A brief report of Argentina

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  • A brief report on Argentina

    Argentina was part of the Spanish Empire as a Viceroyalty, not a colony, until 1810. Then it had a long period of civil wars in two opposite versions: a federal country (like the United States) or a unitary country (like France). Finally, a federal country was imposed, although in practice it was unitary since the port of Buenos Aires was the only one that received customs contributions. Hispanic Argentina, until 1870, developed more in the northern provinces, since it maintained a commercial relationship with Alto Peru (Current Bolivia) and the entire area from Cordoba (latitude 30 degrees south) to Salta and Jujuy (above the tropics). of Capricorn) was most important. Buenos Aires was isolated in the middle of a fertile plain that was not yet productive. It was not until 1880 that a military expedition was carried out (The conquest of the desert) that allowed men of European descent to inhabit it and dedicate themselves to agriculture and livestock. Patagonia was also occupied up to the island of Tierra del Fuego.

    Immigration: The first inhabitants were indigenous, of very little development, besides that they were few. The Spanish conquest brought Spaniards who mixed with the indigenous people in some cases and brought the European culture. Around 1860 European immigration began, and they arrived in this order: Scots, English, Irish, Spanish and Italians, the latter in much greater numbers. The moment of greatest immigration was the period 1890-1914. Unfortunately, the land was already distributed among the oldest settlers of Spanish origin, and this created a local aristocracy of great wealth for the export of meat to Europe, which unfortunately was not applied to industrialize the country, which was done incompletely. However, the nouveau riche hired architects from France, England and Italy and created high-quality architecture, something that can be verified in Buenos Aires and some cities in the interior.

    The political regime was liberal and conservative, which allowed the creation of a fairly large middle class for Latin America, which made Argentina different from many other Latin American countries.

    Technological development came especially from the United Kingdom, while the most refined culture came from France. It was not until 1916 that the contribution of Spain began to be valued.

    Italy also contributed its culture but since it was only unified in 1870, it did not have as important a presence as that of other countries. In addition, immigrants from Mediterranean countries were poor and mostly poorly educated, so the descendants of English and French, being richer and more educated, gained prestige in front of the rest.

    Race was never a factor of great importance in Argentina, but it must be recognized that a Caucasian appearance is an advantage when evaluating a person. The mestizos were always considered less than Europeans, especially from immigrants of Northern Europe.

    Argentina have had a strong relationship with the UK, since 1870, which allowed us to make a great exchange of our agricultural production, and receiving the industrial revolution inventions, like the railways, special races for livestock, windmills, etc.

    All this lasted until 1930, when the Commonwealth countries realized that the United Kingdom had invested almost as much money in Argentina as in them. And they protested, they lobbied, until the United Kingdom stopped investing money in Argentina to calm things down. This lasted until 1932, when an Argentine minister, Julio A, Roca (Jr) negotiated with some success with the UK in exchange for handing over the entire public transport system of Buenos Aires, trams, subways, and buses. So, the situation was fixed in a certain way, but he was highly criticized by nationalists for having said figuratively that "Argentina was part of the British Empire." Which was true economically, but not politically, not even culturally since France was ahead of the UK in that aspect.

    However, the period from 1890 to 1945 was quite successful for Argentina, since we had industrial goods from all over the world (since even in those years the United Kingdom admitted the convertibility of the Pound Sterling, and supported the principle of free trade) which ensured the creation of a very important middle class that differentiated us from the rest of Latin America.

    The advent of World War II brought some problems that changed the previous scheme. Argentina wanted to remain neutral, so that it could sell its products to the whole world. It was also convenient for the UK because that way Argentine ships could arrive with food products that they needed for the war. But the United States, after 1941, put pressure on all the countries of Latin America, but Argentina remained neutral until it finally cut relations with Germany and Japan in January 1945 and declared war in March 1945, in a cynical maneuver to take over German companies and be able to be a founding member of the United Nations. For this reason, Argentina was accused of being pro-Nazi, but this supposed sympathy of the military class for Germany was not because they were Nazis, but because they had all been instructed by German military schools. We simply were not Nazis because we were not Germanic Aryans, and if Germany had triumphed, we would have become second- or third-class citizens.

    At the end of World War II, the United Kingdom was, despite its triumph, bankrupt.

