Thursday, 5 December 2013

Argentina: A Nietzschean approach to financial services

CI consumer justice expert Antonino Serra Cambaceres explains more about his findings on financial services in Argentina which have been published in our Responsible Lending report.

Frederick Nietzsche, the great German philosopher, taught about something he called the “eternal return” or “eternal recurrence”, meaning that the universe has been recurring and it will continue to recur, showing that time is not linear but cyclical.

It means, in practical terms – and for the peasants – that what has happened will happen again. Humans are the only ones that trip over the same stone, not learning from our mistakes.

This theory fits perfectly with Argentina’s economy and financial matters.

Throughout its history, the country has tripped over the same economic problems - causing  tremendous impacts on consumers.

Twelve years ago, one of the worst economic crises hit Argentina and now, economic indicators and financial instability is crushing the economy again.

In the chapter on Argentina in CI’s publication ‘Responsible Lending: An international landscape’ we show how the ups and downs in the country’s financial history has damaged consumer confidence and consumers’ daily lives.

It recounts periods where there was an explosion of consumption fever pumped by the government, to more recent times where credit cards were being used to pay for basic items such as food or public services.

In this latest scenario, lenders are setting interest rates for credit higher and higher, and consumers are paying more for their – now more common – undue balances, putting families closer to over indebtedness and threatening their futures. In the meantime, bank revenues grew to new records.

So, it seems, the eternal recurrence that has characterised the Argentine economic and financial situations, is here to stay; as we say in the chapter, more Argentines are wondering if they ‘can pay their Visa bill with their Mastercard’.

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