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Comment: Completely different retirement schemes (Score 1) 294

by gwolf (#49718647) Attached to: The Solution To Argentina's Banking Problems Is To Go Cashless

In the USA, and for almost ten years already in Mexico as well, retirement plans are personal: You save the money for your retirement, usually through a banking branch devoted to long-term finances. And hope for the best.

The scheme we had in Mexico until 2007, and that Argentina enjoys, is largely different: It's solidary retirement. You pay your retirement basically as a tax, it happens automatically before your paycheck arrives to your hands. What retired people receive comes from the active workers' dues.

How much do you receive for retirement? A large percentage (IIRC ~80%) of the salary you got during your last three years of employment, multiplied by the accumulated inflation/devaluation.

FWIW, Argentina moved to individual retirement schemes in the 1990s, when they followed rigidly neoliberal schemes. Retirement funds plummeted at the 2002 crisis, and –to avoid all retired people from losing everything, plus working people's money to disappear as well– they went back to the solidary retirement scheme.

Comment: Re:Maybe people are not desperate (Score 1) 294

by gwolf (#49703909) Attached to: The Solution To Argentina's Banking Problems Is To Go Cashless

My Argentinian family has employed, for house cleaning duty, several people over the years — It's sadly common in Latin America. They have kept in touch with several of those people and their families. Many of their children have pursued higher education, and social mobility is something clearly possible in Argentina. Of course, social mobility also means you can go down — But being born in a poor family in the province does not mean your children will as well.

Here in Mexico it's sad and frankly depressing. Social mobility is close to nil; poverty and lack of opportunities are self-perpetuating. I know a couple of people who have managed to break the "curse" of their history, but it's really, really hard to come by.

Socioeconomic distances in Argentina are way shorter. There are rich and poor people, yes, but most rich people are not *that* much richer and secluded, there is much more social interaction, less ghettoization. That leads to a healthier society.

Comment: Re:Democracy (Score 1) 294

by gwolf (#49702629) Attached to: The Solution To Argentina's Banking Problems Is To Go Cashless

right! Maybe it's because the government is doing a good job (or at least, a not-bad-enough job) for people not to want to change them. Remember that Argentina is a really lively democracy, with people much more involved in politics than what I know in other countries. And that there are not only two or three parties, but a rich gradient of political viewpoints.

Comment: Re:Maybe people are not desperate (Score 1) 294

by gwolf (#49702041) Attached to: The Solution To Argentina's Banking Problems Is To Go Cashless

Wrong. My wife is from Paraná, Entre Ríos. They have pretty good 3G coverage there. I was for a couple of weeks in Rosario, Santa Fé, which has also great 3G coverage. Of course, Rosario is a big city, and Paraná is after all a central province capital... But it is clearly not just Buenos Aires.

Comment: Re:I'm Argentinian and you are wrong (Score 1) 294

by gwolf (#49701233) Attached to: The Solution To Argentina's Banking Problems Is To Go Cashless

The current Argentinian government has among the highest approval rates historically in their country. And everything points towards the same project winning this years' elections.

Argentinian economy fares way better and is way stabler than everything they had in most of our lifetimes. Until the early 1980s, the corrupt, inept, USA-backed military broke one of the strongest economies in the post-world-war era; in the 1980s, Alfonsín had to resign after having >1000% yearly deflation. During the 1990s, everything seemed rosy at first as Menem dollarized the economy pegging AR$1=US$1, but the cracks started to appear towards the end of his regime. In 2000-2002, everything crashed down, the currency deflated to a fourth of its value, and there were even provincial currencies because nobody believed in the peso (sounds familiar?)

Then, starting 2003, Nestor Kirchner narrowly won the presidency (24% vs 22% IIRC). He was a huge success at stopping chaos. Four year later, Cristina Fernández took over, nationalized several industries, invested in national development and started a weak currency control. She was overwhemingly reelected in 2011. And despite everything, Argentina looks healthier than it ever was. Life for my friends is not a panacea, but they have a GREAT social security system, state-run health care, universal coverage of MANY important social programs...

And of course, they will most probably elect their great government to continue for the next four years.

Comment: Re:Why do we keep getting these Argentinian Econom (Score 2) 294

by gwolf (#49701175) Attached to: The Solution To Argentina's Banking Problems Is To Go Cashless

Yes, you have a point — And specially in point #3. I live in Mexico, where few people can afford to buy a house as well. And there's a big difference favoring Argentina: The rental contracts. Legal rental contracts are always for two years or more, and with prices fixed in pesos (this means, you know how much you will pay for your rental two years from now). Although this won't allow you to buy a house, it does allow you to mid-term plan your finances better than in most of our continent.

Comment: Re:Democracy (Score 1) 294

by gwolf (#49701069) Attached to: The Solution To Argentina's Banking Problems Is To Go Cashless

Remember this is the third voted Argentinian government that implements this line of policies. Last election (2011) was won by an overwhelming 58% (which, in a real multi-party country, is a landmark to achieve — Kirchner's government won with slightly over 20%. There is a presidental election for this year, and everything points at a fourth mandate.

So, do you really think they are bad economically or desperate?

Comment: Maybe people are not desperate (Score 5, Interesting) 294

by gwolf (#49700967) Attached to: The Solution To Argentina's Banking Problems Is To Go Cashless

My wife is Argentinan, as well as all of her family, and a great deal of our friends. We live in Mexico, and travel to Argentina at least once a year.

The Argentinian exchange rate has dropped in the last year, although not as much as it happened 15 years ago — nor, by far, how it happened 30 years ago. And the local economy is far, far from hopeless— The standards of living in Argentina are quite high, most middle-class people travel outside the country regularly. As a Mexican travelling regularly to Argentina for the last five years, I have seen their life costs go from slightly cheaper to slightly more expensive — and today again slightly cheaper than ours.

My family has their savings partly in pesos, in local banks, and partly in US dollars, in the safe deposits in the bank — AFAICT, they don't have a dollarised bank account. And they have a very decent level of life. My in-laws, as an example, travelled last year one month in Europe, and came to visit for a month in Mexico, without compromising their finances.

This is the second post badmouthing Argentina in Slashdot in the past few weeks. I know I am answering with some (few) personal data points, but that's in the end how reality is: A huge collection of individual stories. And they are far from as dire as you portrait them.

Comment: Re:Disgusting. (Score 1) 686

by gwolf (#49537295) Attached to: Except For Millennials, Most Americans Dislike Snowden

Real change and progress in politics comes only as the old people die off and are replaced by the young. It's a slow process!

You know... There were great hopes raised in my parents' day, when the hippies threatened the anachronic values of a dying, obsolete social construct.

Young people are always more likely to embrace change, difference, to agree that the risk to be different is worth it, that the old corrupt system is not worth pursuing anymore. Then they grow up. Then, the old hippies become the dwellers of old age care homes, and are as reactionary as their grandparents were.

What the world *really* needs is a good Automatic Bicycle Sharpener.

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