy if you are serious about making the well-off pay their share of taxes while curbing the black labour market and giving people more work incentives. Difficult I know but China has achieved a lot without sacrificing basic labour protections and India similarly growing without collapsing all welfare and labour protection. Austerity can 'sober up' unrealistic expectations of entitlement and disincentives to effort but if you don't have controls you simply encourage sweat-shop practices rather than smart-investment and labour utilisation choices. My impression is that Argentine governments remained focussed on macro-economic fixes that simply cannot deliver and have almost no micro-economic strategy for investment and growth. The collapse of the macro-economic fantasies then leave the lower middle classes as well as the working classes in a bind, unable to afford the housing and services that they want for themselves and their children. Labor unions in Europe and USA responded to the crises of the 1980s with a fresh sense of realism and a willingness to buy into partnership deals: I think the Argentinian unions would do likewise if they were convinced big business could be trusted to deliver on a deal? Maybe this is overly optimistic...
 
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