Crazy Economies in South America and cutting your hair…What?

The blue dollar in ARGENTINA is unique: an unofficial currency with the outward appearance of a legitimate exchange. The impression is supported by web sites and stories in the press covering daily fluctuations. Many cuevas – informal exchange houses – even have fixed addresses and business cards.

But it is still a black market, and the inner workings are opaque. If your local currency dealer tells you that the rate rose ten cents since yesterday – why did it rise? And why ten cents, instead of five? Or fifteen?

Is the blue dollar rate a matter of straightforward economics or is the entire market an elaborate sham stage-managed by a criminal conspiracy?

“Supply and demand,” people speculate —but since there is no central exchange, no single individual can ever know the available supply, or demand, on any given day. Even Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich recently challenged newspapers that publish the daily blue rate to include information on traders and volume. “If they can’t do it,” he concluded, “then it is not transparent and doesn’t constitute a market.”

Yet thousands of blue transactions do occur, every day. Many are initiated by tourists, or Argentines planning to travel, or protecting their savings against inflation. (There is a reason that the waiting list for safe deposit boxes in Buenos Aires is now over a year.) Others are by businesses making deals or skirting taxes, and moving large volumes. Each transaction begins with the same question: What is the rate today?

I had different questions: Who sets the rate? How do they do it? Who loses and who, if anyone, is making a fortune? (taken from the The Guardian).

CRAIG: It is absolutely crazy what goes on in the economies in South America. The brightest economy in South America is Chile. They did some things right a long time ago that makes it an economic leader in this continent.

Though there is obvious economic problems in Argentina, the economies of Uruguay, Brazil and many of the other South America neighbors do not have strong economies. The people on the street are not hopeful and are awaiting to experience another major devaluation and economic crisis like what happened in 2002 when the U.S.A. flew millions or billions down in an airplane to bail out the banks. The dollar has risen steadily in 2015 and is now over 28 pesos to a dollar (up from 23.5 in January 2015).

Joel, my barber down the street cut my hair two days ago. I walked in “El Grillo” which is the barber shop. Joel, his brothers and his dad cut hair Monday-Saturday. I noticed an older gentleman with white hair in the first chair where Joel´s father was cutting away. I recognized the man from somewhere, but I could not remember. I asked Joel who the man was and it turned out it was the MINISTER OF ECONOMY AND FINANCES (one of the men on the President´s cabinet). I wanted to ask Mr. Astori about the economy, but Joel told me not to move from the chair or he would cut my throat (of course he was joking…at least I think he was). Mr. Astori is a long time customer, but Joel said that no one ever asks him anything about anything unless it has to do with Mr. Astori´s favorite football soccer team. Mr. Astori is a socialist but operates in a capitalistic world. It has to be that way. Because socialism does not work economically speaking. You would think that most countries would have learned that lesson by now. This is not the case. There are some people that think they can make it work with a little different twist than the other countries who have tried it and failed. Go figure.

The more desperate people become always seems to work in favor of the Good News of Jesus Christ. The next time I see Mr. Astori, I will introduce myself and ask him some questions. I would love to know what he thinks about heaven. I have an idea how he will probably respond, but then I may be surprised…maybe Mr. Astori will be ready to hear about Jesus. Are you?

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