Today, Argentina is arguably revered as the second largest economy in South America, after Brazil, and even considered as a considerable economic power in the world. That economy has been measured and weighed heftily, mainly due to a transformation of the political system that governs it. Up until 1983, the country was headed by a succession of military regimes, a state of affairs resulting in the economy being brought under the control of the state. Democracy was restored, but economic problems plagued early presidential terms. In the early 1990’s, then president Carlos Menem, adopted a new approach to public economics and put flagstones in place. Hyperinflation was a key problem and, in 1991, Menem addressed this by imposing a peso-dollar fixed exchange rate. He also aligned his plan on the neoliberal Washington platform and aimed to deregulate labor, liberalize trade, and privatize enterprises. This would lead to much spending on the part of the government, but in many respects, and due in great part to the aid from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Argentina quickly turned into one of the fastest growing economies in the region.
I A- The Collapse:
In December 2001, as well as 2002, the country’s economy completely collapsed; with the result being a financial meltdown. The crisis was mainly due to the collapse of the Argentinean peso after an announcement by the government that it was to suspend the payment of its public debt. Within nine months, spiking inflation levels had reached several hundred percentage points. In parallel, the peso’s decade-long linkage to the US was scrapped, resulting in a sudden depreciation of the peso. A barrage of presidents were elected in less than a year, some not even lasting the week, in the desperate search for a resolution to the crisis. But such a saving grace was not found and the presidents resigned in quick succession.
I B- The Situation as it Stands:
Since then, Argentina has managed to recover and economic growth has come rather quickly. This occurred in part due to the adoption of a more flexible exchange rate and new policies that focused on re-industrialization and increased exports; fueled mostly by the soybean and cereals boom. Gradually, debts were paid off with the IMF and, by 2002, the economy had begun to stabilize. However, many policies have yet to be implemented, and market failures can still be identified. This means that Argentina could expect to face another crisis in the future should it not avert the danger.
I C- Paper Objectives and Purpose:
The objective of this paper is to map out the principle activities of the Argentinean government within the scope of market failure theory. Furthermore, this paper will comment on the trends in government expenditures and the public reforms policy of the country. Lastly, the paper will analyze the nature of the reforms Argentina has adopted or should adopt in order to avoid any future market failures; which are bound to occur should the state not commit itself to implement successful policies.
II- A Government on a Mission: Structure, Inefficiency, Failures, & Expenditures
The Argentinean government is built on a two-tier structure: The local provincial level where each province is ruled by its own semi-autonomous elected government, and the federal government which takes charge on international affairs. Although existing on two levels, an intertwined relationship exists between the two; a liaison that bases itself on the Co-Participation Pact whereby it is agreed that local governments are responsible for managing their own economic affairs, while the federal government pledges to shoulder the responsibility for the deficits of the former (Eiras, 2002). In this respect, the federal government plays two equally important roles: Firstly, it acts as a welfare government with its main responsibility being to ensure the...