Elite buying Patagonia

7 comments

Hi, I recently bought your book (awesome content) and follow your blog.
Rense.com is site a read regularly. This article was posted about 10 days ago.
You might be aware of it already along with the author. I found it fascinating.
Thanks for all you do!
Regards,
 -Kim
Thanks Kim, pretty interesting.
Some of it I don’t agree with, but in the end most of it is true. Cant say that Ted Turner or the Benetton family (largest land owner in Argentina) have some world government secret plan, but its no mystery here anymore that foreigners are buying strategic chunks of the country, specially the ones with access to some of the world largest reserves of potable water. 
While some of these people are clearly targeting the water, I believe a lot of this has to do with the super rich idea of preparedness: Buy half a province in a corrupt country (so that I can get away with anything) far south with great natural resources in case the world goes to hell.
I can’t disagree with that, but I doubt many of my readers have the kind of money these guys manage, and that makes all the difference in the world.
While the billionaire buys acres by the thousands, along with the government connection to do very much as he pleases, have people already prelocated, enough supplies and manpower to run their own little country, the average Joe falling for some marketing trick only gets a parcel of land 2000 miles away from the nearest decent hospital… and you don’t have your own chopper to get you there if needed. Nor do you have the billions these guys do, so you’ll be a bit angry when you see the expenses of living there are actually 2 or 3 times what’ you’ve been assured.

But it is true that few Argentines own much of Patagonia any more. The Kirchners themselves, they own a fair share, but its mostly in the hands of the rich foreign elite.
We’ve known this for a while, and its been discussed in the local mainstream media that the sovereignty of some provinces is at risk because of this so we all know that, its not some conspiracy theory. We have laws that forbid taking control of lakes and access to their shores, yet many TV documentaries (Telenoche news did several of these, so did Rolando Graña in Channel 2 ) have shown otherwise. Get close enough to some of these beautiful lakes and a nice 4×4 truck with not so nice people will tell you that you are in private property and ask you to leave. The reporter explains to them that their boss may own the land, but they must provide access to the lake shores. They really don’t care, and tell you to leave immediately.Guess this is the world’s elite idea of stocking up on water. :-)

FerFAL


Real Estate and Relocating /Investing in Argentina

14 comments


Fernando – thought you might be interested in the Casey Research viewpoint on Argentina below….

What is your opinion?

Nick

————————————————————————————
Hello Fernando – great blog that you have!  I thought that this snippet from “Casey’s Daily Dispatch” today, written by David Galland, might interest you…            Best regards, Kris

