X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

From the archive

9 March 2002: What though the spicy breezes blow soft o’er Buenos Aires, incompetence messes it up

24 June 2011

6:05 PM

24 June 2011

6:05 PM

As the world braces itself for the inevitable Greek default, and investors look nervously at potentially exposed banks, perhaps it’s worth recalling Argentina’s implosion a decade ago. Here is what the Spectator made of it at the time:

The missionary Bishop Heber wrote a hymn about Ceylon: ‘Where every prospect pleases And only man is vile.’ On being told that this was unfair to his converts, he corrected ‘Ceylon’ in the second edition to ‘Java’, but his point stands: there is no prospect, however pleasing, that is beyond the power of human and governmental incompetence to mess it up. We have seen the Heber factor at work in our own green and pleasant land, we can see it today in Japan, where the government seems to have run out of ideas, good or bad, but for a proven test for the bishop to preach from, there is nothing to beat Argentina. Writing off $1.1 billion, which is more than three times its investment there, HSBC is only the latest bank to have learned this the hard way. Barings were there first. This was once the world’s tenth largest economy, as prosperous as France or Canada, self-sufficient in fuel and food and wine, unravaged by warfare – so what got into it? The Heber factor.

[Alt-Text]


Twenty years ago, Argentina was one of the world’s big four debtors. Ten years ago its inflation rate touched 5,000 per cent.

A new regime sought to cure that by making the peso as good as a dollar, or trying to, but the act proved too hard to sustain. Roque Maccarone, the central bank’s aptly-named governor, had to preside over the biggest default in history, with countless savers and pensioners among the losers locked out of their money. Now they are being encouraged to blame the gringos – foreign banks (such as HSBC) and the International Monetary Fund, which always serves as the scapegoat of last resort. I blame the Heber factor, myself. It is time for his hymn to go into another edition.

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close