Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

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Thomas: Argentinian life & politics in 2011

November 3, 2011

Recently, Argentina held a presidential election that gave President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner another term in office. Christina, as she is often referred to, is the wife of the late Nestor Kirchner, who died last year. Nestor was president of Argentina from 2003-2007 and became extremely popular due to Argentina’s miraculous economic recovery after the country suffered a devastating economic collapse in 2001. That year, Argentina took home the not so coveted prize for being the biggest economy in the World to default on its loans. Remember when Congressional Republicans in the United States this Summer threatened to not raise the country’s debt ceiling and default on our loans as a negotiating chip with President Obama? Well, when a country defaults on it’s obligations or debt, it is the worse thing that could happen to the economy. When it happened in Argentina in 2001, people lost their entire life savings and several people were forced into poverty. The country basically started from scratch, economically.

Nestor Kirchner helped Argentina recover, back into somewhat prosperity. His wife, Christina ran for President after he served two terms. At first, she wasn’t as popular as her husband, but when the economy continued to grow and when Nestor suddenly died in 2010, the country felt sorry for her and her approval ratings skyrocketed. She was a shoe-in for re-election and won with well over 50% of the popular vote and 22 of the 23 provinces.

Though the economy is booming now, the uptick won’t last long. For example, there is massive inflation. The peso is weak, but things like electronics, clothes, and food are nearly unfordable for many Argentinians. I thought I was going to buy clothes for myself here, but after having checked out the prices, I decided to wait.

Fareed Zakaria with CNN and Time did a great story about the Argentine economy yesterday that is worth watching. Check out the link below.

http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2011/10/31/zakaria-saving-argentinas-last-dance/

The good news for me is that I will be shipping out before this economic bubble bursts. Unfortunately Argentinians will have to once again suffer through more difficult economic circumstances.

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Parker: What the French know of Americans

April 2, 2011

Say you’re American to a Parisian, and there are a few typical responses you will receive:
1. Oh, so you love McDonald’s?
2. Are you from New York? (It’s either NYC, San Francisco, LA, or maybe a couple like Chicago or Miami)
3. I love Obama!
4. Some comment that basically means “You Americans aren’t doing it right.”

It’s nice to see that they really understand our culture. Now, I’m not saying that Americans don’t do the same when it comes to France, but you would think they might understand a little more thoroughly a country their youth spends so much time trying to copy…(see previous post “Letter Jackets and Beats by Dre”).

It’s amazing to me how ethnocentric the French can be. And they are not afraid to admit it. Because almost everyone I have met seems to genuinely think France is the greatest country in the world. And good for them, I’m glad they have a strong sense of national pride, but they sure have an odd sense of showing it sometimes. They elect people and then instantly hate them, constantly demonstrate against, well, anything, and have a school system that breeds social inequality. They refuse to record race or religion on their census, insisting that they are a color-blind State (and meanwhile they point to the U.S. as being full of racial issues) while failing to realize the obvious racial and religious inequalities in their secular, “welcoming” country.

I love Paris, and I don’t want to leave, but I will never stop questioning some of the oddities of the French way of thinking.

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