Letters from You

In all of your Daily Dispatches, I have never seen any explanation as to why you picked Argentina as the fallback position to the US. Certainly the government there is far from ideal and besides suffering hyperinflation over the years, it is very socialistic and appears every bit as corrupt as most governments. What do you know that we do not?
In the November 25, 2009 edition of this service, I did go into some detail as to how I first came to the conclusion that I want to spend a lot of time in Argentina (and subsequently have).
Summing up the country’s attractiveness, it is that it’s inexpensive, cultured, physically beautiful, and homogeneous. Generally speaking, the Argentine people are lively, educated, and friendly. On my last trip, I got briefly lost in the middle of nowhere, and the people of the small town I stopped in for directions couldn’t have been more congenial or helpful. Then there was the time when one of my companions, playing ball toss at a local fair, so widely missed his target, he knocked the leg out from under a neighboring food concession booth – causing nothing but a heartfelt round of laughter by everyone involved, including the disadvantaged concession owner.
Then there’s the excellent food and, of course, wine, which, in the small wine-producing town of Cafayate, where Doug and I (and a lot of others) are currently building houses, is produced locally. The weather in Cafayate is excellent almost year around, and the living easy. A full-time live-in maid/cook is available for about US$200 a month, and happy for the work. As Doug likes to quip, the affordability of household help means that if you want a cup of coffee or a snack, a cup of coffee or snack materializes.
But your question, a good one, is more about the politics of the country.
First and foremost, there’s no question Argentina’s economy has been suppressed by its misguided politics. At the turn of the last century, the Argentine economy was the sixth largest in the world, but that all changed with Peron – after whom the country has been beset by a succession of dysfunctional populist/socialist/fascist governments. Given the country’s many natural attributes, which include abundant fertile farmland, bountiful waters, oil and gas, gold, copper, and all manner of other commodities, it is actually remarkable that Peron’s successors have managed to so successfully screw things up.
Make no mistake, this country has everything it needs – in spades – to be a real contender in global markets, and someday the people may come to their senses, in which case the subsequent bull market in all things Argentina will be something to behold. That said, the current government is better than many that have come before it, but that’s not saying it’s good – it’s just not as bad as some.  
That’s the big picture. But there is actually a positive flipside, because in addition to being “policy-challenged,” the Argentine government is generally ineffective. My first sense of that came during one of my first drives over the border from Chile, when I had to stand in line to fill out a small paper form, which the minor official then added to a big stack in a paper folder never to again see the light of day. It was all about process and had nothing to do with actually controlling the border.
In the U.S., by contrast, every move you make and every step you take is increasingly recorded and fed into databases that can be accessed at any time and for any reason – including fishing expeditions. That level of sophisticated surveillance may, in time, be implemented by the Argentines – but not in my lifetime.
Similarly, as a visitor to Cafayate, your Western sensibilities may be shocked by the sight of someone driving a motorcycle with a kid, or maybe two, clinging to them – and none of them wearing helmets. While many riders voluntarily do wear helmets and have their kids do as well, the government applies no such regulations. In the U.S. and other more developed countries, by contrast, it seems that pretty much everything you do is regulated – because it actually is. In Argentina, as long as you don’t bother anyone, you are pretty much left alone.
Furthermore, as a non-Argentine citizen, even when you do come across the occasional road block (which are especially in evidence during holidays to keep drunks off the road) or otherwise bump into a member of officialdom, the authorities have zero interest in delaying your journey. You are not one of their “souls,” and so they are polite and wish you well – happy that you are in their country spending money.
Of course, if you actually want to do business in the country or have to deal with bureaucracy in some official capacity, it will involve a lot of nonsense and time wasting, but no place is perfect – and that is, in my mind, a small price to pay for the general lack of day-to-day meddling.
I would also mention that I have done a fair bit of business in Mexico over the years and was rarely able to get anything done without first paying up to some local official. While I’m sure that sort of thing goes on in Argentina, I have yet to encounter it.
Despite their government missteps, the rule of law is considered good in Argentina, and other than Peron’s forced land sales to break up the massive estancias (in Salta, one family controlled over 2 million hectares), land expropriation is not part of the country’s history.
As for their periodic bouts of inflation, given that I would never trust an Argentine bank with anything other than money I anticipate needing for near-term expenses, it’s not much of a problem. The trick is to keep in mind the expatriate credo that your passport should be from one country, you should keep your money in a second (preferably, more than one), and your residence in a third.
