Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Argentina may default

Posted by Charles II on November 23, 2012

Heather Stewart and Uki Goni, The Guardian:

Argentinian politicians and global debt campaigners have responded with fury to a US court judgment that risks plunging the country back into default.

Elliott Capital Management and Aurelius Capital Management, regarded as “vulture funds” by Buenos Aires, won a ruling in a New York court on Wednesday that could force Argentina to hand over $1.3bn (£816m) in repayments and interest to the tiny minority of bondholders who refused to sign up to a hard-fought writedown of its debts after the country defaulted in 2001.

[Separately]Argentina was brought to a virtual standstill on Tuesday by the first national strike against her presidency, organised by the same Peronist labour unions who were once her staunchest supporters.The country ground to a halt as labour leaders demanded wage hikes to offset a yearly inflation rate that independent economists estimate at a yearly 25%. The middle class had already taken to the streets earlier this month when a million protesters took to the streets in various cities across Argentina also protesting against high inflation, economic stagnation, corruption in government and the rising crime rate that seems to be accompanying the ailing economy.

It’s stuff like this that makes me pessimistic about the economy. The vultures have not been chastised, and people are beginning to say, Burn it down rather than heel to them.

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4 Responses to “Argentina may default”

  1. Stormcrow said

    The vultures have not been chastised, and people are beginning to say, Burn it down rather than heel to them.

    That’s a large part of the reason I did not vote for Obama two weeks ago. Plus the fact that he’s doubled down on nearly every single one of the Bush Administrations slash-and-burn forays into what remains of our civil rights. He has, in effect, regularized what Bush 43 did.

    I live in Washington, which under no circumstances whatsoever was liable to be a swing state, so I had the option of refusing to endorse Zero. Which I did, at no small expense in nausea, by voting for the Green Party candidates.

    Yeah, I know. 2000 and 2004 have taught all of us in possession of our wits that “Green” is an acronym for “Get Republicans Elected Every November”.

    But it was that, or sign my john hancock to Obama’s last 4 years. Beginning with the license to steal that he handed Wall Street and the banks.

    • Charles II said

      I’ve always said that people should be free to vote for whoever they like, Stormcrow, but to do so with an awareness of history.

      Obama was never a hero to me. But now I am reading Michael Hiltzik’s book on the New Deal, and I am realizing that FDR and Obama are much alike.

      FDR told people what they wanted to hear, he drew lines in the sand and walked away when they were crossed, he let his aides take blame, he favored indefensible conservative policies over far better alternatives, and he made major blunders. Additionally, he faced ruthless, entrenched interests who were happy to stoop to lobbying, bribery, or even violence to get their way. They often won. It was because the outside groups were so much more active than they are today that things came out as they did, with stronger labor laws, better retirement security, and so on.

      We think of the president as a general with a grand strategy, dispatching his troops in good order. In reality, he is the leader of one group in a grand scrum, able to press at one part of the battlefield at a time.

      What struck me when I listened to Jill Stein and Rocky Anderson in the alternative debates sponsored by Democracy Now that they did not have better answers to the big problems than Obama did. Yes, they said things that I found appealing, especially about the need for environmental responsibility and accountability for corporate crime. But they had not framed issues even as well as this poor, benighted blogger… and heaven knows you do not want me as president. Heaven help us if someone as decent and well-intentioned but as indecisive as Stein or Anderson ever becomes president. They’ll be eaten alive.

      I don’t think we’re going to solve the-big-problems-that-must-be-solved-now now. We’ll end up dealing with global warming then through suffering, chaos, authoritarianism, and a few solutions no one is talking about now, such as the idea of transporting sea water inland that I may have mentioned on this blog. We’ll survive the great folly of today not because of brilliant leaders, but because ordinary people are basically decent and creative.

      What we need out of our leaders is mostly not screwing it up too much more than is strictly necessary, while permitting people to hope for a better future. This, I think that Obama can accomplish. If we make him.

      • What struck me when I listened to Jill Stein and Rocky Anderson in the alternative debates sponsored by Democracy Now that they did not have better answers to the big problems than Obama did. Yes, they said things that I found appealing, especially about the need for environmental responsibility and accountability for corporate crime. But they had not framed issues even as well as this poor, benighted blogger… and heaven knows you do not want me as president. Heaven help us if someone as decent and well-intentioned but as indecisive as Stein or Anderson ever becomes president. They’ll be eaten alive.

        There is that strand of American far-left politics, particularly that influenced by a certain flavor of Neo-Marxist thought, that disdains participation in electoral politics because it’s believed that taking part in political processes validates and thus helps perpetuate the capitalist system, which they want to collapse so the workers will just rush into their arms and accept their leadership in the new worker’s paradise. (Needless to say, the people that most fervently believe this are precisely the sort of people who not only can’t talk to average Americans, but go out of their way to avoid them.)

      • Charles II said

        To be fair, think of Honduras. Having had their lawfully elected government overthrown and having suffered innumerable casualties from protesting the government that had been imposed on them, many chose not to participate. And they did manage to get a very small bit of recognition of their protest. We may not have heard it in this country, but it was heard in Latin America, and has contributed to the sense that Latin America needs an OAS without the USA.

        After Florida 2000, I have said that we are in an interregnum, a period when one cannot say that the system is democratic, but neither is it explicitly fascist. I believe that we should continue to try to prevent drift toward fascism, but I can understand why some people might believe that its hopeless to do so.

        True, there are some people, either because they’re comfortable enough or historically ignorant enough think that we have the luxury of protesting through disengagement. But I think that many of the people who are not voting sincerely believe it’s impossible to change things. Certainly living in a state like Alabama or Oklahoma can lead one to give up. An election like the last, when we did manage to elect some genuinely progressive candidates, gives one hope that we might yet rescue the US from terminal decline.

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