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Eternal Debts

"Everything . . . everything changes." So goes the refrain in a famous Argentine song. But actually, in Argentina everything stays the same or becomes worse.

Heraclitus's warning against bathing in the same sea twice is lost on our economic ministers, who insist on bathing regularly in contaminated waters. Whenever they go bathing, they follow the same path, first raising concerns over what will happen if Argentina pays back its foreign debt, and then inevitably paying back the debt under strong pressure from the International Monetary Fund and the US.

Sometimes, Argentine negotiators respond to international bond owners, who harass the government in an effort to force payment on what cannot be paid. By playing this endless game, our ministers leave for tomorrow what they lack the courage to face today, knowing full well that this ruse will end tragically for Argentines.

The sagacious historian and politician Arturo Jauretche liked to say, "It's not about changing our collar; it's about ceasing to be a dog." His companions, however, remain unconvinced and seem resigned to failing to find an alternative to the neo-liberal taxation model for paying the foreign debt. They believe we will be condemned to the abyss unless we accept rules created by the world's powerful.