Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Blame Game

The media in Buenos Aires has been noticing a sharp increase in the number of expats living in this city. Just the other day, a radio programme interviewed an Icelander who lives in Capital Federal.

This transplanted resident said that tourists inevitably fall in love with BA because they are impressed by what they see but that would just be a very small and now touristy part of the sprawling city. According to him, expats may not have chosen to live here for the same reasons as a tourist. For instance, he was robbed during his first week in this city but he decided to stay nonetheless.

Some other expats have also been dispelling the myth that all of them are rolling in greenbacks and taking advantage of the devalued peso – a stereotypical view of many embittered porteños.

I have found this whole debate/envy or whatever one would prefer to call it rather interesting for the following reasons:

Firstly, there are just as many rich Argentines living in and out of the country, taking advantage of the devalued peso. Many of them are building palatial houses up the Delta or investing in apartments in the smart barrios within the city; these Argentines have benefited from the devaluation one way or another. Whether their earnings are in dollar, euro or peso is absolutely irrelevant; the point is they are earning a vast amount of money which has translated into formidable purchasing power.

The interesting part is that anyone should be envious or bitter over others' earning abilities. As long as their conduct is completely honourable and legal, why should people not be rewarded for their hard work or innovations?

Secondly, the strong Argentine culture which places utmost importance on the concept of "La Familia" discourages, to some extent, their own to explore the unknown, to travel the world, to broaden their horizon through living in other countries and cultures regardless of financial rewards. This is the opposite of many modern cultures; a vast number of traveller-residents here have this progressive mind-set and are earning a basic living in pesos. They are certainly not the ones buying up Alan Faena's luxurious loft developments in Puerto Madero.

Yes, and then there are those who are doing just that. They may have come from the U.S., Europe but among them are definitely rich Argentines. In every society are the rich and the poor. It is not necessarily a zero-sum game; the fact that someone can afford fine things in life doesn't equate to them robbing others the same opportunities – it is up to the individuals.

I am afraid if I continue I would be opening a Pandora's box of the "blame" mentality prevalent among people of this country – blame the society, blame the government, blame the politicians, blame the neighbours, blame the newbie expats...they believe they have absolutely nothing to do with anything that has gone wrong so far.

No, I won't go into all that but I'll leave you to ponder over this quote:

"...las sociedades no son entes abstractos sino la suma de las personas que la conforman, con sus mecanismos psicológicos, sus comportamientos y sus producciones." - Pensamiento Origanizado by Dr. Guillermo Campitelli

"Societies are not abstract entities but are formed by the sum of persons, with their psychological mechanisms, their behaviours and their productions." – Organised Thinking by Dr. Guillermo Campitelli

That means you, me and everyone else – no more shirking, no more blaming others.

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