Is life in a country such as Argentina perfect? Of course not. But if you are willing to put up with entirely manageable inconveniences, the sense of personal freedom and quality of life is exceptional. 
I’ve got several emails like these about Doug Casey and would like to make a few points very clear. No, some people may not like what I have to say but that’s ok, got enough friends as it is.
First of all, understand this is about selling real estate in Argentina. If I’m trying to sell houses to Americans in Tailand, Venezuela or Uganda I’m going to tell them it’s the best thing in the world, nicest place to live in, cheap beautiful safe, etc. The only problem I see is when you … “twist” the truth so much it comes close to being lies. So lets get busy:
Summing up the country’s attractiveness, it is that it’s inexpensive, cultured,
This is simply a lie. Its cheaper to live in Miami than in Buenos Aires, and if you want to go small town you’ll find out that (keeping the same life standard) its cheaper to live in most of US states than in any Argentine provinces. Live spending 1000 bucks a month? Sure you can. But know that you’ll be living even WORSE than living in USA with 1000 bucks a month simply because basic services such as power, gas and food are more expensive than in USA. Let me make that clear, FOOD IS MORE EXPENSIVE HERE than it is in USA.
“physically beautiful, and homogeneous.”
True. It is a beautiful country in terms of natural resources, that much is true. But you’re a fool if you think its more beautiful than USA wild life, or that it offers better outdoors experience for the average person.
“Generally speaking, the Argentine people are lively, educated, and friendly.”
No, people in most US, specially the South, they are much friendlier than in Argentina. Even in the provinces you’ll always be an outsider, even if you come from another province within Argentina. In Buenos Aires people you come across during the day will hardly say hi to you most of the time. Add to that the general crime problem (crime isn’t even mentioned here, and this is by far the worst problem Argentina has)  that makes most people here increasingly distrustful and you’ll understand better why people here are the way they are. Socially speaking, Argentines have a reputation for being dishonest and not to be trusted, which goes along with having one of the most corrupt countries in South America. People in general will try to screw you more often than not. The “fame” Argentines have among their neighbors isn’t entirely undeserved, and it’s the same story in the provinces. I’d say you’ll be more at home in big city Buenos Aires than in the small provinces this man promotes. At least in Buenos Aires people are more cosmopolitan and people wont hate your guts for being an outsider. But if in doubt, hey, be my guest, buy a nice house in Cordoba or Salta. 
 You’ll get all the smily faces until the deal is done and the money changes hands. Then you’ll see how polite people really are in your new neighborhood.
I’ve know of lots of people that just couldn’t stand it and left. Even one women that was born in Rosario, Argentina, but lived most of her life in Boston. She came back to Rosairio because of the crisis in USA, yet she regrets the decision and wishes she had stayed in USA. This woman was BORN in Rosairo and speaks the language perfectly of course. You think a “gringo” will have better luck?
“On my last trip, I got briefly lost in the middle of nowhere, and the people of the small town I stopped in for directions couldn’t have been more congenial or helpful.”
Possible. You can also get mugged, raped and killed in one of these small towns just as well like it so often happens to foreign backapckers. Oh, you better speak FLUENT Spanish, you simply will not come across ordinary people that speak English in small or big towns. Only in downtown Buenos Aires can you expect the average Joe you come across to speak English 50% of the time. In the provinces? In small towns? No, they don’t speak English any more than they speak Russian in small town America. Why the hell would they? You only learn English in expensive private bilingual schools or English institutes. And less than 95% of the population can afford either one.
“Then there was the time when one of my companions, playing ball toss at a local fair, so widely missed his target, he knocked the leg out from under a neighboring food concession booth – causing nothing but a heartfelt round of laughter by everyone involved, including the disadvantaged concession owner.”
Okk…  I’m not going to say this is BS. I’ll only say that based on how violently people usually react here, based on how POOR people are, this man losing his merchandize and laughing about it ? If it happened that way, it was because he came across the nicest guy in the country. Realistic terms? A) Expect insults, even a fist fight. B) Expect money to be demanded for the losses you caused.
“Then there’s the excellent food and, of course, wine, which, in the small wine-producing town of Cafayate, where Doug and I (and a lot of others) are currently building houses, is produced locally. The weather in Cafayate is excellent almost year around, and the living easy.”
