Argentina for business

Thursday, 12 March, Year 7 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

It's a very mixed bag, really.

Unlike the US, Argentina uses the European approach to notarization.i Unlike Europe, Argentina uses a pricing scheme straight out of Feudalism. A banal power of attorney, that's twenty to thirty euro pretty much everywhere save Switzerland (they don't use the euro) costs a whopping 1`390 peso in Buenos Aires. At official rates that'd be almost two hundred dollars - in a country where that is more than weekly average income. Pensions were recently raised from ~3`000 to ~3`800 pesos, and the government looks quite unable to pay. In short - if you intend to do paperwork, expect these muppets to expect you to pay as if they're actually gilding the shit.

The administration is stubborn and dumb whenever this favours it, slow and inept at all other times. A banal company registration, which can be done remotely in most sane jurisdictions for a cost of fifty to a hundred bucks will take two months here in the best of cases, can readily extend to half a year - not kidding! - and will readily run you a grand. There are numerous tax authorities with a finger in the pie (similar to the US, where the city imagines it can tax a business without providing immunity from federal taxes to the same business), and they proceed in that manner that killed Naggum, ie, you did X thing, you must have made Y moneyz, and you owe us therefore K on it - we don't need to prove anything, and we don't care what your papers say, pay up. Except of course should your papers say you need to pay more than that, which changes everything. In short, the Argentine government is trying to burn both ends of the candle every time there's a candle to burn, and then pretend no candles could even in principle exist when you're holding it to their feet. I threatened to sue the government within my first month here, which produced genuinely puzzled looks from the drones involved, as if they actually failed to comprehend what that could conceivably mean - a mental blockage shared for that matter by the fleas on the public treasury all the way up - the top lawyers of this, as any other Argentine government fail to comprehend that someone could in fact sue them, and win, and take their shit.

The population is commercially inept on an epic scale, something I have not personally encountered since rural Romania in the 90s - except the Argentines, unlike the Romanians, perceive themselves as cosmopolitan, educated, refined, important scl etc. Tell a Romanian he lives in a poor country befouled by incredibly stupid inhabitants, he will (correctly) agree with you. Tell it to an Argentine, he's going to have an aneurysm. In any case : no property has sold in the past year, the populace still hangs on to its bizarre notions that a 1`000 sqft apartment in a condoii is "worth" 150`000 or more. 150`000 whats ? US Dollars. Of course! Why would a property in a peso land be worth dollars ? Oh, because the peso is shit, they readily explain to you. Well, if the peso is shit, why do you imagine your real estate is worth anything at all ? Uh...oh... same blank sort of expression as seen from government clerks above, showing quite clearly that no place is cursed with a government below its intellectual means, but all places always and forever get exactly the sort of government that best mirrors the shortcomings, imbecilities and mental disorganisation of the population at large. Because if it didn't, you'd run it out with pitchforks, wouldn't you. But you don't. So... there you go.

Rents are even funnier a business : unlike anywhere in the civilised world, the Argentines rent unfurnished.iii The entire town's filled with incredibly dingy old Dodge trucks doing what's known as "fletes", which is to say cart shit from one place to the next. Because yeah, it makes all the motherfucking sense in the world to associate furniture with the mobile vulgus rather than with the real estate, and cart everything every couple of years up and down stairs.

Logic functions in this manner to the Argentine : his brain sports a a very low ceiling, boxing in the things that may ever be mentally examined, protecting from consideration and the light of day not only the common idiocy of all people (like for instance the proposition that they themselves are fucking dumb) but also banal things like "the government may be sued" or "you don't have to cart all that furniture up and down every other year, you know". Within that very narrow remaining space, if you never consider two thirds or more of the points involved in any case, then yes the paradoxical, oft patently insane conclusions they arrive at, and the paradoxical, oft patently insane behaviours they exhibit "make perfect sense". In their own world, were it to ever exist without imploding (something Argentina does with clockwork regularity), it'd all make sense, and they'd be sane, normal people.

What's more, they don't simply rent. First they feel obligated to require stuff of the prospective tenant, such as for instance "a warranty", in the shape of a similar property. Got that ? To rent something in Buenos Aires you must create a sort of hypotecarial arrangement on something just like it. Why would you be renting then, if you already had what you were looking for ? Oh, "it's for security". Sure it is. Stuffing yourself in an old Russian fridge and pulling in the door would also be for security, wouldn't it now. Quite fucking securely dead, in there.

