NPR Reports on Argentine Crisis (requires RealPlayer):

Who's to Blame?

Effects on Argentine Citizens

External Sources Favoring Position A:

Destroying Argentina by Vincent Valdmanis

The Argentine Crisis by Joseph Halevi

External Sources Favoring Position B:

Will Argentina's Crisis Destroy the Washington Consensus by David Hale

Also, see the reading packet for contributions from conservative think tanks (Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute).

S. J. Gabriel's Online works:

Ambiguous Capital: The Success of China's New Capitalists in the Township and Village Enterprises and Their Impact on the State Sector (part of the China essay series)

Fiscal & Monetary Policy in 1998 China: Riding the Crisis Tiger (part of the China essay series)

Class Analysis of the Iranian Revolution of 1979 (web essay)

Dreaming in Malaysia (web novel)

Crossing the Boundary (web novel)

To see full list:  Online Papers.


Argentina's Economic Crisis: Capitalism Falters in the Southern Cone  (Debate Position A)

Debate Position A (Argentina's economic crisis represents the failure of capitalism) vs Position B (Argentina did not reform sufficiently)

The following points may be of use to debaters on both sides.  Position A takes the position that Argentina is a model of capitalist reform and its failure represents a serious challenge to the orthodox position that capitalism is the best of all possible worlds.  Position B must counter this with an argument that Argentina is sui generis or, at least, not representative of capitalism.  Position A may benefit by replicating the arguments made against socialism (in countries such as Cuba, China, Hungary, etc.) that have attempted to use specific cases as models for the global failure of an economic system.  In this case, position A can argue that the same logic should be applied to capitalist failures.

What are the roots of Argentina's economic crisis?  Does it represent the problems with unbridled capitalism?  Is it a new poster nation for why the world needs an economic alternative to capitalism? What does this crisis in the real economy say about the crisis in orthodox economic theory (the neoclassical paradigm that continues to be taught as science in intro and intermediate-level courses)?

Argentina's capitalist economy was liberalized during the 1990s, along lines drawn by the IMF and applauded by the pro-capitalist (Hoover Institute/Chicago School) theorists.  These theorists and policy wonks are neoclassical theory fundamentalists, arguing for absolute faith in the ability of unbridled markets to solve all problems (in the long run?). In other words, Argentina's leadership did just about everything the pro-capitalist theorists said they should do to be prosperous and were rewarded with 40 billion US dollars in support.  But what was the result?  Argentina is three years into a deep recession, now has almost 20% unemployment, homelessness has doubled in the last four years, and more than 50% of the population is now below the poverty line.  And this in a country that was once one of the richest in the Western Hemisphere and that is still one of the richest countries in natural resources on the planet.  Why did capitalism fail in Argentina?

Argentina's currency board was linked to developing the free market.  The currency board represents an excellent example of pro-capitalist theory.  As Milton Friedman has argued in the past, the best approach to macroeconomic management is to take it out of the hands of bureaucrats.  The currency board did this.  The Chicago boys loved Argentina's currency board, until it failed.  Now they want to see the Argentine economy simply abandon the domestic currency (the peso) altogether and become victims of US neocolonialism by making the dollar the official currency.