Cafayate is almost owned entirely by the Kircheners. Its Kirchenrland so to speak. Its so expensive, even Argentines don’t go there on holidays, its cheaper for us to go to Brazil, even USA. Oh you can have all the wine and food you want, expect ridiculously expensive USD prices though. Of all the places this man has promoted in Argentina, Cafayate is by far the most expensive one. Please don’t get me wrong, if you’re a rich American you’ll have fun there, but then again if you’re a rich American there are far better places to live in… USA for example. If you’re not rich though, don’t even bother with Argentina, like I said Uruguay is safer, cheaper, just as nice, and a couple hours away from Buenos Aires and everything it has to offer, yet having the Plate river, the widest river in the planet, as a perfect natural barrier.
“A full-time live-in maid/cook is available for about US$200 a month, and happy for the work.”
Yes, I could even find someone willing to work for food. Does that mean this is a smart thing to do, even if you are a cheap b$”·!&d? No, its stupid, because people willing to work for so little are pretty desperate people, and what Doug and his buddies apparently ignore or chose not to say is that desperate people in Argentina will steal from you if you are lucky, or in the worst case scenario downright kidnap you for ransom or do a home invasion robbery. Usually the maid’s boyfriend/husband is more than willing to help. So no, been there done that, and so has every high and middle class person in Argentina: You do not hire help that is willing to work for peanuts. You will usually get what you pay for.
“But your question, a good one, is more about the politics of the country.”
Oh yes I’m sure. Can’t wait to see how you can explain buying real estate in a country who’s president  is buddies with Fidel and Chavez, one that wont doubt in taking away private property from people, specially foreigners.
“Make no mistake, this country has everything it needs – in spades – to be a real contender in global markets, and someday the people may come to their senses, in which case the subsequent bull market in all things Argentina will be something to behold. That said, the current government is better than many that have come before it, but that’s not saying it’s good – it’s just not as bad as some.”
Jajaja!! Ok, this is ridiculous. We pretty much have a socialist dictator in power, someone that stole private pensions and would not doubt in stealing your “investment” in Argentina. I think this is a good case of “if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say a anything”.  You don’t want to talk Argentine politics with a foreign investor, he just wont feel his investment is being made in a safe country. Argentina one day being something to behold? Well yes, we were something to behold in 2001 and we still are a mess.
“That’s the big picture. But there is actually a positive flipside, because in addition to being “policy-challenged,” the Argentine government is generally ineffective. My first sense of that came during one of my first drives over the border from Chile, when I had to stand in line to fill out a small paper form, which the minor official then added to a big stack in a paper folder never to again see the light of day. It was all about process and had nothing to do with actually controlling the border.
In the U.S., by contrast, every move you make and every step you take is increasingly recorded and fed into databases that can be accessed at any time and for any reason – including fishing expeditions. That level of sophisticated surveillance may, in time, be implemented by the Argentines – but not in my lifetime.
Similarly, as a visitor to Cafayate, your Western sensibilities may be shocked by the sight of someone driving a motorcycle with a kid, or maybe two, clinging to them – and none of them wearing helmets. While many riders voluntarily do wear helmets and have their kids do as well, the government applies no such regulations. In the U.S. and other more developed countries, by contrast, it seems that pretty much everything you do is regulated – because it actually is. In Argentina, as long as you don’t bother anyone, you are pretty much left alone. “
Changed my mind, I’ll stop being nice. This is BS, BS, BS.
If you think you have more freedom in Argentina than in USA because its inefficient you just don’t know what you’re talking about. Cuba is inefficient my friend. That does not translate into freedom. You have national ID in Argentina, you have mandatory vaccines here most people in USA haven’t even heard of. No, its not legal to ride a bike with kids or without a helmet either. It’s illegal to not wear your seat belt too by the way. Again, think Venezuela-type freedom. That’s what you’ll get here and inefficiency wont save you from it. I think the worst thing is, in Argentina you don’t have a RIGHT to freedom either. The constitution isn’t just ignored, its modified every once in a while by the current president to fit his needs. At least in USA you have a bill of rights, you have a second amendment, you have a culture of protecting people’s freedom. You don’t have any such cultural movement here. You don’t have a second amendment, you don’t have libertarians either. It simply does not exist. Politically speaking, Argentines are homogeneous in that regard: There is no political or social movement promoting or protecting individual liberties.
There’s a bunch of other stuff but I really feel I’m wasting my time with this. Basically every good thing mentioned here just isn’t so, except for the natural beauty which USA has even more of.
Politically and economically speaking, Argentina is a nightmare. And this translates into the society as well. You’ll see what I mean soon enough before next year’s presidential elections. Before buying, RENT in Argentina for a year or two. Trust me you’ll be saving thousands in the long run, maybe hundreds of thousands, because you’ll be able to tell the difference between marketing and sales pitch, and what things really are like here.
FerFAL

