Friday, November 9, 2012

Zeitgeist: 700,000 Gather to Protest Government of Argentina's Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner

Argentina has a lot to commend it although the people's choices in government aren't one of them.
From the BBC:

Aerial shot of protesters in Buenos Aires  
Thousands of protesters surrounded Buenos Aires's landmark obelisk during Thursday's march
Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires, in protest at the government of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Opposition activists used social networks to mobilise the march, which they said was one of the biggest anti-government protests in a decade.

Those gathered said they were angry at rising inflation, high levels of crime and high-profile corruption cases.
President Fernandez was re-elected by a landslide to a second term in 2011.

Her approval ratings have since dropped and protests against some of her policies have mounted.
Official figures say inflation is at 12%, but analysts say it is probably much higher....MORE

Aug 28, 2012
"Where Are We Going and Why Are We in This Handbasket? Argentina Under Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
June 10, 2012
Argentina on the Brink of Collapse
July 9, 2011 
A Cautionary Tale: "Argentina files criminal charges against consulting firm for publishing inflation data"
From the cult of Juan Perón to the current president Cristina de Kirchner (Hey gang, let's nationalize private pensions!), from the Barings debacle* of 1890 to the hyperinflation of 1990 and the collapse of 1999-2002 there are a lot of lessons to be taught or learned....

*A prescient piece from September 2007, prompted by the sight of stockbrokers lining up to clear out their accounts at Northern Rock:
New York Times Headlines-

Nov 19, 1890; Brothers Embarrassment
NEWARK, Nov. 18. -- Monday morning the officials of the Howard Savings Institution in Newark observed that more depositors than usual were presenting themselves at the teller's counter to close their accounts. Yesterday morning when the bank doors were opened, a score or more of them awaited the arrival of the teller. The run increased as the day went along, and by the time the bank closed for the day $30,000 had been withdrawn.

Two days earlier:

HELP FOR THE BARINGS; NO FURTHER DOUBT OF THE FIRM'S PERFECT STABILITY. AID STILL COMING FROM THE BANKS OUTSIDE OF LONDON -- THE CONDITION OF THE MARKET.LONDON, Nov. 17. -- The Scotch banks will have a meeting to-day for the purpose of adding to the Barings' guarantee fund. The whole banking world has shown alacrity in subscribing, and when all the provincial and other subscriptions have arrived the total will be such a sum as will make the whole incident a brilliant triumph for the organizers of the fund.

The Collapse of Barings
...Only one Baring received a peerage principally because he was a banker: Edmund, otherwise known as Ned. The others had been politicians or public servants. Ned became Lord Revelstoke in 1885, when London was the undisputed financial capital of the world. Revelstoke father and son ran Barings for fifty years, and Ziegler describes them as a formidable pair.

`Both were intelligent and cultivated, self-confident to the point of arrogance. They were dignified in manner and imposing in appearance, men accustomed to demanding the deference of their inferiors, putting into that category the generality of mankind.' But Ned Baring also had a streak of recklessness inherited from his grandfather, and a gambler's instinct (his father won his Mayfair house at a game of cards). He was a generous man, and he could afford to be: his annual income was 100,000[pounds sterling], worth 6,100,000[pounds sterling] today.

Revelstoke's enthusiastic embrace of Victorian capitalism red in tooth and claw was best illustrated by the flotation of Guinness shares in 1886. So over-subscribed was the issue of 4.5 million [pounds sterling] of ordinary and preference shares that the price of 10[pounds sterling] ordinary shares rose to 16[pounds sterling] 10s when the market opened....