In the last weeks, there has been a series of relevant discussions about economic policy in Argentina. The reason: the massive lock out of the countryside against the rise of export retentions, particularly in the soybean market. During almost three weeks, groups linked to agricultural exports closed the roads and stopped the passing of trucks carrying grains and, in many cases, milk and other food products, which created an important shortage of food in the cities.
Retentions are taxes collected from the exports of certain products, to provide more resources to the State, but also to lower the impact of the international prices’ increase in the local market. Adding to this, since 2002 the Argentinean State insists on a policy of maintaining a high dollar value to make exports competitive. But to keep this exchange rate – that favors farms, industry and tourism, among others- important fiscal resources are needed.
In this context, a type of blog acquired a sudden popularity: those written by economists. Many of us didn't even know they existed, but the need for better information about the conflict between the countryside and the government have turned them into a very good source of information, epecially when facing the poor coverage of the media, plagued with generalizations and common sense statements from both sides.
Homo Economicus [es] is a group blog, but most of the entries are dedicated to the topic of the countryside and were indicated that they were written by Tavos, an economist that prefers to keep a pseudonym. Among its entries, the blog mostly focuses on pointing out the weakness of the arguments of those who favor the countrymen's measures. In an entry called “La rentabilidad del agro” he analyzes how those in the countryside are making even more money than they were in 2007, even with higher retentions. And, inspired in Arturo Jaurteche [es], he analyzed the “nonsense” that was repeated by some people in favor of those who closed the routes.
On the other side, at Economista Serial Crónico [es] they summarized the main reasons by which arguments against the countryside were not well sustained
Los Tres Chiflados [es] is another group blog, but in this case, with higher effective participation. And part of this plurality has become in reading entries where there are very different postures, be it against the countryside [es]
Parece que se creen dueño del país, o por lo menos de las rutas. Los últimos 20 días toda persona perdió la libertad de transitar con lo que quiera y por donde quiera por el país.
It appears that they think they own the country, or at least the roads. During the last 20 days, everyone lost the freedom for free transit with whom they want and wherever they want in the country.
Un discurso y una practican política que es la misma que mantiene hoy la Presidenta y que puso en práctica durante esta grave crisis que afecto al país. Una acción que usa a los piqueteros como fuerza de choque violento, y la violencia de las palabras desde el pulpito presidencial para fulminar opositores, disidentes, periodistas y más recientemente, humildes pero prestigiosos artistas como Sabat.
Rhetoric and politics that are the same that the President maintains and puts into practice during this heavy crisis that affected the country. It is an action that uses the “piqueteros” (members of a social movement) as a violent confrontational group and the violence of rhetoric from the presidential pulpit to attack the opposition, dissidents, journalists, and recently, humble, but prestigious artists like Sabat.
Photo by Quique Mendizabal and used under a Creative Commons license.
While the big topic in the last weeks in blogs about economy was the conflict between the countryside and the government on the retentions issue, in many of them there are entries dedicated to specific theoretical matters and other discussions. The overview gives a surprisingly great variety and vitality, so you'll have plenty of options. To list some of them, you can check blogs such as Controversias del Capital [es]; Mide / No Mide [es]; Exabruptos de Miguel Olivera; Ramble Tamble [es]; La ciencia maldita [es]; Abuelo Económico [es]; Trade and Me [es]; Finanzas Públicas [es]; y El lobo estepario [es].