    For this reason, they decided to sell everything he could to his creditors to pay off the debt. For example, the English railways that had 35,000 km of tracks, and provide us with everything we needed. In my particular case, my family bought a Flying Standard car in 1947 and a Brasted piano, but also provided a large number of top-of-the-line aircraft for the recently created Fuerza Aerea Argentina, and thus we had Avro Lancaster, Avro York, Avro Lincoln and Gloster Meteor jet fighters in unusual numbers (100, for example)

    However, at the same time,, the UK suppressed the Pound Sterling convertibility, therefore the only way to collect the debt was purchasing UK goods and commodities. The USA was suspecting that we have been nazis and did not provide weapons or anything related with military equipment, therefore we were obliged to purchase to the UK. Other countries were also severely damaged, including France and the URSS.

    In 1946 Juan Domingo Peron became President of the Nation and decided to distribute left and right the surpluses achieved in World War II.

    Many previous laws that gave benefits to the neediest are put into practice, and also use of the state coffers to give bicycles to children, sewing machines to women and other household appliances that were already beginning to spread, through the Eva Peron Foundation, which allowed them to win votes and eternal gratitude.

    But the money was running out and around 1953 he was convinced that it was convenient to get closer to the United States, for which he invited Milton Eisenhower, brother of the President, with great entertainment, and assigned oil exploration contracts to Standard Oil in the Patagonia.

    But from 1954 he came into strong conflict with the Catholic Church and the landed aristocracy, who had never felt sympathy for him, gave in to it and in 1955 there was a Revolution or coup d'état that sent him into exile in Panama and then he was received in Spain, since Franco owed him many favors when Argentina helped Spain between 1946 and 1950.

    Subsequent governments were of a military nature, with two tendencies, one soft and one hard. The soft one, supported by General Lonardi, sought a non-aggressive treatment with the Peronist masses, and the hard one, supported by Admiral Rojas and General Aramburu, decreed the prohibition of the Peronist party and the mere mention of General Peron, who was degraded in absentia.

    The military government was of a conservative-liberal nature and called for elections in 1958 when President Frondizi was elected, who previously made a secret pact with Peron so that he would order his supporters to vote for Frondizi.

    For this reason, Frondizi lasted only 4 years, and he was always suspected of being a communist sympathizer, just because his brother was a declared communist. However, he proved to be a statesman by allowing US investments in oil exploitation and maintained a favorable regime to industrialize the country, since many automobile factories such as Chrysler, Kaiser and Fiat were established. Ford Motor Company was already established since 1925.

    There was almost full employment, and poverty only reached 5% of the population. Argentina was, even with problems, ahead of Brazil and all the Latin American countries.

    After the overthrow of Frondizi, the vice president took over temporarily and elections were called again, where a former governor of the province of Córdoba, named Arturo U. Illia, was elected president. He belonged to the center-left Radical party, but since he did not make a pact with Perón, he ordered his supporters to vote blank, with which Illia was elected with only 30% of the votes. This lacked legitimacy to the new president. However, Illia was a good president, he did what he could and maintained an acceptable economic situation, but he dared to go against the pharmaceutical laboratories that did not pay royalties to anyone and set the prices they pleased.

    He also achieved a diplomatic triumph at the United Nations, when resolution 2065 was voted in favor, asking the United Kingdom to diplomatically discuss the claim over the Malvinas/Falklands.

    However, he was overthrown in 1966 and the military took over again, with General Ongania now being president, who in turn was overthrown in 1970, succeeded by another general named Agustin Lanusse. To all this Peron gave instructions on how to act and support the leftist guerrilla that at that time, led by Fidel Castro's Cuba, who wanted to install communism in Latin America. Lanusse challenged Peron to come to Argentina but did not allow him to run for election, but he accepted that his party run with a Peron puppet named Campora.

    Peron arrived in Argentina in 1973 while since 1970 the leftist guerrillas have murdered many people by planting bombs and attacking the military barracks. Until that moment, the repression was carried out with the law in hand, there were no disappeared persons. The Peronist party won with 50% of the votes and Campora took office, but he surrounded himself with leftists, something that Peron disapproved of and a short time later, by order of Peron, he was forced to resign. Elections were called again, and Peron presented himself as president and his same wife, Isabel Martínez de Perón, as vice president, without any political background.

    Perón was president until July 1, 1975, when he died of a heart condition.