The strongly nutty flavour of this notion is only brought in its finest light by considering that it provides no actual recourse. Suppose you rent to someone and he "breaks your house". How would someone break bare walls is beyond the consideration here, I don't even wish to go into the discussion of the insanity it promisesiv. So what do you do now ?

You've say a claim for 8`000 pesos, which seems excessive if any sort of "actual damages" standard's to be enforced, and you pursue it in court. It will take anywhere from eighteen months to six years. It will cost anywhere from 12`000 (remember the $100+ PoA ?) to... whatever, 42`000. Whatever a dumb Argentine posing as a lawyer thinks he may take you for a ride's worth.v So now, you're out 20 to 50k, over six years, for an 8k wait a second... not worth it, is it ? If you count the trial risk and the interest, it's not worth bothering with, even before you stop to consider that when I came here the peso was 10.5 to the dollar and now it's 12.5 to the dollar - the 20 to 50k you paid will probably be worth 100 to 150k by the time you actually get them "back" nominally.

Yet they insist. And it's not the case that some insist - they all insist. Isn't it baffling ? An entire population dead bent on something that a) even should they get it wouldn't do anything for them and b) they won't likely get. It's nothing short of an icecream franchise requiring you to get a tattoo for them to sell you icecream. Who the hell gets tattoos to satisfy the idiotic demands of the icecream lobby ? And moreover, if you've not sold any icecream for a year, what makes you suspect you're even involved with icecream at all, to borrow a John Cleese line.

This isn't of course to say there isn't money to be made here - there's a huge mountain of money to be made, principally out of the business of enslaving and exploiting these unrepentant imbeciles, until three generations later they've come to their senses, more or less. That exact process alf readily despises as you know, "color revolutions" invented by the CIA to break down a country's national sovereignity. Well... truth is a lot more complicated than that - in many places, in most places really national sovereignity is implemented as "being incredibly stupid in our own special way", which is of course neither "their own" in any sense nor to any degree special. This has to be broken down, there's absolutely no other way about it, simply because people by and large aren't inclined to live in Africa. Yet the stupid people involved, being identical to all stupid people by the virtue of their stupidity - the only truly global, universal human quality - will at first refuse outright, while being asked nicely. Then they'll get all pissy and recalcitrant when force is being brought to bear, and finally they'll get all lazy and complacent once that has run its course and the country is set on workable, if imperfect principles. It would, obviously, be better for everyone if the stupid people involved weren't actually stupid, sure. It'd also be better for everyone if bridges, computers, sheep and dental fillings could all be spherical.

Anyway : if you're looking for a country with an incredibly incompetent, weak and ineffectual government, inhabited by superficially very nice and friendly people who hide under that veneer stupidity unconsidered since before the Concordat of Worms in copious amounts, do consider Argentina. Just don't expect any sort of infrastructure, or the ability to hire help - you'll be stuck in short order importing foreigners not because you don't speak the local language, but because the locals don't actually use the language for any purpose other than passing the

  1. That is to say : in the US anyone can be a notary, pretty much on their say-so. The system is balanced so as to favour ubiquity and ease of use, therefore you obtain your notary license through a process similar to obtaining your driver's license. In Europe however, becoming a notary is a specialisation in law school, like being a dentist is a specialisation in medical school. The system is balanced so as to favour skill and competence (at least in theory), and consequently people who go through those motions are granted a (arbitrary thus legally dubious, but then again what statute isn't legally dubious) monopoly on the practice of notarizing documents : only they are special enough to do it. This is surrounded by all sorts of otherwise plainly spurious claims as to the value they supposedly add through their practice, so as to cover for the value they obviously syphon, to pay for office space (sumptuously decorated is the fashion, at least in Eastern Europe, as per the universal "frantic activity as a defense from impotence" guidelines), families, retirements et al.

