WSJ :Argentina's Economic Malpractice : Hard To Beat

Redpossum

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If you look at the banner, it says "opinion" and that's all this is - a political hit piece trying to deflect blame for the effects of the crazy sanctions onto a handy scapegoat named Argentina.
 

Rich One

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If you look at the banner, it says "opinion" and that's all this is - a political hit piece trying to deflect blame for the effects of the crazy sanctions onto a handy scapegoat named Argentina.

There may be Opinions on Opinions .

One Opinion is Mary A. O'Grady, Senior WSJ Editorial page writer

Mary Anastasia O'Grady​

Opinion Columnist, The Americas, The Wall Street Journal​

Mary Anastasia O'Grady writes "The Americas," a weekly column on politics, economics and business in Latin America and Canada that appears every Monday in the Journal. Ms. O'Grady joined the paper in August 1995 and became a senior editorial page writer in December 1999. She was appointed an editorial board member in November 2005. She is also a member of the board of directors of the Indianapolis-based Liberty Fund.
 

Redpossum

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For the article, try this link: https://archive.ph/plZF0
Thanks for the link, but being able to read the whole article just confirmed my analysis. She spends six whole paragraphs bashing Argentina, lecturing about what we should do, and concludes with the words, "let's put the blame where it belongs".

Right. It was Argentina that embargoed all the Russian exports and caused prices to spike. And it's Argentina that's pouring weapons into Ukraine, prolonging the war so that no wheat will be planted there this year. By all means, blame Argentina, it's all her fault.

She completely ignores the 43 Billion USD in debt to the IMF, contracted by a US-backed government that came to power with money from the buitres. She completely ignores the two years+ of drought that have hammered production both here and elsewhere in Latin America. And she casually dismisses the AR government's efforts to hold down domestic flour prices, saying it "gives consumers less incentive to find substitutes for wheat". Right, let them eat cake.

In short, she shows all the deep understanding of Latin America that one would expect from someone living in New York City.
 

antipodean

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Thanks for the link, but being able to read the whole article just confirmed my analysis. She spends six whole paragraphs bashing Argentina, lecturing about what we should do, and concludes with the words, "let's put the blame where it belongs".

Right. It was Argentina that embargoed all the Russian exports and caused prices to spike. And it's Argentina that's pouring weapons into Ukraine, prolonging the war so that no wheat will be planted there this year. By all means, blame Argentina, it's all her fault.

She completely ignores the 43 Billion USD in debt to the IMF, contracted by a US-backed government that came to power with money from the buitres. She completely ignores the two years+ of drought that have hammered production both here and elsewhere in Latin America. And she casually dismisses the AR government's efforts to hold down domestic flour prices, saying it "gives consumers less incentive to find substitutes for wheat". Right, let them eat cake.

In short, she shows all the deep understanding of Latin America that one would expect from someone living in New York City.
While global food insecurity and rising prices have been part of this generation's reality for some time now and only likely to get worse thanks to climate change, Argentina was having an inflation and food crisis long before Russia decided to provoke a crisis on a global level on the other side of the Atlantic. As a major producer I don't think Argentina's present food crisis is comparable to say Africa's looming food crisis from recent events, which depends far more on imported foodstuffs and all the energy and logistics that go into getting it there and distributing it over such distances.

In Argentina with almost 40% poverty, people are still protesting regularly to ask for more food for soup kitchens so they can have at least one square meal a day despite the price controls and bonos they get, you simply can't blame Putin for this mess. Can the apparent Alzheimer effect of life here in Argentina really make it impossible to remember food prices and what happened prior to February 2022? Hell, they even banned meat exports and meat consumption still fell to its lowest ever level showing how ineffective such measures actually are.

Also if according to the article government debt as a percentage of GDP ($437bn-ish - a murky measure when your GDP has gotten a lot smaller than it used to be) is now close to 100% then the $43bn owing to the IMF is hardly worth obsessing over in the bigger picture - especially when IFIs, including the IMF, account for 23% of it and other non-publicly held foreign currency debts account for another 29%. Multi-billion dollar government excesses up against an uncompetitive regulatory framework do absolutely nothing to sustain or foster economic growth so why persist with them if they result in bigger deficits where borrowing, further aggravating inflation or simply hiding it under the rug for the next guy or girl to pay are they only ways to pay for them. Nothing comes free in life and sooner or later debt in whatever form catches up with you and simply denying it won't make it go away, and servicing debt will always take resources away from other possible projects.

Perhaps that is why the government now wants to spend millions providing yerba for the poor - to cover up the hunger pains between meals to quell popular social discontent because with this inflation and asphyxiated economy, they ain't going to be able to afford enough food for themselves any time soon. The grim reality is this government is now saying "let them eat yerba" to hide its shortcomings rather than seizing the moment to cash-in on the rest of the world's problems by making meaningful reforms to attract the world's dollars and give producers an incentive to try harder - instead FDI continues on a steady decline to approach record lows (the exact opposite to the post 2001 decade).

(BTW I'd be careful about claims that no wheat will be planted in Ukraine this year - while not without great risk, Ukrainians are tough and innovative people. "The spring sowing campaign is under way in 22 of 24 regions of Ukraine, according to the country’s agriculture ministry. Despite the hostilities, the government hopes farmers will plant six million hectares of crops this year, which is equivalent to 80% of the area farmed last year.")
 
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