« Cablevision Swooning Because of Subscriber Shinkage | Main | Webmonkey Argues for Adherence to Web Standards to Keep Costs Down »

Economic Collapse in Argentina Grinds On

Over the past few days, a number of stories have appeared that confirm that the economic decline in Argentina has not yet ended. WNET, the Public Broadcasting System affiliate in New York, ran an episode of its Wide Angle series last night called The Empty ATM. It's about the plight of middle class people in the urban parts of Argentina, and it brings home the fact that this South American country is experiencing an economic crisis that is reminiscent of the Great Depression. The show will be run on many PBS stations across the country in the next few days.

Another piece of information on Argentina appeared in The Washington Post on Tuesday. Despair in Once Proud Argentina talks more about life outside the area surrounding Buenos Aires. In many places like Rosario, there are huge shantytowns "boiling over with refugees from the financial collapse". The situation becomes worse in rural areas. According to the article, "In the province of Tucuman, an agricultural zone of 1.3 million people, health workers say cases of malnutrition have risen 20 percent to 30 percent over the previous year." (Credit for pointing out this story goes to Camworld.)

The difficulty that we had in watching The Empty ATM is that it does not even attempt to explain two critical elements of the financial crisis in Argentina:

  • the original rationale behind the 1:1 peg between the Argentine Peso and the US Dollar, and
  • the escalating deficit spending that was taking place at all levels of government leading up to the initial Argentine Peso devaluation.

The documentary does talk about the futility of attempting to maintain the peg after the Brazilian Real devaluation that occurred in 1999, but this cannot be placed in proper context without discussing either of the aforementioned events. As a result, it is easy to conclude that the International Monetary Fund and the United States Government played a larger role in destroying the Argentine economy than they actually did.

We feel that the program could not do justice to these topics and cover the present situation in the 50 minutes it alloted to the documentary itself.

In our view, the flawed presentation of the Real devaluation is a significant mistake in an otherwise promising program. The documentary provides good insight into the plight of middle class Argentines. One could argue that documenting the Argentine reality TV show in such detail is over the top, but it certainly helps Americans new to the situation understand the depth of the plight for most in the Argentine middle class.

On a visceral level, The Empty ATM is likely to be riveting to people who visited Argentina within the last 10 years. Buenos Aires looks the same in some film clips, but in others, it looks like scenes from a science fiction movie.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


CTDATA Venutures (CTDATA) develops Internet and Intranet applications for corporations and non profit organizations. Our services include:

  • Consulting services for Movable Type and TypePad-based publishing systems (visit our Weblog Improvement website for more information),
  • Financial services business process consulting,
  • Content management system and knowledge management system consulting,
  • Apache web server engineering and hosting,
  • MySQL, Sybase, and Microsoft SQL Server architecture and development,
  • SOAP, REST, and XML-RPC system architecture and programming, including Amazon Web Services and
  • Weblog publishing.
For more information, contact Dave Aiello by email at dave [at] daveaiello.com or call him at +1-267-352-4420.
Copyright © 1995-2010, CTDATA Ventures. All Rights Reserved.
Powered by
Movable Type 4.25