    The very unfavourable comparison between the two approaches probably suggests that MDs' monopoly on "treating diseases" is headed, at least in the saner parts of the world, exactly towards the position notarization finds itself. Most honest practitioners at the fringes of the practice (GP, psychiatry etc) already admit that the special pleadings put forth by the profession are spurious, and the ones that don't are obviously angry about it, so there isn't much to see here. Whatever a medical doctor's "training" may be, it is a fact that any intelligent and cultivated patient can find more about his own condition within a week of study than his GP / attending physician will ever know, ever. Plenty of middle class patients afflicted with exotic diseases have already found this out for themselves (some as early as the 90s, if they happened to work in CS), and so... the medical monopoly is not long of this world, enjoy while it lasts. Or go into surgery, dentistry, the technical parts of the profession - those aren't going anywhere. []

  2. Argentines practice liberally the same insanity Romanians came up with. Apparently it's the sort of insanity that comes quite naturally to the sort of people (and they're a lot more similar than either could even begin to imagine - probably due to the ruinous Italian influence). []
  3. There are some exceptional cases where they try to ply furnished "temporario" arrangements on unsuspecting tourists, at five to ten times the actual market price. []
  4. That there's something present where reality warrants no presence does not simply mean that it's going to turn out there's really nothing there. Never, this. Not ever.

    What will turn out on examination is that there's some sort of "cultural" ie patently insane thing there, and it's being defended tooth and nail. Such as for instance they have all agreed you may never fuck two women, or wear mixed fibers, or fart, or who knows what the fuck else, and if you do - weeeell! []

  5. They are very honest people, the Argentines, in a very peculiar way. They will never, ever, ever steal from you. You can leave a brick of pesos in plain sight on a table in any office of any kind, leave, come back, you'll find your money where you left it - and all of it. On the other hand, they will readily steal from you in "permitted" manners, such as for instance if you leave a performance warranty with someone ? Heh, that's gone. You're not getting it back, forget it.

    Basically they've indentified some classes where plain theft is a-ok, and good luck challenging it, the low ceiling's right there and quite concrete. They did nothing wrong! That approach in turn allows them to enforce a very strict observance of ethics everywhere else. It's basically a sort of Saturnalia arrangement. []

  6. Which they love to do, by the way, you can stop someone in the street and chat them up for half an hour, they won't mind. Heck, they queue with such abandon that one suspects it's their primary social outlet. Never before have I seem people who seemingly enjoy queuing. Then again, never before have I seen people with so little ability to do anything whatsoever, and so little inclination to do even the little they could perhaps be capable of []
Category: La pas prin lume
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16 Responses

  1. Sounds just like India. The forces are too strong to let transparency win.

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Friday, 13 March 2015

    I'm completely unfamiliar with India, myself.

  3. We're aware. :D

  4. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Friday, 13 March 2015

    Your memory qualifies you for elephantine reincarnation.

  5. brendafdez`s avatar
    Saturday, 14 March 2015

    The warranty thing I'd say is in place for the owners to make sure that they are renting to people like them. There's a class issue, they don't like renting to the poor ("who knows what they might do!"), so if you don't have warranty, which means that you, your partner, family, whatever, own property, then you have to pay a higher price, the premium to compensate them for renting to the poor. It's basically that.

    I'm renting 'without warranty', meaning they charge me some 20% more than if I could provide it, and we have to sign a new contract every 3 months, so they get to raise the price more often and, at least on paper, it is labeled as a temporary arrangement, too. That, they believe, would make it easier to evict me if I stopped paying. When the tenant is someone (with property), it's assumed he'd never default on the rent because he's people like them and, unlike 'the poor', they never do that. Notice also how owners insist the warranty property is located within the city proper, which makes it clearer that the purpose is to exclude people from 'the province' who, in their world view, are always poor no matter what.

    The aim is never to use said warranty in case they need to seek compensation from your 'breaking the house', that's just the more politically correct excuse.

    Just my opinion, I look forward to seeing you disagree ;)

  6. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Saturday, 14 March 2015

    I don't disagree in the slightest. The only problem is that they are poor.

    Hopes and dreams notwithstanding, Argentines are poor as shit. I wouldn't personally care, most people are poor, but when they act like some sort of leet feudal caste it irritates my sensibilities and now *I* don't want to deal with them, because they're poor.

    This never works out for the other party, in practice. Not that plenty haven't tried, over the years. Of course they have.

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