    Power passed to his wife, who had no idea how to govern, attacked by the guerrillas and only supported by the same military who had previously overthrown Peron, who was now seen as more acceptable. But the guerrilla attacks and the very bad economic situation caused Isabel Martinez de Peron to be overthrown on March 24, 1976.

    This military intervention was called the National Reorganization Process, and it fiercely fought the guerrillas, but no longer resorting to repression with the law, but through kidnapping and torture of all those suspected of belonging to the guerrilla. Many were shot or thrown into the Rio de la Plata with airplanes. This generated an exodus of leftist people who went to Europe and resorted to human rights organizations, fueling Argentina's bad reputation for this methodology, which was the same one that France applied in the Algerian war of independence. (1958-1962)

    The economic situation stabilized, but there was an anti-industrial focus, which led to many companies going bankrupt and many unemployed appearing. The military intervention decided to look for a jingoistic way out and decided to occupy the Malvinas Islands in 1982, a very wrong idea because it assumed that the United Kingdom was not going to react and that the United States was going to support us. As is well known, the war was lost and it was an excellent gift to Margaret Thatcher, who thanks to it remained 10 years as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

    As a result of this failure, the military decided to hand over power to a democratic government, and in 1983, not a Peronist, but a radical named Alfonsin assumed the presidency. He decided to try the military authorities for the illegal repression and imprisoned many who had participated in it. The democratic government did not improve the economic situation, which was always the result of inflation due to public spending greater than tax collection.

    His government ended in 1989, before the end of his legal term, and his successor was a former governor of a poor province named Carlos Menem, of Syrian origin, Muslim, who converted to Catholicism to be president, which is required by the National Constitution. Without saying so beforehand, Carlos Menem knew that if he said his future policy, the Peronist masses would not vote for him, and lately he put into practice a liberal program very similar to the Chicago Boys of those years. He dismantled the railways, privatized several state companies, and established an equivalence of the Argentine peso equal to one US dollar. This ensured stability but removes the competitiveness of companies to export. Argentina was now an expensive country.

    The situation continued with a poverty of no more than 8% but finally the idea of convertibility 1 peso equal to 1 dollar was made at the expense of borrowing money from the International Monetary Fund, and the scheme exploded. In the following elections, a radical was elected, Fernando de la Rúa, an honest man but not very skilled in politics, who was center-right, although not too much. He tried to continue with convertibility but it didn't work and the system exploded in 2001, when there was a demonstration in front of the Government House in Buenos Aires, and there was police repression with deaths and injuries. De la Rúa must have escaped by helicopter from the same terrace of the Government House.

    A former Peronist governor, Duhalde, temporarily took office, ending convertibility and establishing a relationship of 1 dollar = 3 pesos, and those who deposited dollars in their bank accounts gave them pesos, subject to the usual inflation. This was called the "asymmetric pesification" which was a monumental scam for savers. Duhalde favored the ascension to the presidency of Nestor Kirchner, an unknown governor of a Patagonian province, but deeply dishonest and in love with the money that could be obtained in politics. Kirchner, however, handled finances relatively well but died in 2011, leaving his position to his vice president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

    This woman turned out to be even more dishonest than her husband, who was re-elected in 2012 by the Peronist masses, by giving all kinds of subsidies to the supposedly poor. It is enough to know that the subsidized people in 2002 were 2 million people and now in 2023 we have 20 million subsidized people, with a total population of 43 million inhabitants. This made it more convenient for poor people to receive subsidies than to get a job, which on the other hand companies did not dare to hire people because social laws made dismissal difficult, and firing an employee could be done, but running the company to bankruptcy.

    President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner lost the elections in 2016 and a liberal-conservative, Mauricio Macri, took office, who should have given an account of the painful inheritance received but preferred gradualism, but did not make the required social, pension and public health reforms, decrease in public spending. Macri lost the elections in 2020 and the Peronists returned, now with the appearance of a puppet president like Alberto Fernandez, with Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner being vice president. Of course, the Peronist economic policy remained the same, and inflation between 2020 and 2023 was 350%. The one calculated for 2023 is 110%.

    This is the result of the existence of 50% of poor people, who are never going to accept a restrictive policy and in favor of austerity, because they are afraid of losing their subsidies. Many young people do not see a future for the country and emigrate to other countries, especially European ones, where they can legally emigrate because they can have of Italian or Spanish nationality, and thus be able to access the entire European Union. The worst thing is that the educated young people emigrate, and here are the poorly educated and also affected by the use of drugs who arrive in complicity with part of the police and politics.

