Keeping Argentina a Secret
There was a comment just posted to my previous post about the Washington Post article. I wanted to repost it here and then comment.
Interesting article. Part of me doesn't like seeing this stuff, but I suppose it's good for BA at the end of the day, which is good. The average person attracted to BA by reading this story in the Washington Post has got to be preferable to the avergae person attracted there by reading the recent story in New York Magazine.
Buenos Aires Is No Longer A Secret
Over the last three years (but especially over the last 6 months) there have been so many stories about Buenos Aires and how it is really making a comeback -- and becoming an expat paradise. The fact is, the secret is out. I suppose you could consider me and everyone else blogging about Buenos Aires as part of "the problem", since there are hundreds of people reading this blog everyday, figuring out what a great place Buenos Aires is.
I don't think it really makes sense to try and keep it a secret though. If you look around the world at the type of people who usually emigrate, the vast majority are economically distressed people at the bottom of the society's social ladder. The well-off are not usually anxious to leave a country that's allowed them to do well. This is why you'll see countries with reactionary anti-immigrant politics as they attempt to keep out the "foreign hordes" of uneducated people who flock to a country in search of better opportunity.
Why We're Coming
What's happening here in Buenos Aires is a different animal, however. You have a lot of unskilled immigrants coming here, sure, but you also have a lot of successful and well-off people who are coming here. They're doing this not because they want to be paid more (because that won't happen), but because they like the lifestyle and the culture. I really disagree a lot with what the Argentine in the Washington Post article said about how people are coming here just for the cheap living. That is certainly a part of the equation, but by no means the main reason. If we all wanted cheap living, we could all just move to Bombay. The reason people are here is because of the culture, not in spite of it.
Argentines have nothing to fear from the expats who are coming here. Although perhaps this will be obvious to most readers of this blog, I will point out that immigration and emigration flows have long been used by historians and economists as a barometer of a country's performance and success. When a country has large inflows of people, it means it is doing something right. When there are large outflows of people, you know that things have gotten so bad that people have to leave. The fact that there are so many people from the U.S. and Europe who are flocking here is something that Argentines can be proud of.