macrohistory & world report


Map of Argentina

Argentina (capital Buenos Aires) and neighboring states

World Factbook as of November 2014: Argentina benefits from rich natural resources, a highly literate population, an export-oriented agricultural sector, and a diversified industrial base. Although one of the world's wealthiest countries 100 years ago, Argentina suffered during most of the 20th century from recurring economic crises, persistent fiscal and current account deficits, high inflation, mounting external debt, and capital flight. A severe depression, growing public and external indebtedness, and an unprecedented bank run culminated in 2001 in the most serious economic, social, and political crisis in the country's turbulent history... Cristina FERNANDEZ DE KIRCHNER succeeded her husband as President in late 2007, and the rapid economic growth of previous years began to slow sharply the following year as government policies held back exports and the world economy fell into recession. The economy in 2010 rebounded strongly from the 2009 recession, but has slowed since late 2011 even as the government continued to rely on expansionary fiscal and monetary policies, which have kept inflation in the double digits. The government expanded state intervention in the economy throughout 2012. In May 2012 the Congress approved the nationalization of the oil company YPF from Spain's Repsol. The government expanded formal and informal measures to restrict imports during the year, including a requirement for pre-registration and pre-approval of all imports. In July 2012 the government also further tightened currency controls in an effort to bolster foreign reserves and stem capital flight. During 2013, the government continued with a mix expansionary fiscal and monetary policies and foreign exchange and imports controls to limit the drain in Central Bank foreign reserves, which nevertheless dropped US $12 billion during the year. GDP grew 3% and inflation remained steady at 25%, according to private estimates. In October 2013, the government settled long-standing international arbitral disputes (including with three US firms) dating back to before and following the 2002 Argentine financial crisis. In early 2014, the government embraced a series of more orthodox economic policies. It devalued the peso 20%, substantially tightened monetary and fiscal policies, and took measures to mend ties with the international financial community, including: engaging with the IMF to improve its economic data reporting, reaching a compensation agreement with Repsol for the expropriation of YPF, and presenting a proposal to pay its arrears to the Paris Club."

Economic growth rate
2012: 1.9%
2011: 8%
2010: 9.2%
2009: 0.8%

Labor force in agriculture
2011: 10%

Unemployment rate
2012: 7.2%
2 011: 7.2%
2010: 7.8%

Export/import ratio
2011: 116.7% favorable in cash value
2010: 129% favorable

Export commondities
Soybeans and derivatives, petroleum and gas, vehicles, corn, wheat (What happened to beef? Foot & Mouth Disease smashed Argentine exports.)

Argentina produces about twice as much oil as it consumes. It exports other fuels, feed, edible oils, cars, cereals.

Income distributionamong families – GINI index
Ranks 37th among 140 countries (lower rank number is less equal). Less equal than Britain, which ranks 94th, and the US, which ranks 45th.

Health expenditures
2009: 7.8% of GDP

Persons per square kilometers estimated in 2005: 14.3, compared to 187 for Switzerland.

Military expenditures as a percentage of GDP
2005: 1.3%


Living in an urban area
2010: 92%

World Factbook (2011): nominally Roman Catholic 92% (less than 20% practicing), Protestant 2%, Jewish 2%, other 4%


South America


The president is both chief of state and head of the government. The president and vice president are elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms and eligible for a second term. Capital: Buenos Aires, pronounced EYEres, not AIRes.;

Recent History

Independence from Spain: July 9, 1816.

A military dictatorship began ruling in 1976. Democracy returned in 1983.

In 2001, in response to its economic crisis, the Argentine government defaulted its foreign debt – the largest such default in history according to the World Factbook. There was a recession.

The economy recovered in 2003 with a good amount of exports. Workers took over a few factories abandoned by the owners, to "restart the silent machines," and created worker-cooperatives – to be contested by former owners. New investment came from Argentines who were either bringing their money home from abroad or from under their mattresses. More money was coming into the country than leaving it. The economy grew 9 percent annually for five years – a great rebound. China began investing in Argentina.

In 2010 Argentinians are buying more from abroad again than they are selling. And the government is working on settling with those upon whom it defaulted, in order to regain a good standing with the bond investment community and win back more international investment. Former investors will end up with a percentage of their original investment but big losers in that their money will have produced a loss over almost a decade. Meanwhile, worker-cooperatives – numbering around 200 in the year 2005, are being celebrated by some on the political left.


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