Fernando – thought you might be interested in the Casey Research viewpoint on Argentina below….
What is your opinion?
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 YouIn 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.
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.”
“But your question, a good one, is more about the politics of the country.”
“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. “
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.
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
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Are you back in Argentina? Will you be posting your thoughts on your visit to USA?
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.
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)
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.
I just found your site on the I-net. I’m moving to the southern Salta Province area. I want to be in a fairly benign area when the World Wide SHTF, far from big cities, and out of the northern hemisphere. NW Argentina is my pick. I may have some friends leave the U S and join me in Argentina once I get established.
I’m 63 (look 43), in excellent physical condition (organic type), an ex Nam vet (TET offensive action 67-68), skilled in self defense, weapons, construction, mechanical, general survival, etc. I have seen and dealt with some seriously bad shit in my worldly travels, survived it all (some skill and a lot of luck), and realize that most people don’t quite get it. I’m one of the few that walks the talk. Like you said in your posts, be prepared, don’t act or look like a victim (I definitely don’t look like one), and if someone attempts to make you one be able to defend yourself.
I’ve worked construction (management and inspection of big projects in later years) in the U S and Asia and traveled to much of the rest of the world. I have been to every Latin country and have worked as an electrician on drilling rigs in several countries in S. America. I lived temporarily in Quito, Ecuador. I have been back in the States for 11 years and am ready to retire (or semi-retire) in Argentina. I will be getting my residency established before leaving around the 1st part of August. I used to be nearly fluent in Spanish back then and it won’t take much time to be back into it.
I just started reading the posts in your website. I have lots of questions. Most of the chat rooms and other sites don’t seem to be of my mind set. Yours is.
I enjoyed the video of conditions in Bs As. I was there before the collapse and it was thriving but expensive. They were modernizing the capitol building at that time. It was a bit of a shock to see Argentina collapse like it did. I was living in Quito when it was going down. Wow, it seemed like it happened overnight. Most areas of the city were safe to go to anytime and then it was very dangerous to be out at night anywhere, especially alone. I see a lot of indicators that the U S is heading in the same direction. Lots of blame to go around. Ignorance is one’s worst enemy. I’ve made lots of mistakes but chalk it all up to experience. Pick up the pieces and move forward (or retreat if conditions require).
I can’t seem to find the cost of a new 4×4. I have a 2007 Toyota 4×4 quad cab now and a Dodge 2500 4×4 quad cab long bed diesel. I would like to send them down there but the costs?, hassles?, and what about the import duty (who establishes the value)? Most sites recommend buying there. What would an equivalent to the Toyota truck cost?
I’m looking forward to hunting there. How many guns can one import? The info I have found says you need papers, receipts? Some of these I have had for 40 years and don’t have any paperwork, especially my old Ruger M77 .270. It appears also that you can’t bring ammo. It must be expensive. I have reloading equipment. Any problem with bringing that? and components? I may just have to cash everything out here and buy there.
I’m not a rich guy, having lost a lot in the market and other bad investments. I have gold eagles that I pulled out of my IRA that I will declare (1099 submitted to the IRS upon withdrawal, I have to pay taxes on these) on my way out of the U S and would like to bring with me. I also have various forms of silver which may be too heavy to bring. I have read that customs agents at the arrival airport (Bs As and on to Salta) will call their ‘friend’ and unburden you of your valuables and cash before you reach your destination. Are there other hassles? What would you recommend for secure ways to deal with this? It has been recommended not to ship it. Maybe I’ll have to cash out and use another means, but I would like to hold on to the gold for awhile as I think it is ready to go to the moon.
I plan on renting until I find the right place to buy. No hurry, taking my time to find a good deal. Cafayate is high on my list.
Thanks for your great website.
For Argentine prices in general, use mercadolibre.com.ar. A Toyota Hilux (that’s what you want to buy) costs 26.000 USD , that’s used, 2006 in good condition. You can find one cheaper but usually beaten around a lot. Expensive? Yes. One of the many reasons why I don’t want to live here. Importing might be an option. Its still expensive but might work. Just make sure it’s a car that has commonly available parts in Argentina. Another option would be buying a used US car with high resale value in Argentina (BMW, Audi, Mercedez Benz) selling it here and buying your Hilux.
Food will be cheaper in Salta, but other than that be ready to spend between 25 %–50% more than you’ve been told. Oh, by the way, if you’ve been reading Doug Casey, let me be the first one to tell you he’s full of crap and down right lying to make money with expats.
If you’ve already been living in Salta for some weeks, then that’s a different story and I guess you know what you’re getting into.
Its beautiful, but its also the middle of nowhere province in a middle of nowhere country. May sound good to some people, but that’s until you need a doctor that does more than stitch cuts… or until you pay 4 times what you’d pay in USA for a TV, new fridge, or just about anything that isn’t produced locally .
You can import 2 long guns and 1 handgun per year ,but you can buy guns here once you get your residency. Guns are usually x2 as expensive compared to USA, make that x3 if buying in Salta, same for ammo and reloading supplies. By the way, reloading equipment has to be registered like guns, so no importing that until you are a legal resident. For everything gun related in argentina ,google “RENAR Argentina ” and go to their website, its in English as well.
Don’t bring much gold, just a few pieces you can carry discretely on you. Other than that just get a international ATM card (that uses Maestro & Cirus) Then you can buy gold again. Again, it will be more expensive in Salta.
I’d seriously advice you to first visit for a month or two. Maybe rent for year after that. There’s a reason why most people run away from the poor northern provinces and move to Bs As: Poverty, very harsh climate, lack of job opportunities and general lack of everything that isn’t produced locally.