    Although the Argentine situation today is very bad, there are still some Pro's that would be:

    It still has the largest middle class of any Latin American country.

    It has quite good public health, and private health too, with reasonable prices.

    It potentially has a lot of wealth, thanks to agricultural production in the central strip of the country, and minerals like lithium in the Andean cordillera.

    There are no racial problems, although the image of the Caucasian type is an advantage over that of a mestizo, who is presumed to be poor and poorly educated.

    It has an acceptable infrastructure, created mainly in the years of growth from 1880 to 1945.

    Education is free at all levels, but there are also private schools with reasonable prices, although it has already been said that public education has declined in the last 30 years.

    It has no hypothesis of conflict with any neighboring country, and the dispute with the United Kingdom over the Falklands Malvinas Islands will never be resolved by force, because we already know that we are not up to their military standards. So, the UK is spending its money uselessly maintaining a military garrison of 1000 soldiers.

    It also has no religious conflicts. The Jews live in peace doing business with the Muslims, without any problem.

    Foreigners are always welcome.

    People with income in dollars can live here as kings.

  • Thanks Carlos. Norteville is fast becoming a empire in decline, public education is being destroyed, the cost for college excludes the majority of its people. Ignorance and illiteracy has mushroomed with the social media juggernaut, quite' frankly I wonder how much longer before the whole neoliberal ponzi scheme implodes. Rampant gun violence, despair and drug addiction, while the elites sip Piper Heidsieck and plan their next jetset adventure. Rather disconcerting, good side being the younger ones with an IQ above a toasted sandwich realise what a evil system we live under. :beatdeadhorse:

  • Norteville is fast becoming a empire in decline,

    Dear Mr Kipher, when you are writing Norteville, are you referring to the United States of America?

    Because the aforesaid statement can be applied in part to my country, Argentina with the exception that we never have been an empire, just a nation who had a fair and merry past, now ruined by rampant populism.I am glad that you read my report which is what I thing of my homeland, with its shadows and luminous, rare examples.

  • Yes Carlos , north america, estado unidos. Sorry for any confusion on my behalf. I will stick with estado unidos from here on. What do you mean by subsidies? Half the population? How can that work, er not work?

    Yes, almost a half of the population received some kind of subsidies ánd this Is fostering the déficit always growing from the government finances. This nerds to print money or ask loans to the IMF that never ends. We have now a 7 percent per month of inflation. A preferred policy of pure populism.

    • Helpful

    Mr Bombonera: 

    I am sending the information that you require. Excuse me for the lenght of this, but this country was economically a part of the British empire until 1932, when other countries of the Commonwealth required another, more restrictive reationship with Argentina,

    Imperial Preferences

    The Roca–Runciman Treaty was a commercial agreement signed on 1 May 1933 between Argentina and the United Kingdom signed in London by the Vice President of Argentina, Julio Argentino Roca, Jr., and the president of the British Board of Trade, Sir Walter Runciman. As a byproduct of Black Tuesday and the Wall Street Crash of 1929, Great Britain, principal economic partner of Argentina in the 1920s and 1930s, took measures to protect the meat supply market in the Commonwealth. 

    At the Imperial Preference negotiations in Ottawa, bowing to pressure, mainly from Australia and South Africa, Britain decided to severely curtail imports of Argentine beef. The idea was to enact monthly cuts of 5% during the first year of the agreement.[1] The plan provoked an immediate outcry in Buenos Aires, and the government dispatched Vice-President Roca and a team of negotiators to London. 

     On 1 May 1933, they concluded a bilateral treaty known as the Roca-Runciman Treaty.[2] The Argentine Senate ratified this agreement by Law #11,693. The treaty lasted three years and was renewed as the Eden-Malbrán Treaty of 1936, which gave additional concessions to Britain in return for lower freight rates on wheat.[3

