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Economy and infrastructure



Bank of the Argentine Nation.

High inflation has been a weakness of the Argentine economy for decades. Officially hovering around 9% since 2006, inflation has been privately estimated at over 30%, becoming a contentious issue again. The government has manipulated inflation statistics. The urban income poverty rate has dropped below the numbers of the 2001 economic crisis Income distribution, having improved since 2002, is still considerably unequal. Argentina began a period of fiscal austerity in 2012.

Argentina ranks 100th out of 178 countries in the Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index for 2011. Reported problems include government corruption, lack of judicial independence, huge taxes and tariffs, and regulatory interference that undermines efficiency and productivity growth. The Kirchner administration responded to the Global financial crisis of 2008–2009 with a record public-works program, new tax cuts and subsidies, and the transfer of private pensions to the social security system. Private pension plans, which required growing subsidies to cover, were nationalized to shed a budgetary drain as well as to finance high government spending and debt obligations.

Argentina has, after its neighbour Chile, the second-highest Human Development Index, and the highest GDP per capita in purchasing power terms in Latin America. Argentina is one of the G-20 major economies, with the world's 27th largest nominal GDP, and the 19th largest by purchasing power. The country is classified as upper-middle income or a secondary emerging market by the World Bank.

Science and technology



Argentine satellite SAC-D

Argentina has three Nobel Prize laureates in sciences. Argentine research has led to the treatment of heart diseases and several forms of cancer. Domingo Liotta designed and developed the first artificial heart successfully implanted in a human being in 1969. René Favaloro developed the techniques and performed the world's first ever coronary bypass surgery.

Bernardo Houssay, the first Latin American awarded with a Nobel Prize in the Sciences, discovered the role of pituitary hormones in regulating glucose in animals; César Milstein did extensive research in antibodies; Luis Leloir discovered how organisms store energy converting glucose into glycogen and the compounds which are fundamental in metabolizing carbohydrates. A team led by Alberto Taquini and Eduardo Braun-Menéndez discovered angiotensin in 1939, and was the first to describe the enzymatic nature of the renin-angiotensin system and its role in hypertension. The Leloir Institute of biotechnology is among the most prestigious in its field in Latin America.



Dr. Luis Federico Leloir, one of the five Nobel Prize winners for Argentina.

Dr. Luis Agote devised the first safe method of blood transfusion, Enrique Finochietto designed operating table tools such as the surgical scissors that bear his name ("Finochietto scissors") and a surgical rib-spreader.

Argentina's nuclear program is highly advanced, having resulted in a research reactor in 1957 and Latin America's first on-line commercial reactor in 1974. Argentina developed its nuclear program without being overly dependent on foreign technology. Nuclear facilities with Argentine technology have been built in Peru, Algeria, Australia and Egypt. In 1983, the country admitted having the capability of producing weapon-grade uranium, a major step needed to assemble nuclear weapons; since then, however, Argentina has pledged to use nuclear power only for peaceful purposes. As a member of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Argentina has been a strong voice in support of nuclear non-proliferation efforts and is highly committed to global nuclear security.

In other areas, Juan Vucetich, a Croatian immigrant, was the father of modern fingerprinting (dactiloscopy). Juan Maldacena, an Argentine-American scientist, is a leading figure in string theory. Argentine built satellites include LUSAT-1 (1990), Víctor-1 (1996), PEHUENSAT-1 (2007), and those developed by CONAE, the Argentine space agency, of the SAC series. The Pierre Auger Observatory near Malargüe, Mendoza, is the world's foremost cosmic ray observatory.

Education

Argentina built a national public education system in comparison to other nations, placing the country high in the global rankings of literacy. Today Argentina has a literacy rate of 97,4%, and 16,2% over age 15 have completed secondary school studies or higher.

School attendance is compulsory between the ages of 5 and 17. The Argentine school system consists of an elementary or lower school level lasting six or seven years, and a secondary or high school level lasting between five to six years. In the 1990s, the system was split into different types of high school instruction, called Educacion Secundaria and the Polimodal. Some provinces adopted the Polimodal while others did not. A project in the executive branch to repeal this measure and return to a more traditional secondary level system was approved in 2006.

There are forty-seven national public universities across the country, as well as forty-six private ones. The University of Buenos Aires, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, and the National Technological University are among the most important. Public universities faced cutbacks in spending during the 1980s and 1990s, which led to a decline in overall quality.



