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Argentina 1914 (II)

发表于 6-26-2014 17:13:10 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
The tragedy of Argentina | A Century of Decline; One hundred years ago Argentina was the future. What went wrong? Economist, Feb 15, 2014.
www.economist.com/news/briefing/ ... ong-century-decline

My comment:
(a) This article is supposed to give details of Argentina’s failings. But do people care?  Success has many fathers but failure is an orphan. There is no need to read the rest, except quotations here.
(b) “As the couriers [for money exchangers] carry their bundles [currencies] around Buenos Aires, they pass grand buildings like the Teatro Colón, an opera house that opened in 1908, and the Retiro railway station, completed in 1915. These are emblems of Argentina’s Belle Époque, the period before the outbreak of the first world war when the country could claim to be the world’s true land of opportunity. In the 43 years leading up to 1914, GDP had grown at an annual rate of 6%, the fastest recorded in the world. The country was a magnet for European immigrants, who flocked to find work on the fertile pampas, where crops and cattle were propelling Argentina’s expansion. In 1914 half of Buenos Aires’s population was foreign-born. The country ranked among the ten richest in the world, after the likes of Australia, Britain and the United States, but ahead of France, Germany and Italy. * * * From this vantage point, it looked down its nose at its neighbours: Brazil’s population was less than a quarter as well-off.”
(i) Belle Époque
(French for "Beautiful Era"/ was a period in French and Belgian history that is conventionally dated as starting in 1871 and ending when World War I began in 1914)
(ii) As an adjective, “belle” is the feminine form of beau (adj).

(c) “Although Argentina has had periods of robust growth in the past century—not least during the commodity boom of the past ten years—and its people remain wealthier than most Latin Americans, its standing as one of the world’s most vibrant economies is a distant memory. * * * [in income per head] it trails Chile and Uruguay in its own back yard.”
(i) “commodity boom of the past ten years”

It is not very long. like into a century ago.
(ii) Still, argentina’s GDP (not per capita GDP) is the third largest in Latin America, after Brazil and Mexico (in that order).
list of Latin American and Caribbean countries by GDP (PPP)

(d) “‘Only people this sophisticated could create a mess this big,’ runs a Brazilian joke that plays on Argentines’ enduring sense of being special.”
(e) “The country’s dramatic decline has long puzzled economists. Simon Kuznets, a Nobel laureate, is supposed to have remarked: ‘There are four kinds of countries in the world: developed countries, undeveloped countries, Japan and Argentina.’ Other countries have since managed to copy Japan’s rapid industrialisation; Argentina remains in a class of its own. There is no shortage of candidates for the moment when the country started to go wrong. There was the shock of the first world war and the Depression to an open trading economy; or the coup of 1930; or Argentina’s neutrality in the second world war, which put it at odds with America, the new superpower. There was the rise of Juan Domingo Perón, the towering figure of 20th-century Argentina, who took power in 1946. Others reckon that things really went downhill between 1975 and 1990. No one theory solves the puzzle. ‘If a guy has been hit by 700,000 bullets it’s hard to work out which one of them killed him,’ says Rafael di Tella, who has co-edited a forthcoming book on Argentina’s decline. But three deep-lying explanations help to illuminate the country’s diminishment. Firstly, Argentina may have been rich 100 years ago but it was not modern. That made adjustment hard when external shocks hit.
(i) Alan Beattie, When is a Bric not a Bric? When it’s a Victim. Financial Times (FT), Jan 22, 2011

the first two paragraphs:

“Things used to be so simple. Back in the 1960s Simon Kuznets, the great scholar who more or less invented the discipline of development economics, used to tell students there were four sorts of countries: underdeveloped, developed, Japan and Argentina.

“At the time, Japan was rapidly hauling itself from the first category to the second, while Argentina was apparently attempting the unorthodox manoeuvre of climbing from the third world to the first and then falling back again.
(ii) There is no need to read the rest of this FT report.

(f) “Take each in turn. The first explanation is that Argentina was rich in 1914 because of commodities; its industrial base was only weakly developed. Filipe Campante and Edward Glaeser of Harvard University compared Buenos Aires before the first world war with Chicago, another great shipment hub for meat and grains. They found that whereas literacy rates stood at 95% in Chicago in 1895, less than three-quarters of porteños, as residents of Buenos Aires are known, knew how to read and write. * * * Railways transformed the economics of agriculture and refrigerated shipping made it possible to export meat on an unprecedented scale: between 1900 and 1916 Argentine exports of frozen beef rose from 26,000 tonnes to 411,000 tonnes a year.”

Spanish English dictionary
(i) porteño (noun or adjective masculine, changed to ~a for a female):
“A person native to or inhabiting the port town [especially] of Buenos Aires”
(ii) puerto (noun masculine; together with English noun port, derived from Latin portus harbor): “port, harbor”

(g) “But Argentina mainly consumed technology from abroad rather than inventing its own. * * * Argentina’s golden age was largely foreign-funded. Half of the country’s capital stock was in foreign hands in 1913 * * * Argentina [more than a century ago] had become rich by making a triple bet on agriculture, open markets [to sell agricultural products] and Britain, then the world’s pre-eminent power and its biggest trading partner. If that bet turned sour, it would require a severe adjustment. External shocks duly materialised * * * The first world war delivered the initial blow to trade. It also put a lasting dent in levels of investment. In a foreshadowing of the 2007-08 global financial crisis, foreign capital headed for home and local banks struggled to fill the gap.”

(h) two more quotations:
(i) “The pampas were divided up less equally than farmland in places like the United States or Australia: the incomes of the richest 1% of Argentines were strongly correlated with the exports of crops and livestock.
(ii) “The country’s Vaca Muerta (‘Dead Cow’) shale-oil and gasfield is estimated to be the world’s third-largest.”
(A) Spanish English dictionary
* vaca (noun feminine; Latin vacca): “cow”
* muerto (adjective masculine; Latin Mortuus): “dead”
* muerto (noun masculine): “a dead person”
(B) “The name Vaca Muerta comes from the fact that an old cattle trail crossed the strewnfield, and many dry skeletons of cows are scattered along the trail. The cattle came from the valleys of Salta and Jujuy, north Argentina, distant -approximately- 700 miles across the Andes.”
* This is not written by a English native speaker--the Web page comes from Chile.
* strewn field (n): “an area in which tektites are found”  www.m-w.com (the unabridged edition)
* tektite
(from Greek tēktos "molten"/ natural glass that are formed from terrestrial debris ejected during extraterrestrial impacts)
(C) Vaca Muerta
(The large oil discovery in the Vaca Muerta Formation was made in 2010 by the former Repsol-YPF [a joint venture of Repsol of Spain and YPF of Argentina, where YPF is the Spanish acronym], which announced the discovery in May 2011)

Then Argentina nationalized the company (without offering a dime to compensate) and kicked out Repsol. Repsol (a multinational based in Madrid; not a state-owned enterprise) cried out but got no help (though both EU and US condemned Argentina). On Feb 25, 2014 Repsol and Argentina agreed to settle: Repsol to receive $5 billion though Repsol had rejected Argentina’s proposal of the same amount and sued for $10.5 billion.

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