There are two news stories in Argentina that, although they appear unconnected, in reality are closely related. One is a recurrent theme: the sixth national trade union strike during the presidency of Mauricio Macri and his Cambiemos government.
The other, which appears relegated to a place of lesser importance, supposedly unrelated to the agenda of the day, has much to do with what is happening today in the country: after Venezuela and Mongolia, Argentina is now the third least competitive country in the world.
The IMD Competitiveness Rankings, conducted annually by the Swiss School of Business, did not offer good news. According to the index, which was first published in 1989, Argentina fell three positions since the last measurement. That is to say, in spite of the Kirchnerist legacy, the current administration has serious responsibilities for Argentina’s plight. The 235 indicators that are averaged include unemployment, economic growth, public spending in general and in specific areas, corruption, and interaction with the globalized world. The performance of government and private sector efficiency is also highlighted.
Since 2013, Argentina has only fallen in the ranking, and now finds itself in this most unenviable situation, only surpassed by Venezuela (a nation on the brink of civil war) and Mongolia (one of the most isolated nations in the world). Singapore is in first place, which this year dethroned the United States for the world’s top ranking.
Today’s unemployment seems to explain perfectly what the new rankings warn about in Argentina. Since 12 o’clock last night, Argentina has been paralyzed by a new national strike. The impact on the transport sector was fundamental to the success of the strike.
The National Security Minister, Patricia Bullrich, criticized the attitude of the unions and said: “We are sick of the stoppages.” For his part, President Macri had scheduled a visit to the Armed Forces for the day of the Army and doubled the bet: he made no mention of the strike that is taking place throughout the country.
The situation is bad, but the proposals of the unions would worsen the situation.
Although the reasons why the union organizations are marching today are substantially evident, the truth is that their proposals to change the nation’s course are absolutely counterproductive. Inflation is a fact, unemployment is real, and current prospects are far from ideal. But the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) insists on criticizing a supposed “neoliberal” model that does not exist in Macri’s Argentina.
The problems of the economy are fundamentally the decay of the statist system. Its deficits are rampant. It is closed to the world economically. It is incompetent. This system rose during the two terms of Cristina Kirchner, and the same policies continued during Macri’s administration.
The index made by the Swiss Business School makes clear the real problems of Argentina, and also suggests where solutions may be found. Argentine unions are opposed to the real and necessary reforms that would stabilize the economy.