Sunday, October 14, 2007

When Things Go South

Today I had lunch with my banker friend -- we'll call him M. M grew up in the Czech Republic and I was looking forward to picking his brain regarding the immigrant experience. I was also just happy to see him since we've not had much contact in the last year.

We met in downtown Santa Cruz at a little cafe. After being seated, we ordered brunch and quickly got right to the subject of my move to Argentina. M had lots of questions about my move to Argentina. He wanted to know the details of my real estate, the neighborhood, work, etc.. Soon we got to the real meat of the subject: Why Argentina? I imagine Argentina is a Banker's worst nightmare.

We talked about Argentina's recent past, the upcoming election, the IMF and a host of other things I really don't have any business talking about for lack of any real knowledge or understanding. Eventually, The conversation turned to worst case scenarios. What if there's a military take over? What if the government kicks out foreigners? What if Hugo turns the southern cone into commies?

Being from a former soviet block country, M knows a little something about the consequences of government instability, so I was all ears when he explained how quickly things can go south (punlicious, no). He walked me though his view of the conditions that can lead to a government collapse. The description was peppered with sighs, thoughtful pauses -- uncomfortable memories. He looked troubled.

Which Way Argentina?

I can't even begin to fake an answer to this question. I need to do more home work...

Brazil: A 'Test Case' for Continuation of Free-market Reforms in Latin America - Knowledge@Wharton:

What that poll shows is, across the board, a disillusionment with the sort of lofty, unrealistic claims or expectations that were promoted in the 1990s in the name of economic reform," states McDermott, who has advised governments in Latin America and Eastern Europe. "So what you see now is uncertainty about what to do. The figures show, in general, that people don't want to go back to the old ways but still don't know what it means to have privatization or democracy. They're not happy with most privatizations. But they don't want dictators. They don't really know how to improve the management of their democracies to get results.I wouldn't say there is a 'return to populism.' I think most economists and analysts use that phrase as a sort of jingoistic shorthand to say the Washington consensus isn't going well.

Technorati Tags: ,


google said...

so what was the outcome of your chat did you come to any conclusions?

Robert Evans said...

Nice nick, google.

The only conclusion I've reached is to jump, so to speak. We fly out late November.

In the mean time, I'm still doing my homework.

G.M. said...

Its hard to imagine things getting worse than they were in 2001. And there was no military coup. I dont think there is much danger of the military taking over..they are getting less and less resources and training from US. As to Chavez's potential influence, while I believe that they will continued to be allies..I think Argentina has too much ego to allow Chavez to become more than an economic partner and fellow US basher.