This was December 20, 2001, a Thursday. That afternoon, several people were killed by police in front of the executive office building, known as the Pink House, and President Fernando de la Rúa resigned and fled the capital in a helicopter. In the days that followed, Argentina would cycle through four more presidents and default on debts totaling $155 billion. Unemployment would soar to 25 percent, and local governments, unable to pay their workers, would simply invent and print their own currencies. It was the beginning of the worst financial crisis in Argentina's history—and by some estimations the worst peacetime financial crisis in the history of the world.
Later, we walk along Central Park South toward the Ritz-Carlton, where Fuks was staying, Fuks lights a cigarette and looks out on the park, admiring the view. "I really think the U.S. is a model society," he says. "Look at you: You're a journalist. You can't afford a private jet, but you can get married, maybe have kids. If you were a journalist in Argentina, you'd be making $1,000 a month, and the only way you could make more would be to write what the government tells you to. In America, anybody can be anything."
1997 Asian financial crisis - Wikipedia
Of course, this was a self-serving suggestion, but it's one I heard a lot in Argentina, and I think the advice has some merit. If American business owners are truly worried about the long-term prospects of the U.S. economy, they should be doing what the Argentines do: looking outside their borders to find markets in which there is less uncertainty—or at least different kinds of uncertainty.
Latin America since the mid-20th century - …
Bilinkis is a man who takes his responsibility to society seriously, but he admitted to me that when he sold the company, the thought of hiding the proceeds from the sale in a foreign bank account flitted through his mind. Every few years, Argentina's tax authorities, desperate for more revenue, announce a tax amnesty, allowing wealthy individuals who have evaded taxes to report their income and pay as little as 1 percent in tax instead of the standard 35 percent income tax. Bilinkis paid the full rate. "I felt like such an idiot," he says. "I knew at some point there was going to be a tax moratorium."
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In the months that followed the 2001 financial crisis, Bilinkis's company slowly recovered. Brazil, which had been widely expected to follow Argentina into crisis, avoided serious financial turmoil, and Officenet's sales continued to grow there. Just three years after his darkest moment in business, Bilinkis negotiated the sale of Officenet to Staples. Bilinkis won't say how much money he made, but he clearly did all right. He lives in a penthouse apartment in one of the city's ritziest neighborhoods, and last February, he took his kids to the Super Bowl in Dallas and cheered for the Packers. He left Officenet last year and is now investing money in local start-ups and mentoring entrepreneurs.
15th century – tudors & other histories
Though companies that do not pay taxes sometimes profit from their crime, the decision to cheat can hobble them in the long run. Because she does business in an unlicensed building, the wholesaler I met would have to offer a discount to a buyer if she ever tried to sell her company. "Entrepreneurs who do business in the black will never be able to sell their companies," says Carlos Adamo, one of Santiago Bilinkis's first investors and a founder of Aconcagua Ventures, a seed investment fund in Buenos Aires. This creates a Catch-22: If a company wants to become large and eventually be sold, it must pay its taxes. But paying those taxes makes it difficult to compete with smaller competitors, who cut corners and can price accordingly. "You are competing with restrictions that your competitors don't have," Bilinkis says. "To do the right thing is hard."
Posts about 15th century written by Minerva Casterly
She may be right, but by choosing not to pay, she is helping to drive rates up further for those who do. According to the World Bank, taxes on commercial profits in Argentina add up to an effective maximum rate of 108 percent. (Believe it or not, six countries—Congo, Burundi, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, and the tiny island nation of Comoros—have higher rates.) "The worst part is, I don't feel like I'm doing something wrong," she says. "I can't do anything else."