Argentina, the poster child for why neo-liberalism doesn’t work
Argentina has 50% unemployment now. Workers have taken over and are successfully running factories that were abandoned by their owners. Whole new barter systems and neighborhood councils are emerging to fill the void left by an economy on life support and a government that is ineffective at best.
An economy on life support? Didn’t Argentina used to be the poster child for neo-liberalism? It sure did. You know the theory. Privatize everything and the miracle of the marketplace will shower prosperity on everyone. (Sounds like a religion, doesn’t it?).
Argentina tried all that, and for a few years it looked like it was working. Of course to strengthen the economy, as the peso was pegged to the dollar, they had to borrow huge sums of money from the IMF and World Bank. Then the strong peso meant that exports plunged because the rest of South America wasn’t pegged to the dollar and couldn’t afford their expensive exports. Then came hyper inflation and chaos, which has continued to the present. Now Argentina can’t afford the interest on the loans, much less pay off the principal.
The World Bank and IMO, in effect, tell the Argentinian government what laws they can pass. Should a law they don’t like somehow pass, whoops, up go the interest rates, and have some more misery, Argentina.
Right now, thanks to the miracles of neo-liberalism, Argentina, as mentioned, has 50% unemployment. The middle class is vanishing. Former doctors and professionals are driving cabs and rooting through trash looking for cardboard to get enough money for food. The hopeful sign is that many are joining together, organizing when and where they can, forming their own extra-governments.
And in one of the factories taken over by workers, in this case by 55 women, the government just moved in to evict them and thousands of people from all walks of life turned out in the streets near the factory in support.
All this from Daniel Morduchowicz, an Argentinian and photographer living in Los Angeles,who spoke tonight at an International Action Center meeting tonight.
Check out his website, Cronopios, his work is superb…