Letter from Buenos Aires
Published: March 2002
“IMF criminals!” cry the antiglobalists in the wake of Argentina’s descent into
chaos. But the real crime of Argentina’s last ten years was its own supineness in tying its fortunes for so long to the economy of an indifferent superpower, and allowing itself to become the plaything of international bondholders. There are two bogeymen here: a hubristic and arrogant political class which never felt the need to explain to the population the Faustian nature of the dollar peg; and the international credit rating agencies which called Argentina a basket case and sent the cost of its debt soaring, when both its fiscal deficit and its debt ratio were within the limits for entry into the eurozone.