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...a sweatshop of moxie

Sunday, March 12, 2006

All Or Nothing

I just read this article on the BBC website, about the changing economic face of Argentina:

A tale of two Argentinas

The point this article makes, and it's an important one to be sure, is that no matter how much Argentina is booming today, after disastrous years following the ouster of President De La Rua from office in 2001, that there is a dastardly underbelly of poverty that goes with the newfound economic muscle.

I was meaning to comment on the anti-globalisation "movements" in another, lengthier post but let me just mention in passing about this point, which leaps out at one, whenever we read a comment about "prosperity".

For certain people to whom Capitalism, free-markets, prosperity and upsurge of wealth by certain sectors is almost a creed of hate, there is no satisfying them.

The correspondent who wrote this article points to the Buenos Aries residents who are "well-dressed, confident - some would even say brash" the better to compare these people, who he subtly wants to make you think are arrogant (what, Argentinians arrogant? Never!), to the downtrodden masses left behind by these times of fat.

At one level, he is merely doing good work as an investigative reporter, by writing a piece on a very important flip-side of prosperity:

The fact that we as societies, should never ignore those who are not keeping up with this prosperity.

Well and good.

But that's not what his ultimate point is.

This is how he finishes this article:

"The reduction in poverty and the signs of recovery should of course be welcomed - but it is difficult to applaud too loudly with a barefoot child who should be in school trying to sell me another set of pencils I neither need nor want."

Now Argentina is not exactly the poster child of free-market Capitalism, with their government's tight control of prices such as supermarket goods, and though their economists understand that in the end, this is just a stop gap measure, which almost ruined Brazil before they truly opened their economy to market forces, it is still true that they are not a social democratic country, which has a substantial social safety net.

And for people who feel that free-markets, globalisation are more bad, than good, with only Socialism as a true system of equity, they cannot be happy with Argentina today.

Because for people who think this way, it's either all or nothing.

If Globalisation stroke Capitalism is not good for ALL, it's good for no one.

If 100 people are helped by free-markets, look at the tragedy of the 5 that are still in the same or worse destitution, than they were before its advent.

(Of course, the circular hypocritical argument that these people employ has to do with people being even worse off than before because without this prosperity, there would be no one to compare them to, since you only compare yourself off to those better off, not worse off or the same as you -- and you can't have prosperous people without economic advances)

It's only with the panacea of Socialism, presumably, that the world will truly reach a balance between the very rich and the very poor.

Never mind that for 200 years since the Industrial Revolution, the world has known only one true elevator of the poor -- education.

No, let me re-state this.

Rule of Law, education, and Capitalism are the only miracle cures for poverty, but as long as there are those who insist that nothing is a success, as long as there is one who suffers, this history lesson is for naught.


  • Without question, I feel what you've said is accurate. There's more I'd like to say but doubt it should be said here.
    I'll just stop saying that I agree, so far Capitalism and Freedom have created the best opportunity to thrive.

    By Blogger Paul, at Tue Mar 14, 12:59:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Hopefully, you'll not read my comment.
    I'll be off to comma school now.
    Please know that I meant to put a comma between stop and saying.
    It should be, I'll just stop, saying that I agree.
    That's better.

    By Blogger Paul, at Tue Mar 14, 05:52:00 pm GMT-5  

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