Latin America

Economic Lessons From A Mexican Taxi Driver

Contributed by Don Quijones: A cardinal rule that visitors should observe at all times in Mexico City is to avoid catching random taxis on the streets. Pick the wrong one and, at best, you will be abusively overcharged. Or you may be whisked away to some neighbourhood where the taxi driver’s partner(s)-in-crime will be waiting. But this taxi ride was different.

Chevron Whacked By Record Fine so Small it Might Not Notice

The California Division of Occupational Safety & Health just slammed Chevron with massive, record-breaking penalties related to the refinery in Richmond—the one that ended up in a fireball last August and caused 15,000 people to seek medical treatment. Purpose: to teach the mega-company an excruciatingly painful lesson. Alas….

Argentina’s Bonds, Defaults, and Vultures

Now that the dust has settled from the November/December 2012 drama surrounding the US Court ruling(s) regarding Argentina’s payment on defaulted bonds, I want to take a look at this snaggle—ahead of what will be a titillating appeal in February.

Argentina: When Life Gives You Lemons, Cry To The WTO

The US, Japan, and Mexico followed the EU’s lead and filed complaints at the WTO against Argentina’s import restrictions. Argentina promptly responded with its own complaint—against the US for blocking imports of beef and lemons. Yet, its beef market is one of the top 10 most protected in the world—and not in favor of its own beef producers! Just to keep the country glued together for a little while longer.

Argentina: Creeping State Control

Contributed by Bianca Fernet. Argentina is the perfect example of trade barriers, exhibiting a tantalizing web of import and export tariffs, quota systems, subsidies, licensing schemes, and local content requirements, all along with a healthy dose of corruption. One of the reasons I love living in Buenos Aires is that it is like living in an economics textbook. Argentina’s most ‘popular’ textbook economic blunder is capital restrictions.

Argentina: Politics, Unions, A Subway Strike, & Chaos

Contributed by Bianca Fernet. It’s the longest subway strike in Argentina’s history. The shutdown began Friday a week ago, and as I write, the end is still not in sight. The Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires is home to over 12 million people, and over 1.1 million trips are taken on the Subte every day. These people now cram themselves onto the congested streets. Transportation has ground to a crawl, the bus system is overburdened, traffic chokes the streets. Due to politics and money.

Argentina: The Big Shrink

Contributed by Bianca Fernet. The winter weather is not the only thing chilling the bones of Argentina’s residents. Since late July, a new set of words has been showing up in the articles about the economy. Shrinks. Slows. Stagflation. These chilling terms are being used to describe the consequences of what some nasty looking economic indicators might have in store. Argentina, an alternative path for indebted Eurozone countries? Not so fast!

Argentina: Everything but the Kitchen Sink

Contributed by Bianca Fernet. Argentina is known for its myriad of protests against price increases, lack of wage increases, benefits for veterans, laws regulating the sale of goods on the street, lack of funding for schools, increases in subway prices…. These protests are accompanied by much more disruptive behavior than clanging pots and pans. Yet are treated as commonplace occurrences, like a minor traffic collision