9781586482459 / 1586482459

And the Money Kept Rolling In (and Out): Wall Street, the IMF, and the Bankrupting of Argentina





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About the book:

It's not often--or maybe ever--that a book steeped in emerging-market economic theory reads like a thriller. But And the Money Kept Rolling In (and Out) has cliffhangers and plot twists equal to a detective's tale, as Paul Blustein chronicles the spectacular rise and fall of Argentina's economy at the turn of the 21st century. The book has its flaws, of course, including the author's insistence on using goofy metaphors from the overripe Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Evita (from which the book takes its awkward title). But by and large, Blustein, a staff writer at the Washington Post, tells a cynic's tale of greed run amok on a massive scale.

While policy wonks at the International Monetary Fund had much to do with Argentina's implosion, Blustein also holds the country's own government responsible. Conventional wisdom says that the influence of the world's investors keeps everyone in line--a key tenet of the pro-globalization argument--but in practice, Blustein writes, "foreign funds numbed Argentine policymakers into minimizing the perils of their policies. The effect was similar to a dose of steroids, giving the economy a short-term boost while insidiously increasing the risk of a breakdown in the long run." From that point on, only devastation lay ahead for many average Argentineans, who could no longer remove savings from their banks, and for international investors, who saw their returns vanish in a flash. Blustein effectively makes the case that Argentina wasn't a rare example or a perfect storm of problems, but--bearing "striking parallels" to Enron and other financial scandals of the era--a preview of more meltdowns to come. It's a compelling cautionary tale well worth telling. --Jennifer Buckendorff

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