Is laziness a virtue in Buenos Aires?


What do you mean by lazyness?? I think 1st world people are much lazier than us. 3rd world migrants take the jobs that they don´t want to take (Cleaning, washing, etc...)

He who thinks that workers are jobless because they don´t like to work are blind.
Apart from salaries being low here and decreasing wordlwide (in comparison with the profits of companies), machines are day by day replacing human work so uneducated people who can only work doing something manual are suffering from this cruel system.
Work should be seen as a right, not a cost.


I've been here a month and haven't really observed any overwhelming laziness. There is a different pace of life, but I don't think its laziness.


I agree, I don't think it's laziness exactly, but it's hard to get people to work for you. I have several things I need to get done & I can't get people who want to do these jobs. So, if their are lack of jobs there are also lack of workers.

I've stopped by the window treatment place around the corner at least 6 times & STILL don't have a quote. How many times am I suposed to call them to get things done? But I was told, if I don't keep going back I'll never get anything done.

And that is just one, I won't even talk about the electricians, carpenters, dog trainers, HVAC people, etc who never call back with quotes or don't come by when they say the will. The dog trainer came twice & never came back again, not even to get paid.

Maybe it's not laziness but a lack of initiative? Perhaps they have too much work? I'm at a lose.


First you have to define what laziness is! I think there is a fine line between "working to living" and well, not wanting to work at all. It's a very, very fine line;)

My opinion - as always, FWIW - is that the attitude towards work is a combination of several factors:

1) In the lower-paying jobs, turnover (in any country) is always going to be higher. If you combine that with an economic system that makes it very, very hard to get ahead - where is the incentive to work hard? Let's take a cleaning woman for example here vs the US. In two equal cases, a cleaning woman in the US is going to have a much higher income and there are systems in place for example where eventually, she might be able to open up her own cleaning company some day. Here - not so much. So our hypothetical cleaning woman works all day, if she is lucky and makes very little money & all she has to look forward to is a lifetime of that - not so motivating

2) There is not the cultural importance/value/prestige attached to working hard here that there is in other countries. Other things are more important - ex, spending time with your friends and your family.

3) A history of socio-economic upheaval has had some long-term effects on the psyche here. From an extrañjera's perspective - it seems there is very little importance/focus on thinking long-term b/c who knows what will happen anyway? You might as well enjoy today b/c tomorrow it (whatever it is) could all be taken away.

4) A splash of "time is an amorphous"- tomorrow can be tomorrow or next week.

5) And some genuine "entitlement" from workers. It's been an interesting experience for me here as an employer. For example, I offered my employees pre-paid insurance (at my cost). First, there was an uproar that I didn't offer it to their family. Then, once I agreed, there was some push-back on why (again, all at my cost), I wouldn't offer it to girlfriends/boyfriends, etc. Or complaints about why they had to work longer hours (hours that were discussed prior to hiring). Or requests for parking subsidiaries (even though we provided free transport to the office) b/c the transport wasn't convenient to them. It's seems as though it's a very "I want" work culture.

A bit of a perfect recipe for what we perceive as laziness really but I think that's a very limited description...


Drive and ambition is an interesting cultural factor and certainly the Argentinians like many other cultures value free time more than western societies. Yes there is an inefficiency here and a lack of wanting to change ingrained habits . I believe that the education system and the values imposed by the media show bad role models that people aspire to.

The best aspect though about the Argentinians is the time that they give you with no consideration of clocks and watches . If you are lucky to have a friend here they will always be around come rain and shine.


Reminds me of Owen Wlison's rant from You, Me, and Dupree-

Hey, how are you? First of all, thank you for giving me the opportunity to come talk to you all on career day. Now, I’m not Mr. Carl Peterson and I don’t have a career per se. I guess you could say my career is living and loving and I do that to the utmost.

I see all you fresh faced “kidlets” sitting there in your neat little rows and you’re all just pods. Pods waiting for your instructions. Now some of you are gonna get zapped right away and be 15 year old prodigies, little midget Olympic gymnasts with their pictures on cereal boxes. Some of you will go on to college and you will find your rhythm there and then go chase down the titans of industry or maybe straighten out our problems at the UN.

But some of you…and this is the group that no one ever comes into career day and addresses, and it’s criminal (not too)…some of you, are just going to float along.–Eating spicy foods, humming black people’s music into your thirties—well into your thirties….languishing. This group of pods is going to do a lot of languishing and you’re going to take some heat for it…sadly, you will. Europe is a little easier, it seemed to understand a little better, so did South America. I went to Argentina one time and everyone just seemed to be sitting around and it was beautiful.

But that’s ok! Stay loose, stay liquid, laugh a lot–but be ready! That’s what Dupree is doing in his life’s little pod–staying nimble, until I get the call from the mothership. Then I bite. Then you’ll see Dupree coming in here throwing seven different kinds of smoke. Boom, bam!"


In America we have working hard vs or hand in hand with entrepreneurship,
In Argentina working hard is somewhat futile (As eloquently described above) and entrepreneurship, far from being a cultural institution, is replaced by "piola", the "only those who're crooks in some way can actually make their time worthy" mentallity.

And of course, never forget that workers or non-workers feeling of entitlement was fueled by certain political party decades ago, and now that same political party is harvesting its fruits (political power). After all who (Politicians I mean) cares about actual production if the country's natural resources are plenty enough to pay themselves.


C'mon that's only speculation by your part, actually that "certain political party decades ago" were one of the golden era that the country ever knew but then the very well off went knocking on the army barracks and the rest is history, and certanly a bad one.


I'm assuming Matt's talking about Peron? And maybe it was a "golden time", but everything's relative.

The current government policies, supposedly a continuation of Peronism, hasn't served the country very well in my opinion. Corruption is rampant, money for public works gets pocketed through coima at all levels, up to the highest. The worker is so "important" that employers are under a huge burden from the government - very high taxes, forced bonuses, forced severance unless you can prove cause, which almost always goes against the business, if the employee takes issue, unless it is AWFULLY well documented, etc, etc.

Geez, subte conductors who make more than a lot of doctors because they have such a powerful union. Workers are not required to pay their union dues - the company has to!

The rich land owners, bankers, politicians, etc, in the suburbs, live in closed neighborhoods surrounded by "middle class" that sometimes live like a lot of people just above the poverty line in the States, or in some places by the rich are surrounded by some pretty good examples of out-and-out third-world-level poverty.

Workers here VERY MUCH have a sense of entitlement, and it was brought about by Peronist policies, I believe. Couple this with an attitude of a slower pace of life, and you get not laziness (as the thread starter wondered) but a general sense of apathy and entitlement to not work hard, but have a good life anyway - the two just don't mix.