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Inflation Nation
Looting, Strikes Flare Across Argentina

Argentina’s economic travails are looking very familiar, as the government’s experiments have sunk what should be a country of abundance into chaos and poverty. The FT reports that police have gone on strike for higher wages as inflation, which the government of President Cristina Fernández tries to cover up, has destroyed their purchasing power. Looting has broken out across country, forcing desperate mayors to hike police pay in order to get them back on the job.

Workers from other sectors are taking note. As more waves of strikes and unrest should be expected, the government is busy giving Chavismo-like excuses:

President Cristina Fernández has so far remained silent about the police protests. But government officials denied that social tensions were behind the pillaging, arguing that unemployment is at record lows, instead accusing “political forces” of co-ordinating the unrest through social media.

Ms Fernández’s new cabinet chief, Jorge Capitanich, railed at “treason” aimed at undermining celebrations on the 30th anniversary of Argentina’s return to democracy on December 10 1983, and criticised the “financial irresponsibility” of indebted provinces for giving in to wage demands.

Argentina remains a powerful example of how a dysfunctional political culture hooked on redistributional populism can condemn generations to stagnation and poverty, despite having some of the most abundant natural resources of any country in the world.

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  • bigfire

    So when do Fernandez declare war on the Falkland island again? The only thing worthwhile there maybe some undeveloped natural gas deposit, but given that they can’t even make a profit on the existing reserve, it’s a non-starter economically speaking. However, war does give her a bit of cover, politically speaking.

    • B-Sabre

      It would probably be a short war. The Argentine Air Force is still flying the survivors from the Falklands War (with no upgrades), but has acquired some new aircraft – in the form of some retired Spanish F1C Mirage fighters. Meanwhile, the RAF maintains at least 4 Typhoon fighters on permanent station, and plans to move reinforcements there quickly.

      • tarentius

        4 Typhoon fighters on permanent station means that the RAF can only keep one on standby. You just don’t park modern fighters for weeks at a time and hop in one like a car and fly off into combat. In addition, the RAF would have to use US tanker assets to get additional fighters from the UK to the Falklands, a distance of about 7800 miles.The range of a Typhoon is about 1500 miles. And, these fighters are worthless without maintenance, fuel, support, etc. You still have to get the supplies and maintenance troops there. Given the emasculation of the British armed forces by the coalition government, there is no way that the UK could mount a rescue task force to the Falklands like they did under Margaret Thatcher. The UK, thanks to the coalition, only has one old helicopter carrier and no fixed wing carriers. The British lion is actually toothless.

        • bigfire

          Be it as it may, Argentina military is in even worse shape. Look, she doesn’t have to win the war, she just have to stir up her base and distract the rest.

          • tarentius

            Argentina can seize the Falklands once gain which, despite her wretched condition, she can do quite easily. The difference this time is that the UK can’t take the islands back as they barely did last time. If you know anything about power projection you would know that the UK can’t project it anymore, and doesn’t have the resources to seize islands thousands of miles from home. The irony for Argentina is that this time they could really succeed and anybody who pays attention to these matters, knows they can.

        • Andrew Allison

          You are misinformed. First, as anybody who has actually served on an operational squadron would know, there’s a huge difference between standby and alert. You may be sure that all the aircraft would be utilized should the need arise. Second, the Typhoon uses the RAF’s VC-10, one of which is stationed in the Falklands, for mid-air refueling, not US assets.
          Perhaps more to the point, Cameron could use the boost of a nice little war almost as much as Fernandez.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    “Argentina remains a powerful example of how a dysfunctional political culture hooked on redistributional populism can condemn generations to stagnation and poverty, despite having some of the most abundant natural resources of any country in the world.”

    It’s curious how socialism is recognized as bad in Argentina, but not in other nations like the declining European welfare states, or America’s welfare and now Obamacare disasters.

    • El Gringo

      The key word there is “dysfunctional.” Europe’s redistributive systems work, if not well, at least functionally. Or most of them, anyway.

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