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But not in a good way.  Argentina is a basket case socially, economically, militarily and anything else you may think off. Then, why do we say that Argentina is the future? Because this country is showing us today where other democracies are heading. It is a time machine that allows us a peek into the future.

 

ECONOMY

Argentina has gone through any and all economic experiments (short of outright communism) that exist in the political playbook. It was experimented with the full spectrum of ideas: from socialism with its heavy bias on state ownership to ultra-capitalism, with its overprotecting government bias, bordering corporativism and anything in between. It has experienced vast richess and abject poverty. Gold standard and hyper-inflation. Depressions are miraculous resurgences.

In terms of debt it went from a heavy, reserve-rich position to a gigantic, unsustainable, life crushing debt. To “manage” this debt it was again experimented with the full spectrum of International Monetary Fund, World Bank and US prescriptions and then some. From debt swaps to bridge loans. From shock therapies to fixed exchange rates. From placing the state on sale to international corporate rape. They went so far as to create recipes just for Argentina, for example the so-called Brady plan. One-sided solutions have also been tried, such as forced debt swap at a massive scale. We won’t even bother mentioning debt defaults, since they are a daily way of life in Argentina.

 

POLITICS

Yes, there too. Argentina had the full rainbow of political stupidity inflicted on it. Communism (through armed revolution) almost made it but it was cut short in the 1970’s by the "glorious" action of the military in the Dirty War. Beyond this extreme, all socialist philosophies, middle-left, center, center-right, right and ultra-right have been tried. Dictatorships and populism. Personality cults to emphasis on issues. Large political parties and small ones. Heavy international influences and isolationism. Old conservatism to modern social awareness and manipulation. Public goals and naked personal power. From oligopolies to “strong leadership”. From social uprising to active disinterest. You name it, Argentina had it.

 

SOCIAL ISSUES

Here too all matters of social initiatives were tried. Again, short of outright communism (which was experienced by proxy through its closeness to Chile and Allende’s government), everything else was tried.

From total disfranchising of the poor to government takeovers of “social” responsibilities through free provision of such services as health care, housing and education.

From heavily biased, racist, sexist and religious rejections to universal acceptance. 

From uneducated masses to highly educated and culturally avant-garde societies.

Crimeless times to the rule of violence. Peace and upheaval.

 

INDUSTRY

In this area Argentina has seen operative methods ranging from being a colony harvested exclusively for raw materials to a vibrant world-class of industrialized power.

From total dependency of imported manufactured goods through decimation of its native industries, to resurgences of local industrial might.

From small, home-based companies to massive conglomerates.  Argentina has seen it all.

 

WARS

Here too Argentina has had its share of bloodshed. From independence wars fought against colonial powers, to aggression wars fought against neighbors. From internal armed conflicts (typically guerrilla and anti-terrorist wars)  to genocide at a vast scale (such as the pacification wars against the natives in the south). From arms races (including nuclear and chemical) to conventional. From modern armed conflicts against world powers (do you remember the Malvina’s war against Britain?)  to simmering armed repression of society. From armed invasions to North-American military cooperation. If there is a type of war, Argentina has experienced it.

 

CONCLUSION

Argentina is old. Very old. It has lived a very turbulent live in a few short decades. Most of what exists today in the standard play book at an economic, political and social level has been tried and failed. We are lucky to have her. It is our guiding map on things to come. We know what to expect because it has been tried before. We know how things will evolve because they have done so before. We know of the ugliness to come because we are seeing it every day.

Argentina is a time machine propelling us into the future and this future is not bright. At least not yet. Because the story has not yet ended. We don’t know how will it end but what we do know is how the beginning of the end will commence.

Ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seat belts, the future is about to begin!

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

 

 

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