Law School, University of Buenos Aires

Transport

Transport in Argentina is mainly based on a complex network of routes, crossed by relatively inexpensive long-distance buses and by cargo trucks. The country also has a number of national and international airports. The importance of the long-distance train is minor today, though in the past it was widely used. Fluvial transport is mostly used for cargo. Within the urban areas, the main transportation system is uy the bus or colectivo; bus lines transport millions of people every day in the larger cities and their metropolitan areas. Buenos Aires additionally has an underground, the only one in the country, and Greater Buenos Aires is serviced by a system of suburban trains.



Tranvía del Este

A majority of people employ public transport rather than personal cars to move around in the cities, especially in common business hours, since parking can be both difficult and expensive. Cycling is not very common in big cities, as there are few bicycle-paths, making it difficult to move with them other than in recreational areas.

Since Argentina is almost 4,000 kilometres long and more than 1,000 km wide, long distance transportation is of great importance. Several toll expressways spread out from Buenos Aires, serving nearly half the nation's population. The majority of Argentine roads, however, are two-lane national and provincial routes and, though they are spread throughout the country, less than a third of Argentina's 230,000 km (145,000 mi) of roads are currently paved.

Though, by 1929, Argentina was already home to over 400,000 vehicles (more than half the total in Latin America, at the time), virtually all long-distance travel was done on the nation's vast railways. Argentina, then, lacked a road-building program until 1932, when the National Highway Directorate was established. Paid for at first with an excise tax on gasoline, the bureau could claim some important accomplishments, like the 1951 opening of the 200 km Santa Fe-Rosario expressway, Latin America's first.



Ministro Pistarini International Airport

Argentina is home to around 9.2 million registered cars, trucks and buses; on a per capita basis, it has long had Latin America's widest accessibility to motor vehicles. Left-lane drivers until 1945, Argentine motorists have since been driving on the right-hand side. The Vehicle registration plates of Argentina are based on a three letters-three numbers per car (with the exception of some trucks) system.

Expressways have been recently doubled in length (to nearly) and now link most (though not all) important cities. The most important of these is probably the Panamerican National Route 9 Buenos Aires–Rosario–Córdoba freeway. The longest continuous highways are National Route 40, a 5000-km stretch along the Andes range and the 3000-km sea-side trunk road National Route 3, running from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia.

Argentine long distance buses are fast, affordable and comfortable; they have become the primary means of long-distance travel since railway privatizations in the early 1990s greatly downsized Argentina's formerly ubiquitous passenger rail service. Competing providers differ little on their time-honoured formula, offering three different services regarding the number of stops and type of seats: the Regular, Semi-cama (semi-bed), and Cama (bed), with Cama being similar to an airline's business class. Some services have also on-board dining, while others stop at restaurants by the road. Long and middle-distance buses cover almost all paved-accessible cities, towns and villages.

Health care



The University of Buenos Aires School of Medicine, alma mater to many of the country's 3,000 medical graduates, annually.

Health care is provided through a combination of employer and labor union-sponsored plans (Obras Sociales), government insurance plans, public hospitals and clinics and through private health insurance plans. Health care cooperatives number over 300 (of which 200 are related to labor unions) and provide health care for half the population; the national INSSJP (popularly known as PAMI) covers nearly all of the five million senior citizens.

There are more than 153,000 hospital beds, 121,000 physicians and 37,000 dentists (ratios comparable to developed nations). The relatively high access to medical care has historically resulted in mortality patterns and trends similar to developed nations': from 1953 to 2005, deaths from cardiovascular disease increased from 20% to 23% of the total, those from tumors from 14% to 20%, respiratory problems from 7% to 14%, digestive maladies (non-infectious) from 7% to 11%, strokes a steady 7%, injuries, 6%, and infectious diseases, 4%. Causes related to senility led to many of the rest. Infant deaths have fallen from 19% of all deaths in 1953 to 3% in 2005.

The availability of health care has also reduced infant mortality from 70 per 1000 live births in 1948 to 12.1 in 2009 and raised life expectancy at birth from 60 years to 76. Though these figures compare favorably with global averages, they fall short of levels in developed nations and in 2006, Argentina ranked fourth in Latin America.


From Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
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