Dollarizing Argentina

A supporter of Presidential candidate Javier Milei of La Libertad Avanza hold a gigantic fake US dollar bill with Milei's face during a rally on September 25, 2023 in San Martin, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
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Argentina has been on a decades-long search for economic stability, but it always seems to be out of reach. High inflation has been plaguing the country and just surpassed 160% a year.

Over the past couple of years, the local currency has collapsed. One U.S. dollar used to be worth 20 Argentinean pesos in 2018. Today, one U.S. dollar is worth 1,000 pesos on the black market. And that means for Argentineans, the real prices of everything — from groceries to gas — have spiked.

In a country where the local currency is in free fall, promising to replace that currency with the US dollar can seem like a magical solution.

Argentina’s new president, Javier Milei, won in part by promising to do just that – to dollarize. To scrap Argentina’s peso and replace it with the relatively stable, predictable, boring United States dollar.

A black market, a currency crisis, and a tango competition in Argentina

Planet Money

A black market, a currency crisis, and a tango competition in Argentina

On today’s show, what does dollarizing mean? Why dollarize, how to do it, and will it even work?

For more:

  • A black market, a currency crisis, and a tango competition in Argentina (Apple, Spotify, NPR)
  • Venezuela’s Fugitive Money Traders 
  • Why Ecuador Uses The Dollar? : The Indicator from Planet Money

This episode was produced by Sam Yellowhorse Kesler with help from Dave Blanchard and Willa Rubin. It was edited by Jess Jiang. It was engineered by Neisha Heinis and fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money’s executive producer.

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Music: Universal Production Music – “Preguica,” “Mi Milonga,” and “Sin Ti”

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