Work Abroad but earn in USD

Monday, June 06, 2005

No Enemies Here

Reader's Comment

I am in danger of making an enemy out of El Expatriado (which would unfortunate because I like his blog very much) but I cant leave it alone:

I am not sure how your real estate dealings took a moral turn...I believe one poster did mention a gringo may pay more and I am afraid this person is right some of the time. However, I was never defending or being rightous about RE here.

My Response

First, let me say that we can disagree without being enemies. I assure you that I do not have an enemies list. I just respond very passionately to defend my positions when I believe I'm right.

I'll tell you how my real estate dealings took a moral turn. When a seller advertises something in the morning paper and then asks a different price when they see the nationality of someone walking through the door, that's a moral choice on their part. Like I said in my example, I hope we would all agree that it would be immoral to ask a Jew to pay more for a home, just because of their race/religion. Well, I believe the same is true with national origin.

Why is it that, as Americans, we're perfectly comfortable saying that when in the United States, there should be no discrimination based on national origin (a principle that has long been codified in our anti-descrimination laws), yet when we step outside our country we accept others doing the same to us? We write it off as "cultural differences". Morally, I believe that practice to be wrong.

If I put an ad in the local newspaper in the U.S. and I advertised a property at a certain price, yet I quoted a different price when individuals of a certain national origin walked in the door -- I would be breaking the law. In my view, I'd also be an immoral person. That's what I'm saying. That's how my real estate dealings took a moral turn.

If you disagree with me, that's fine. All I'm saying is that it is my moral belief that discrimination based on national origin is something that is wrong. When I was living in the U.S., I also didn't believe in profiling people of Middle Eastern origin at airports and I didn't believe in INS roundups of Latin Americans at construction sites either. All of that is discrimination based on national origin. I believe its a moral wrong.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...


Regards the issue of RE and charging newcomers more - agree it's just plain wrong and viewed at a national level against everyone's best interests


Melb Aust - missing BA

6/06/2005 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger ABA said...

Amen brother. I think EXACTLY as you do. It's amazing to me that people have a belief or ideal of the right way things should go, yet when they are outside of the USA they think that it's ok to act a certain way.

My philosophy in life is to treat people exactly how you want to be treated. Whether that is with business, relationships or the general society.

The big problem here in Argentina is no one think about tomorrow. They want to make the most they can today.

Who knows if Argentina can ever change. Maybe not, but I do see things slowly changing. I said it before and I'll say it again. Any serious changes in the business community will be by foreigners like Americans and Europeans that know how to operate ethically and efficiently.

The locals can say what they want about the USA. It's been my experience on a daily basis that a local would much rather deal with an American and American owned company than a locally owned one. The comment I hear on a DAILY basis is, "Please, I want to work with you. You're American and you take business seriously and I trust you because you're American. I can't trust my own people". Sad but true.

6/06/2005 10:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have already experienced the discrimination and I'm not even there yet.

I am going to be staying in a homestay in a few weeks and the university gives students the names of places, their prices, and contact information.
The university listed one host family as 650 pesos per month.
I e-mailed him, he told me all about the place .. nothing too spectacular and I asked him the price for the single room. I told him where I was from in the e-mail, which I think was a mistake. He quoted me $20 U.S. per day, which included all breakfast, some lunch, and all dinners.It comes out to roughly $600 U.S. per month.
I told him I wasn't interested and he has kept e-mailing me, changing the price.Now it stands at U.S $300 per month after telling him i wasn't interested, and it was higher than the quoted price from the university e-mail I received.
It is frustrating.. and the discrimination is outright wrong.
His new price is very reasonable, but who wants to live with someone like that?

6/11/2005 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger ABA said...


You are wise to pass even though the price is good now. Your thinking is exactly correct. Who knows how you could get cheated while you are staying there?! Who wants to do business with someone that operates like this.

It's frustrating dealing with the locals. In fact, I work with several locals and I plan on dumping all of their properties by the end of this year. I'm buying enough properties to only work with American and European owned properties. Of course I might work with the locals that do business properly but the vast majority that I work with are very difficult to work with.

An example. A local property owner will come to me. I will ask them what the minimum number of nights they want to rent out and how much per night they want to charge. They might tell me 5 night minimum at $50/night. Then I will find a client to rent their property and all of a sudden they want a 7 night minimum and $75/night. I can't do business with people like this and usually drop them on the spot.

Also, you will notice that some locals are blatently racist. Look at some popular rental sites. They won't even let you make a reservation without filling out a profile stating where you live and what nationality you are from. Wanna know why they often do this?? Most would never have guessed. Many locals refuse to rent to people coming from certain countries and ethnic groups.

It is really disgusting to me. It should NOT matter where you come from or what ethnic background you are from. I encounter this on a weekly basis from a local that says, "I don't want to rent to anyone from France, Africa, Asia, etc.". I refuse to work with a company like that and so should everyone else.

There is no good reason why a company should ask you what country you are from before they will take your rental request.

6/12/2005 08:06:00 PM  

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