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Bad Debt Museum

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05/05/2005

I think the state of economics - never mind the economy - in Argentina may be parlous indeed. This description of a "Debt Museum" opened in the economics department of the University of Buenos Aires gives me the impression of simplification reduced to metaphor - and inapposite metaphor at that.

The policies of the IMF are rightly criticized, but with a kitchen containing bare cupboards? The "black hole" exhibit, into which debt repayments are supposed to have "disappeared" actually went to creditors, which included governments, tycoons, widows, and orphans in countries all over the world (to whom "Argentina" has become a synonym for "deadbeat").

Museums, I thought, are supposed to educate by illustration. In view of the subject, even without local political preferences, the failure of this one seems foregone. The only bad part would be if anyone were to visit it, and try to draw understanding from it.

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