Barack Obama accused of making ‘Depression’ mistakes

15 comments

This is from last year but I find it interesting that a Nobel Economic science laureate, James Buchanan, sees similarities between what Obama is doing and what happened in Argentina. Lets hope he’s wrong. Around here (were people are used to loosing their belonging) we often say that hope is the last thing you lose. 


FerFAL

Barack Obama accused of making ‘Depression’ mistakes

Barack Obama is committing the same mistakes made by policymakers during the Great Depression, according to a new study endorsed by Nobel laureate James Buchanan.

By Edmund Conway
Published: 9:55PM BST 06 Sep 2009

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/6147211/Barack-Obama-accused-of-making-Depression-mistakes.html

History repeating itself? President Obama     has been accused by some economists of making the same mistakes policymakers in the US made in the Great Depression, which followed the Wall Street crash of 1929, picturedPhoto: AP

His policies even have the potential to consign the US to a similar fate as Argentina, which suffered a painful and humiliating slide from first to Third World status last century, the paper says.

There are “troubling similarities” between the US President’s actions since taking office and those which in the 1930s sent the US and much of the world spiralling into the worst economic collapse in recorded history, says the new pamphlet, published by the Institute of Economic Affairs.

In particular, the authors, economists Charles Rowley of George Mason University and Nathanael Smith of the Locke Institute, claim that the White House’s plans to pour hundreds of billions of dollars of cash into the economy will undermine it in the long run. They say that by employing deficit spending and increased state intervention President Obama will ultimately hamper the long-term growth potential of the US economy and may risk delaying full economic recovery by several years.

The study represents a challenge to the widely held view that Keynesian fiscal policies helped the US recover from the Depression which started in the early 1930s. The authors say: “[Franklin D Roosevelt's] interventionist policies and draconian tax increases delayed full economic recovery by several years by exacerbating a climate of pessimistic expectations that drove down private capital formation and household consumption to unprecedented lows.”
Although the authors support the Federal Reserve’s moves to slash interest rates to just above zero and embark on quantitative easing, pumping cash directly into the system, they warn that greater intervention could set the US back further. Rowley says: “It is also not impossible that the US will experience the kind of economic collapse from first to Third World status experienced by Argentina under the national-socialist governance of Juan Peron.”
The paper, which recommends that the US return to a more laissez-faire economic system rather than intervening further in activity, has been endorsed by Nobel laureate James Buchanan, who said: “We have learned some things from comparable experiences of the 1930s’ Great Depression, perhaps enough to reduce the severity of the current contraction. But we have made no progress toward putting limits on political leaders, who act out their natural proclivities without any basic understanding of what makes capitalism work.”


Prison Escape in Argentina …. guards used a dummy instead of a real guard

8 comments

Hello ferfal!

Love your book and blog! I think I have read every post you have ever made, but I don’t remember seeing you mention this story.

It’s about two prisoners who escaped from an Argentine prison after the guards put a dummy in a watch tower. The video cameras had all quit working due to lack of maintenance, and they couldn’t afford a real guard. This sounds like many of the stories you tell about a lack of money for everything.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/argentina/7902723/Prisoners-escape-after-guards-put-dummy-in-watch-tower.html

Thanks!
Yes, that was pretty funny, I got a couple other emails today mentioning the same story. They made a dummy with a soccer ball, jajaja!!
But yes, its one of those crazy things that happen here because of lack of funds combined with corruption.

