It was the culminating statement of Carlos Tomada’s presentation during the Observatory on Latin America’s (OLA) event on Monday, which focused on employment during the financial crisis and its aftermath. After a stint as minister of labor and social security for Argentina from 2003-2013, Tomada has a lot to say on the politics behind the Argentinian labor market. With an introduction by NSPE’s executive dean David Scobey, and a discussion with Tomada and Columbia University professor Jose Antonio Ocampo, “Creating Jobs in a Time of Global Crisis: Lessons from Latin America” presented the case of Argentina as a pacesetter for nations struggling to keep unemployment at manageable levels.
Tomada attributed much of Argentina’s success in the past five years to a focus on upholding job security. Where strict austerity measures have cut social spending and increased unemployment across Europe, Argentina has gone against the grain. In allocating three percent of its gross domestic product from 2008-2009 for use in sustaining social safety nets without cutting public jobs, Tomada argued that Argentina was able to stymie the effects of the recession felt by the people. In a speech warning against certain aspects of the neoliberal financial policies that have guided world markets for decades, Tomada stressed a macroeconomic policy that focused on income in order to alleviate what he termed social debt—or welfare programs that lag behind citizen’s demands.