Is Argentina a "Banana Republic"?


..that is what we in Austria call countries where there is no consistency in laws and you cannot trust your politicians.

See here the meaning of Banana Republic

There have been many examples (please add your examples in the comments) about bad politics in Argentina and I will list the ones that I have heard about through international media (mostly economist) here:

Current event: Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (the president) is working on a law to impose a new electronic tax on TV’s, Laptops, personal Computers, GPS Navigation Systems and phones if they are not produced in the south of Argentina. This will raise the VAT of such goods to 21% from previously 10.5% . Now the populist President calls things like laptops and computers luxury goods and this is the reason why she had proposed this law. The problem as I see it: A GPS system or a PC will never be produced in Argentina anyway. All that can and might happen is that they will be assembled in Argentina so the Argentinean companies will buy the usual components (GPS modules, computer chips, batteries, lcd screens etc…) from foreign companies and assemble them in Argentina. In my opinion two things will happen: Some people will build these assembling companies in the south of Argentina but not many. Reason being in a "Banana Republic" laws change quickly and there is no guarantee of investment. Imagine building a factory and then 1 year later the law which was responsible for you building the factory changes. Goods produced in Argentina will become more expensive as there is a lot less competition. The rich Argentinian consumers will still be able to afford computers and will mostly bring them from their holidays in Chile, Uruguay or the US but the poor will be pushed out and that is a real shame / no computer / no access to knowledge.

This is bad because there are foreign companies that have invested in Argentina and created good jobs there. The mostly Argentinean employees of these corporations will suffer. But it is worse because the general Argentinean consumer will suffer by paying higher prices for luxury goods (sic) – essential goods like a computer (!) It is hard enough for Argentineans to afford a computer right now.

While I did not find a international price comparison for Computers here is one for TV’s before the new tax


Lets hope the Argentinan MP’s don’t vote for this new “luxury tax”.

There is a Facebook cause which you can join and there are also blogs which have been created to speak about this issue: No Al Impuestazo tecnologico

This is my personal opinion about Argentinian politics. I like the people, the food and the country itsself but the politics are terrible. If you have an opinion I invite you to state it in the comments below. Feel free to comment in English or Spanish or even in German (I volunteer for translating the German 😉

6 thoughts on “Is Argentina a "Banana Republic"?

  1. Interesting post. I have to admit I pay very little attention to Argentine current events, probably in part because I find so much of what they do so frustrating! I mean seriously, have we not learned by now that rampant protectionism isn’t the way to go? And don’t they have more pressing economic and political issues than where their electronic goods are coming from? Issues like this, for example: – people are hoarding monedas!

    Also, I think that in your third bullet point and in the bold caption on your image you meant to write Argentina/Argentinean and instead wrote Chile/Chilean.

  2. Muy interesante el artículo, es interesante saber la cantidad de diferencias que pueden tener países tan cercanos y con tanta historia en común.
    A pesar de la innegable rivalidad que existe por defecto entre ambas naciones, a nivel social, es obvio que un parejo desarrollo de los países vecinos también nos beneficiaría.
    Y allá aún nos culpan por no haber estado de su lado durante la Guerra de las Malvinas…
    Bueno, espero que algún día ese país logre tener algo de la estabilidad política que gozamos acá.

    Btw, you put “technologico”, and it’s “tecnológico” 😉

  3. Zentaurus,
    thanks for your comment which I only just discovered. Excuse me for writing in English. While after learning Spanish for 1 year I feel comfortable speaking I don’t yet feel comfortable writing Spanish “in public” 😉

    * changed the term thanks

    I also hope that Argentina will improve and that many of the indifferences will reduce. While I only watch from the side line I believe a less populist president might be a good start. I will be visiting Buenos Aires next week and am really looking forward to it since I love Argentina

  4. André,
    first time here and I like it a lot. This is not the first post I read from you (I’ve already been through many) but it interests me in particular for the simple reason that I am Argentinean. The last 8 years I’ve been living abroad (Sweden and Germany) and I’ve been in Austria some times as well. Come to think of it, I work with many Austrians =)
    But I degress. I just wanted to say that I find your analysis spot on. I firmly (want to) believe that Argentina is a wonderful country, and even most of the individuals are, but as a nation we have sooo much to learn… =/
    @Zentaurus: before making such statements about who is blamed for what and by whom, try to think how you came to that conclusion and put yourself in the other side’s shoes. “Undeniable rivality” is, in my opinion, not undeniable at all, nor is “default”. I grew up being fed a lot of BS from books written by people with a VERY narrow view of things a VERY little grasp of history and good will. I would be thankful if you’d like to discuss these issues through e-mails or such. BTW, I voted no in the “Unfriendly Chileans…” post.

    1. @Martín:
      Justo ayer veía una película en la que hablaban de Argentina y tocaba, de alguna forma, este punto. ¿Has visto Martín Hache? Me resultó hasta chocante la forma en la que Martín se refería a su propio país, más allá del rechazo al concepto de patria y lo relacionado.
      Intento ponerme en los zapatos del otro, la empatía en estos casos me la tomo en serio, pero eso de culpar a Chile suena más como excusa que como razón histórica.
      El “por defecto” estaba en cursiva por algo, no creo que sea algo de que un niño chileno nace odiando a Argentina. Depende de muchos factores en el camino, desde la prensa hasta que conozca a un argentino y se hagan amigos y… todo depende.
      Todos los países latinoamericanos gozan de mucho potencial en muchas (muchísimas) formas. Al final el cómo las cosas se llevan a cabo hace la mayor diferencia entre uno y otro. No creo que eso sea una cuestión subjetiva.

      Una vez en mi blog escribí sobre esto y me he llevado bastantes malos ratos gracias a la gente de Internet.
      Una última cosa, hubiera preferido que escribieses en castellano, por lo menos la parte dirigida a mí.
      Mi correo lo podrás encontrar en menos de dos minutos de googleo.

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