Reflections on Argentina’s Economic Growth and Recovery, by Michael Cohen
My New School colleague Michael Cohen’s new book Argentina’s Economic Growth and Recovery: The Economy in a Time of Default provides the first detailed account in English of one of the remarkable episodes in recent economic history. Cohen’s rendering of 21st century Argentine political economy is detailed, nuanced, filled with summaries of political debates and standoffs and with a rich appreciation of the unequal ways in which the economic benefits are shared as the Argentine economy recovered from its macroeconomic collapse in 2001.
The book is a fast-paced (at times blow-by-blow) account, of macroeconomic extremes in terms of debt, exchange rates, government budget and trade balances and fiscal and monetary policy in Argentina. But when I finished reading the book (and took a big exhale) what struck me — not an expert on Argentina by any stretch — were the many ways that the Argentine experience contradicts the conventional economic wisdom. Without much explicit attention to issue of conventional economic wisdom (other than the attack on World Bank and IMF structural adjustment policies imposed on Argentina in the 1990s), Cohen’s account nonetheless forces us to think critically about some widely-held views in economics and especially development economics. Let me describe seven different ways in which Argentina’s experience in the 21st century should make us revisit some of the accepted aspects of economic wisdom.
To continue reading Will Milberg’s review of Argentina’s Economic Growth and Recovery by Michael Cohen, click here.