    ] The treaty ensured beef export quotas that were equivalent to the levels sold in 1932 (the lowest point in the Great Depression), strengthening the commercial ties between Argentina and Britain. Argentina was assured of an export quota of no less than 390,000 metric tonnes of refrigerated beef, but 85% of the beef exports were to be made through foreign meat packers. Britain "would be agreeable to permit" the participation of Argentine meat packers of up to 15%. Argentina would give to British companies "a benevolent treatment towards insuring the greatest economic development of the country and the deserved protection to the interests of these companies."[4] As long as there were currency controls in Argentina (limiting the sending of money abroad), everything that Britain would pay for purchases in Argentina could be returned to the country by deducting a percentage from payments to the foreign debt. Argentina would keep free of duties imports of coal and other goods imported from Britain at the time and vowed to buy coal only from Britain. Argentina agreed not to increase import duties on all British goods or reduce the fees paid to the British railroads in Argentina and exemptions from certain labour legislation, such as the funding of pension programs. The treaty had strong political repercussions in Argentina later triggering a conflict from the denunciations of Senator Lisandro de la Torre. From the treaty, Britain received more benefits. For only the promise of purchasing Argentine beef at the reduced levels of the Depression era, Argentina agreed to reduce tariffs on almost 350 British goods to the rates of 1930 and to refrain from imposing duties on main imports such as coal, as already mentioned.[1]

    Britain and the Making of Argentina

    by Gordon Bridger

    Much has been written about Britain's Empire and its vast array of colonies spread all over the four corners of the world. Less has been written about Britain's 'Informal Empire' which is where Gordon Bridger's book plays an invaluable role. Born and raised in Argentina to Anglo-Argentine families of Scottish and English descent spanning nearly two centuries, his own background epitomises the long cultural and economic connections between Britain and Argentina and allows him to write with confidence and knowledge about the relations between the two nations.

    It may be surprising that a colony with such a strong imperial Catholic Spanish connection should have forged such close links with a rival Protestant seafaring empire. Indeed, the first significant connections between Britain and what was then the Vice Royalty of the River Plate were in the dying days of Spanish control of the continent. In two spectacularly mis-timed and ultimately disastrous British invasions of Buenos Aires in 1806 and 1807, the British were to unwittingly lay the foundations for a century and more of Anglo-Argentine cooperation and development. The timing was atrocious as Spain was about to switch sides in the Napoleonic Wars in 1808 and so become an ally of Britain in the very near future. Nevertheless, the foundations took the form of the first significant infusion of British immigrants through capture or desertion of the invading soldiers in what seemed such a promising land of milk and honey at least compared to what was on offer back in Europe. Secondly, and more consequentially, a significant fleet of 70 merchant ships had joined the second invasion fleet in anticipation of a quick and easy victory and the opportunity for plunder, barter and trade. The defeat of this second invasion fleet did not deter all of those merchants. In fact, a good majority of these traders appear to have remained in Buenos Aires where they were cultivated by the rising liberal classes who were soon to overthrow the Spanish and set up a fledgeling state of their own. So at the very birth of what, after considerably shifting borders and names would ultimately become Argentina, was a professional merchant class of Britons who helped coordinate and facilitate trade in and out of the River Plate delta and particularly to find markets and products back in Britain.

    This was not to say that Argentina's development was a Whiggish march to richness and prosperity over the course of the Nineteenth Century. Gordon Bridger recounts the many pitfalls, difficulties and institutional weaknesses that hampered the country's development, but time and again the role of British investors, experts and businessmen seem to have provided solutions and opportunities that helped overcome many of these hurdles and to turn this former underpopulated and isolated outpost of the Spanish Empire into the richest country in South America and one of the richest in the world by the outbreak of World War One.

    British expertise and finance helped in starting many of the critical industries and infrastructure of Argentina; mining, maritime trade, beef, wool, trains, telecommunications, port facilities, sewage systems, basically all the building blocks of a modern economy. In fact, the author's own background as a United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America shines through in his very clear explanations for the underlying reasons for success and failure of the various industries. It is clear that he understands the concepts of development very well and he communicates them with considerable clarity and skill - with statistics and evidence to back up his statements, but not too many to make the text dry and difficult to read. In fact, the organisation of the book should be thoroughly applauded and complimented. There are very clear chapters with manageable sections which themselves are clearly signposted. There are plenty of supporting images, tables, maps and very clear summaries at the end of each chapter which nicely recap the main points made through the previous chapter. I also like the way the author brings in little pen portraits of various Anglo-Argentines and summarises their successes, challenges and failures. What I particularly like is the range of pen portraits - it is not just those who were rich and powerful who are covered, but they are taken from a variety of social strata and achieved varying degrees of success. Some, but by no means all, come from his own family tree but all the portraits have a purpose and none of them are too long that they detract from the text.

