The relationship that Argentina built with the dollar, analyzed by two sociologists in an essay
The relationship that Argentina built with the dollar over almost 90 years, although it is not the only country with a history marked by high periods of inflation and dependence on external financing, assumes unprecedented features that turn the foreign currency into a device to calibrate economic turbulence, fuel public debate and condition government management over the past decades.
In “The Dollar, History of an Argentine Currency (1930-2019)” sociologists Ariel Wilkis and Mariana Luzzi analyze, through rigorous field work, which included more than 120 interviews, the process of popularization of that currency in Argentina.
Is the relationship between Argentine society and the dollar eloquent about the individualistic component of its components?
A.W.: It is clearly one of the great emerging aspects of this aspect of our society, which is paradoxical. The foreign exchange market guarantees the privilege of holders of large dollarfortunes, whether at home or abroad. And the political, cultural and economic centrality of the dollar collides with any development and inclusion project. “Disarming” that centrality is a goal for any such project. But we must learn from the recent past and from the failure of attempts based solely on monetary policies. To disarm the centrality of the dollar, it is necessary to go beyond sectoral policies. And think of actions on various fronts and with a long-term perspective.
How does the appearance of the “savers” as an actor gravitate in the complex fabric of economic relations? Has the arrival of this new category greatly complicated the picture when it comes to designing economic policies?
Mariana Luzzi: The history of the popularization of the dollar is also the history of the expansion of social groups that incorporate the dollar as part of their repertoire financial. As we know, these are not just great players in the market. Housewives, retirees, middle income wage earners often save, when they can, in dollars. They do so because they learned it over time and crises. And also because it’s relatively simple. It is enough to go to a change house to buy tickets, it is not even necessary to have a bank account. The fact that it is such a widespread practice undoubtedly adds complexity to the thinking of economic policies. But it doesn’t make it impossible.
The government could not measure the real extent of the popularization of the dollar and now it was trapped in its labyrinth?
Ariel Wilkis: The popularization of the dollar is the cursed fact of democratic Argentina. In 2015, the Government built a campaign based on recognizing the right of individuals to acquire dollars freely. The trap was part of a distortion of individual freedoms. Part of its supporting electorate had flagged one of the legacies of the 2001 crisis. The possession of dollars as a fundamental right of citizens. The popularization of the dollar devoured the Government, which ended up being assessed for its ability to control the dollar.
Curiosa e impaciente, investiga y no se queda quieta. Redactora por oficio y por vocación, conoce un poco de todo y se especializa en pocas cosas.
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