THE turquoise paint is peeling from the walls of Claudia Veronica Genovis's modest home. Her roof leaks, but she and her husband - both office cleaners - cannot afford to patch it.

On the ragged streets of the shanty-town across the road, where stinking outhouses it alongside shacks fashioned from corroded sheets of tin, families have surrendered hope that sewage lines will ever reach them.

They do not struggle to fashion an explanation for their declining fortunes : Since taking office more than three years ago, President Mauricio Macri has broken with the budget-busting populism that had dominated Argentina for much of the past century, embracing the grim arithmetic of economic orthodoxy.

Mr. Macri has slashed subsidies for electricity, fuel and transportation, causing prices to skyrocket, and recently prompting Ms. Genovesi, 48, to cut off her gas service, rendering her stove lifeless.

Like most of her neighbors, she illegally taps into the power lines that run along the rutted dirt streets.

''It's a neoliberal government,'' she said. ''It's a government that does not favor the people.''

The tribulations playing out under the disintegrating roofs of the poor are a predictable dimension of  Macri's  turn away from left-wing populism.

He vowed to shrink Argentina's monumental deficits by diminishing the largess of the state. The trouble is that Argentines have yet to collect on the other element the president promised : the economic revival that was supposed to follow the pain.

Mr. Macri's supporters heralded his 2015 election as a miraculous outbreak of normalcy in a country with well earned reputation for histrionics.

He would cease the reckless spending that had brought Argentina infamy for defaulting on its debt eight times. Sober minded austerity would win the trust of  international financiers, bringing investment that would yield jobs and fresh opportunities.

But as Mr. Macri seeks re-election this year. Argentines increasingly lament that they are experiencing all strife and no progress.

Even businesses that have benefited from his overhaul say that he has botched the execution, leaving the nation to confront the same concoction of misery that has plagued it for decades.

The economy is contracting,. Inflation is running above 50 percent., and the unemployment rate is stuck above 9 percent. Poverty afflicts a third of the population, and the figure is climbing.

Far beyond this country of 44 million people, Mr. Macri's tenure is testing ideas that will shape economic policy in an age of recrimination over widening inequality.

His presidency was supposed to offer an escape from the wreckage of profligate spending while laying down as alternative path for countries grappling with the global rise of populism.

Now, his presidency threatens to become a gateway back to populism.

The honor and serving of the latest global operational research on Argentina, Poverty and Economic miseries, continues. The world Students Society thanks author, Peter S. Goodman.


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!