"La Parabola De La Argentina"
The Economist describe los “100 años de declive” de la Argentina

The Economist describe los “100 años de declive” de la Argentina
17/02/2014 | En su última edición, la revista británica analiza la situación política y económica del país. Habla de las instituciones, del peronismo, de la Corte Suprema y de Cristina Kirchner.

"Hace un siglo, cuando Harrods decidió crear su primer emporio en el extranjero, eligió Buenos Aires. En 1914 Argentina era el país del futuro. Su economía había crecido más rápido que la estadounidense en las cuatro décadas anteriores. Su PIB per cápita era mayor que el de Alemania, de Francia o Italia. Se jactó de ser una tierra maravillosamente fértil, con un clima soleado, una nueva democracia, una población educada y con el baile más erótico del mundo. Inmigrantes bailaban tango en todas partes. Para el joven y ambicioso, la elección entre Argentina y California era muy difícil”.

Así comienza el extenso artículo que dedica la revista The Economist al país bajo el título “La parábola de Argentina” (The parable of Argentina), con la foto de espaldas del astro del fútbol mundial, Lionel Messi, ilustrando la nota.

“Todavía hay muchas cosas para amar de Argentina”, continúa el artículo y afirma que “los argentinos siguen siendo quizás las personas más bellas del planeta. Pero el país es un desastre. Harrods cerró en 1998. Argentina está una vez más en el centro de una crisis de los mercados emergentes. Esto puede ser atribuido a la incompetencia de la presidenta, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, pero ella no es más que la última de una sucesión de populistas económicamente analfabetos, que se remonta a Juan y Eva ( Evita) Perón, y antes. Olvidate de competir con los alemanes. Los chilenos y uruguayos, que los propios argentinos suelen menospreciar, ahora son más ricos. Y a los niños de ambos países, y en Brasil y México también, les va mejor en las pruebas internacionales de educación”.

La revista realiza un repaso por los vaivenes de la economía de la Argentina y cómo fue afectada por la situación externa. “Ha tenido mala suerte, pero la mala suerte no es la único culpable. En su economía, su política y su poca predisposición a reformar, la decadencia de la Argentina ha sido en gran parte autoinfligida”.

También describe que “Argentina no construyó las instituciones necesarias para proteger su joven democracia de su ejército, por lo que el país se convirtió en propensa a los golpes de Estado”.

Resalta que “la decadencia de la Argentina fue seductoramente gradual. A pesar de los períodos terribles, como la década de 1970. A lo largo de su declive, los cafés de Buenos Aires siguieron sirviendo cafe ‘espressos’ y medialunas. Eso hace que su enfermedad sea especialmente peligrosa”.

Por último analiza que “la lección de la parábola de la Argentina es que un buen gobierno importa. Tal vez esto se aprendió. Pero lo más probable es que dentro de 100 años el mundo mirará hacia atrás a otra Argentina - un país del futuro que quedó atrapado en el pasado”.


El siguiente es el texto completo, en inglés, del artículo del semanario británico:



There are lessons for many governments from one country’s 100 years of decline

A CENTURY ago, when Harrods decided to set up its first overseas emporium, it chose Buenos Aires. In 1914 Argentina stood out as the country of the future. Its economy had grown faster than America’s over the previous four decades. Its GDP per head was higher than Germany’s, France’s or Italy’s. It boasted wonderfully fertile agricultural land, a sunny climate, a new democracy (universal male suffrage was introduced in 1912), an educated population and the world’s most erotic dance. Immigrants tangoed in from everywhere. For the young and ambitious, the choice between Argentina and California was a hard one.

There are still many things to love about Argentina, from the glorious wilds of Patagonia to the world’s best footballer, Lionel Messi. The Argentines remain perhaps the best-looking people on the planet. But their country is a wreck. Harrods closed in 1998. Argentina is once again at the centre of an emerging-market crisis. This one can be blamed on the incompetence of the president, Cristina Fernández, but she is merely the latest in a succession of economically illiterate populists, stretching back to Juan and Eva (Evita) Perón, and before. Forget about competing with the Germans. The Chileans and Uruguayans, the locals Argentines used to look down on, are now richer. Children from both those countries—and Brazil and Mexico too—do better in international education tests.

All through my wild days, my mad existence

As in any other country, Argentina’s story is unique. It has had bad luck. Its export-fuelled economy was battered by the protectionism of the interwar years. It relied too heavily on Britain as a trading partner. The Peróns were unusually seductive populists. Like most of Latin America, Argentina embraced the Washington consensus in favour of open markets and privatisation in the 1990s and it pegged the peso to the dollar. But the crunch, when it came in 2001, was particularly savage—and left the Argentines permanently suspicious of liberal reform.

Ill fortune is not the only culprit, though (see briefing). In its economy, its politics, and its reluctance to reform, Argentina’s decline has been largely self-inflicted.

Commodities, Argentina’s great strength in 1914, became a curse. A century ago the country was an early adopter of new technology—refrigeration of meat exports was the killer app of its day—but it never tried to add value to its food (even today, its cooking is based on taking the world’s best meat and burning it). The Peróns built a closed economy that protected its inefficient industries; Chile’s generals opened up in the 1970s and pulled ahead. Argentina’s protectionism has undermined Mercosur, the local trade pact. Ms Fernández’s government does not just impose tariffs on imports; it taxes farm exports.

Argentina did not build the institutions needed to protect its young democracy from its army, so the country became prone to coups. Unlike Australia, another commodity-rich country, Argentina did not develop strong political parties determined to build and share wealth: its politics was captured by the Peróns and focused on personalities and influence. Its Supreme Court has been repeatedly tampered with. Political interference has destroyed the credibility of its statistical office. Graft is endemic: the country ranks a shoddy 106th in Transparency International’s corruption index. Building institutions is a dull, slow business. Argentine leaders prefer the quick fix—of charismatic leaders, miracle tariffs and currency pegs, rather than, say, a thorough reform of the country’s schools.

They are not the solutions they promised to be

Argentina’s decline has been seductively gradual. Despite dreadful periods, such as the 1970s, it has suffered nothing as monumental as Mao or Stalin. Throughout its decline, the cafés of Buenos Aires have continued to serve espressos and medialunas. That makes its disease especially dangerous.

The rich world is not immune. California is in one of its stable phases, but it is not clear that it has quit its addiction to quick fixes through referendums, and its government still hobbles its private sector. On Europe’s southern fringe, both government and business have avoided reality with Argentine disdain. Italy’s petulant demand that rating agencies should take into account its “cultural wealth”, instead of looking too closely at its dodgy government finances, sounded like Ms Fernández. The European Union protects Spain or Greece from spiralling off into autarky. But what if the euro zone broke up?

The bigger danger, however, lies in the emerging world, where uninterrupted progress to prosperity is beginning to be seen as unstoppable. Too many countries have surged forward on commodity exports, but neglected their institutions. With China less hungry for raw materials, their weaknesses could be exposed just as Argentina’s was. Populism stalks many emerging countries: constitutions are being stretched. Overreliant on oil and gas, ruled by kleptocrats and equipped with a dangerously high self-regard, Russia ticks many boxes. But even Brazil has flirted with economic nationalism, while, in Turkey, the autocratic Recep Tayyip Erdogan is blending Evita with Islam. In too many parts of emerging Asia, including China and India, crony capitalism remains the order of the day. Inequality is feeding the same anger that produced the Peróns.

The lesson from the parable of Argentina is that good government matters. Perhaps it has been learned. But the chances are that in 100 years’ time the world will look back at another Argentina—a country of the future that got stuck in the past.

Autor: Red Box Multimedia