President of Argentina speaks at Harvard forum
Published: Friday, September 28, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 28, 2012 08:09
Argentinian President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner last night delivered a public address on the global economy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Fernández touched upon the state of her home country, which she claimed has been strengthened by recent administrations.
“If you compare Argentina today with how it was in 2001 or 2003 — a country with no strong leader, with people rallying against their politicians and unemployment rates around 35 percent — much has been transformed for the better since then,” she said.
In the past decade, Argentina has experienced unprecedented debt reduction, created five million jobs and become the country with the highest minimum wage in Latin America, she said.
Nonetheless, Argentina’s financial growth has stalled somewhat in the past year. Fernandez said that this is to be expected in an increasingly interconnected global environment, and she urged nations to react to this reality accordingly.
“We need to join efforts in the international community in order to overcome this crisis, which is clearly becoming political in nature,” she said. “We need to come up with global instruments that are not the ones we currently have.”
Fernández claimed that nations would have to adopt policies that are significantly different than those of organizations like the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization, which she believes have not been able to operate effectively in the global economy for the past decade.
She added that economic policies would have to be dramatically overhauled in nations as debt-ridden as Greece and Spain.
“Sooner or later we’ll have to see a major debt restructuring in these crisis-struck nations,” she predicted. “The situation is that urgent.”
Fernández explained that this type of ingenuity must be displayed not just in the global economy, but also by organizations such as the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which Argentina is set to join in 2013.
“[The UNSC] has lost its ability to operate effectively in today’s world,” she said. “The world in which it was founded ... is over. Today there are different circumstances and different problems which we have to react to.”
She ended her speech on an optimistic note, stressing that economic and political challenges can be confronted effectively as long as nations are open to fresh ideas.
“It’s very unlikely that the same medicine that caused the disease will also cure the patient,” she said. “You either have to get rid of the medicine, or the doctor, or both.”