    The author makes it clear that the absolute numbers of British were always a tiny minority of the population, but their influence went well beyond their numerical situation. They tended to direct the formation of institutions, systems or companies and provided key technical and/or financial skill for what was effectively a developing nation. Britain, having had a head start in industrialisation, modernisation and urbanisation had the necessary expertise to help Argentina maximise its own potential. It should be noted that the small British community tended to live a relatively privileged life as their skills, expertise and finance was inclined to be appreciated by the variety of competing rulers, politicians and strongmen who sought to rule the often politically chaotic emerging country. Most British emigrants tried, wisely, to remain out of politics preferring to invest their time and energy into their professions and businesses - but their social impact is not ignored in the book by any means.

    It should be said that these connections were rarely examples of charity, paternalism or for the greater good of humanity. The one theme that definitely runs through the book is the concept of 'self-interest' in that the vast majority of these actors were trying to provide better lives for themselves and their own families, but in doing so often brought about changes which helped establish and occasionally revolutionise various industries, infrastructure and institutions to the benefit of the wider community. Whether it was farmers importing livestock from Britain to improve breeding lines, entrepreneurs building meat packing or refrigeration facilities, engineers building sewage systems or investors providing money to invest in infrastructure projects these were often done for selfish reasons but had a positive effect on the society that they were helping to develop. There was a convergence of skills and products between the two nations as Britain's industrial revolution provided the technology and finance to invest elsewhere whilst Argentina had the land to create the foodstuffs that Britain's growing cities required. By the end of the Nineteenth Century, Britain was overwhelmingly the largest market for Argentina's produce and in return the British provided the largest amount of investment in Argentina.

    Of course, the author makes it clear that it was not merely economic activities that forged these two nations together. The British had a love of sport which they happily brought with them; horse riding, football, rugby, polo, rowing and hockey which all made a successful transition to Argentina (only cricket seems to have escaped the Argentines). Of course, the British were great ones for codifying these sports, setting up leagues and competitions and establishing clubs many of which are still in operation all these years later. I did not realise that the first football league in the world outside of Britain was to be found in Argentina - and interestingly not just played by railway engineers as many suppose - the author helps explain the love of the sport by Anglo bankers and financial workers also!

    Much of the small but generally successful British community also felt obliged to use some of their wealth for philanthropic purposes - charities, libraries, schools, various well meaning societies (including many of the sports clubs already mentioned), hospitals and missionary work were all undertaken to a greater or lesser extent often under a board of trustees, donors or with volunteers from the Anglo-Argentine community. This was an era when earning wealth was regarded as bequeathing obligations to help those less fortunate and not just to use the wealth for your own purposes. These charities and voluntary associations were particularly required in a state that often went through periods of political and social unrest and undoubtedly helped curb some of the excesses of the otherwise ruthless capitalism of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    Ultimately, the Anglo-Argentine community's wish to remain out of politics was to be one of the reasons for their undoing. When Argentina, in the Twentieth Century, adopted universal suffrage, it became all too easy for populist politicians to blame the privileged liberal elite of Argentina, which the Anglo-Argentine community had become identified with (but had little influence over), for any woes and difficulties. The Wall Street Crash of 1929 presaged a collapse in commodity prices that helped start Argentina's chaotic oscillation between military government and populism. The author makes it clear that the economic opportunities presented by the Second World War were squandered by the post-war politics of Peronism which broke many of the mutually beneficial ties between Argentina and Britain as nationalisation, protectionism and industrialisation undermined Argentina's natural comparative advantages in agriculture and trade. It is perhaps no coincidence that the economic success of Argentina was connected to the policies of free trade, openness and investment that characterised the long period of cooperation between Britain and Argentina. Whilst Britain, and her former Dominions like Canada, Australia and New Zealand, retained this commitment to free trade and internationalism and have retained reasonable standards of living and growth, Argentina has unfortunately very much fallen by the economic wayside. If Argentina can perhaps reach back into its own history and rediscover the ingredients to success that it once held, it could perhaps return itself to the relative economic position it once held. Gordon Bridger's book plays an important role in reminding Britons and Argentines alike just how closely their histories were once entwined. In Argentina, Britain discovered the full advantages of 'informal empire' where she had all the benefits of trade, economic opportunity and investment with none of the obligations and costs of governance and defence.