Argentina is on the brink of something profound, nationally, socially
and economically. Of course, it might always seem like that and it's
only my relatively recent attention to the Argentine news that (for me
at least) is creating this sense of anticipation.
The more I find out the more I get the feeling that the changes taking
place, particularly the Peron style renationalisation of local
industries and the recent senate defeat of the proposed agricultural
export duties signify the start of something profound. A country
brought to it's knees by economic collapse has recently enjoyed
consistent growth, re-calibrated its ambition and its economy and is
now poised to redefine itself. The political rhetoric is increasingly
talking about rebuilding Argentina, taking responsibility and about
regeneration - quite reminiscent of the Peron era.
My prediction is that this process will be painful, disruptive and
dramatic but ultimately positive. The timing is right. The global
economy is in crisis (apparently) and it's appropriate that the
ruthless application of free market based ideologies are challenged.
Renationalising Aerolineas Argentinas and the recent renationalisation
of the local water industries and the postal service are hopefully
just the start of widespread economic reform. Let's hope de Kirchner's
recent defeat over the agricultural policy doesn't derail her reform
Commentators can bleat on about the fact that the airline is hugely
unprofitable, a reality that even the market was unable to address.
Under private ownership surely profitability is the only objective
that matters. But as a national company the state can offer a more
than just profitability as a reason to maintain the airline. The
airline represents Argentina and Argentina is not just about profit in
the private sector.