Unexpected side effects

As I've said in the past, I'm determined to learn as much about Argentina as I can before I go. Although I've read a fair amount of travel books and some history I'm finding myself constantly drawn to the same themes, economics and social policy. It's great fun. I'm not an economist and so am finding it quite a challenge to really get under the skin of Argentina's recent economic history. My understanding is also (unashamedly) skewed by my own bias.

With all these things, the actual situation is complex and there are no crib sheets or quick guides that will explain what happened and what is happening. Inevitably in the globalised world we live in, the major influences are beyond Argentina's borders and with that comes a need to understand a much wider international picture. Today alone I learned about the Washington Consensus and The Paris Club.

The Paris Club is an informal group of financiers from the world's richest countries who effectively manage and "assist" with third world debt. Permanent member are : Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It is with the Paris Club that the restructuring of Argentina's international debt had to be negotiated.

The Washington Consensus is a term coined to describe a common set of 10 economic policy prescriptions bundled as a "standard" reform package for developing countries in crisis by the IMF, World Bank and The US Treasury Department. The Washington Consensus and the implementation of the policies has often been blamed for the economic crisis in Argentina in 2001. Plus a whole host of other things such as the peso-dollar pegging that led to an overinflated currency etc.

My most recent fascination has been with Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. I'd always imagined (from my limited knowledge) that she and her husband were fairly left wing socially responsible leaders. A couple of comments on the blogs I read have recently forced me to question my assumptions about the President and it is that which is forcing me to engage with their legacy and policies on a deeper level. If anyone knows of any good sites or references that might help with my understanding of the current situation, please let me know.

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