Re: Wealth Distribution

From: Carlos Gonzalia (
Date: Wed Jul 25 2001 - 18:43:50 MDT

>From: Mike Lorrey <>
>Carlos, comparing their share of the whole is not meaningful. First, you
>need to state what the cost of living was and now is, then compare the
>change in the mean for the lowest 20% against that versus the richest

Yes, I guess you're right there. As I can't come up with the actual
figures and studies (short of flying back to Argentina and spending a
month tracing things through printed archives of old publications I read
a few years ago), please feel free to dismiss anything that follows
as it relies only on my memory of readings and listening to people.
I think the cost of living increased around 15% during the Menem
administration. I think the Inquiry cited by Tedesco's paper is using
"variation of power of acquisition of income, after cost of living
increases are accounted for". That is, for the lower classes income
seem to have raised a bit, but less than the cost of living. While
for the upper classes their income seems to have raised above
the cost of living increases. I can't ask you to accept all this on
faith of course, just mentioning it here so you can see why I'm
inclined to think there seems to have been an increase in inequalities.
I'm no expert, so perhaps I'm interpreting the figures wrong...

>Tax havens become attractive when local taxation is seen as overly

Of course it is punitive. And it is going to get worse. The government
is aiming for a zero-deficit policy from now on, which means anything
that tax collections don't suffice to pay, will not be paid. I expect
a lot of pressure will be put on bussinesses to come up with money
to avoid a closure of state services, particularly in education and health.
There is already discussions on parliament on very harsh laws to punish
tax evasion and such.

>From: Alejandro Dubrovsky <>
>Have you got any pointers to data stating that the poor got poorer during the
>Menem era?

Same caveat as before applies, I guess. The only electronically available
material I can point to is Tedesco's paper: 'La nata contra el vidrio: urban
violence and democratic governability in Argentina', Bulletin of Latin
American Research 19 (2000), 527-545, Elsevier Science Ltd. She cites
figures from INDEC's statistics (which are not electronically available,
as is the case with most studies on socioeconomic change, what a pain).
She also cites some working papers from UNICEF and private studies,
again nothing electronically available.

I just stumbled across CEPAL's documents on the web. They seem to indicate
that during Menem's first administration poverty reduced a good deal, but
at the end of his second administration poverty levels seem to be the
same as before his rise to government. Intresting, I think, and something
I wasn't much aware of (though I recall people saying something like that
was happening). The link to the 'Panorama Social de America Latina' is:
(I'm afraid it seems to be only in Spanish, sorry).

There is also a very nice CEPAL publication with Argentina's general economy
indicators, showing the development of the last 10 years. Again, I'm no
expert, but a good amount of the figures look quite appalling to me.
(again, it is in Spanish, sorry!)


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