Less funny and this same week, 9 cops tortured 4 underage kids in the capital district. A week ago another kid hannged himself in his jail cell, thrown there after walking drunk out of a club … his face was also beaten beyond recognition.
Today, a police CAPTAIN! robbed a psatry store at gunpoint. The vicitms couldn’t believe it later when they identified him at teh police station, the vicitim’s belongings were found in his posession.
As you see there are other very serious problems here, and far less funny.

FerFAL


Situation in USA

6 comments

Anonymous said…Ferfal,

Are you back in Argentina? Will you be posting your thoughts on your visit to USA?

Russell,

Being an exporting country does not mean you are wealthy. The key is whether you are exporting high quality ‘value added’ goods or raw materials. Most countries that export raw materials (even oil, except for a few like Saudi Arabia) are poor. It’s an export trap and has to do with things like currency valuations, foreign owneership of goods, foreign debt, etc.

May 26, 2010 6:33 AM

Yes, still in Texas. The situation here is pretty good in spite of the crisis but I’ve been told that most other States arent doing as well so its not a reflection of all US.
I was expecting a more degraded economy but Texas surprised me in that regard. It’s good that at least some States are doing better than others because that helps when you look at the complete picture. The country would be a wreck if every State had the unemployment California has, for example.
There’s still some changes of course, and as I said several times I think that the raise in crime will catch people by surprise th emost, they just wont see it coming.

I think its no coincidence that both myself and a friend witnesses crimes  (car robbed, bank robbery) at the same time while on the phone. The hotel clerk said that trucks were being carjacked when trucks stopped to have lunch too, apparently that didn’t happen as much before.

You are right about Argentine exportations, I was about to clarify that. Its not the same thing to export raw good like soy and other grains than actually producing goods of added value like technology or machinery. Even the gold exported by Argentina leaves a ridiculously amount of profit thanks to corruption, the profit going entirely to the foreign company that bought the rights under shady conditions. (Barrick Gold)

FerFAL


Argentinian Politician’s Proposal For New Anti-Plagiarism Law Plagiarizes Wikipedia‏

0 comments

http://techdirt.com/articles/20100514/0133339425.shtml

Argentinian Politician’s Proposal For New Anti-Plagiarism Law Plagiarizes Wikipedia

from the where’s-the-anti-irony-law dept

Britxardo alerts us to an amazingly ironic story coming out of Argentina. It seems that an elected politician there, Gerónimo Vargas Aignasse, has introduced some new legislation against plagiarism (Google translation of the original). It seems odd enough that he would be outlawing plagiarism (here in the US plagiarism is socially shunned, and could cost you your job, but isn’t against the law unless it also reaches the point of copyright infringement, which is different), and it’s made even worse by the fact that it looks like he’s confusing plagiarism with copyright infringement — noting in the explanation of the bill that “plagiarism” is harming the recording industry.

But that’s not the ironic part.

As unbelievable as it may seem, it appears that the text Vargas Aignasse used to explain the bill was plagiarized straight from Wikipedia (Google translation of the original). Seriously. And not just a little bit. The first three paragraphs of the Spanish Wikipedia page on plagiarism are identical to three paragraphs in the explanation of the bill.

Just to make sure someone didn’t do the opposite and take the text of the introduction and make it the Wikipedia page, I looked, and as I’m typing this, the Wikipedia page hasn’t been updated since April — and it looks like the bulk of that page has actually been in place for quite some time. The bill was introduced on May 6th.

It’s difficult to think of anything more ironic than introducing a bill that calls for “imprisonment from three to eight years” for plagiarism… that plagiarizes the explanation for that bill. It’s out and out plagiarism too. The three paragraphs look to be copied completely, and no effort is made to identify the source. It’s also a bit weird that the text from Wikipedia — which is basically just a definition of plagiarism — is being used as the explanation of the bill. Nowhere does it describe why it’s a problem or why it requires stringent jailtime. But, perhaps that’s something Vargas Aignasse can ponder while serving three to eight years in prison for violating the law he just introduced… with the law he just introduced.


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