Argentine austerity takes its toll on academia as economy sputters


REUTERS – Argentine teachers and their students took to the streets in capital Buenos Aires on Friday (September 07), as part of a protest calling on the government to do more to sure up education amidst crippling austerity.

South America’s number two economy is in the throes of an austerity drive as the conservative government of President Mauricio Macri grapples with a plunging peso and double-digit inflation. With the government seeking to cut spending, teachers are demanding an increase in pay to offset inflation and students want more public investment in universities.

To assuage concerns of a flailing economy, Buenos Aires has turned to the IMF (International Monetary Fund) for a a $50 billion dollar standby loan agreement. In return, the government has committed itself to eliminating its primary fiscal deficit next year.

But Argentina’s IMF deal has proven itself to be unpopular with much of the public. Punctuated by a 2002 debt default that tossed millions of middle-class Argentines into poverty, many blame the IMF and conservative economic policies for the current state of the economy.