From: Doug Ross @ Journal
In the early 20th century, Argentina was one of the richest countries in the world. While Great Britain 's maritime power and its far-flung empire had propelled it to a dominant position among the world's industrialized nations, only the United States challenged Argentina for the position of the world's second-most powerful economy. It was blessed with abundant agriculture, vast swaths of rich farmland laced with navigable rivers and an accessible port system. Its level of industrialization was higher than many European countries: railroads, automobiles and telephones were commonplace.
In 1916, a new president was elected. Hipólito Irigoyen had formed a party called The Radicals under the banner of "fundamental change" with an appeal to the middle class. Among Irigoyen's changes: mandatory pension insurance, mandatory health insurance, and support for low-income housing construction to stimulate the economy. Put simply, the state assumed economic control of a vast swath of the country's operations and began assessing new payroll taxes to fund its efforts. With an increasing flow of funds into these entitlement programs, the government's payouts soon became overly generous...
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