Fighting Poverty with Bad Statistics: The Politicization of the Argentine Census


In beginning my research (to be outlined soon), I have run into the first manifestation of what will probably be a reoccuring problem.  For those of you who don’t read spanish, this article briefly outlines several of the statistics published by the INDEC (the Argentinian Census Bureau) that show a marked decrease in the number of poor, impoverished, and indigent in the country.

However, the methodoligy used to collect and analyze this data is suspect, showing what is more likely to be a willful tweaking of the numbers rather than better economic performance or the success of government anti-poverty programs.

Example:  The price of a basket of basic goods needed to survive, a common tool used to measure poverty, was recently listed by the INDEC at 1000 pesos a month.

Problem 1: Average Market Price as well as analysis conducted by other government organs and private groups list this price at much closer to 1600 pesos.

Problem 2: The poverty line used by the government to distribute resources is around 800 pesos per household per month.  This means a family AT the poverty line can only purchase roughly half of the necessary goods to survive.

Problem 3: The poorest 20% on less than 250 pesos a month. The poorest 10% of the population live on 170 pesos or fewer a month.  That is 10% of the price of a basic basket of goods needed to survive.

note: I am having trouble locating what specifically is included in the basket.  Historically, these are food, shelter, and clothing.

See You In Cooperstown, DJ.


a loss on the night, but still up 7.5 over boston in the east.

In light of Buenos Aires' lack of feta, yogurt, and vegetables.


I found this to be particularly delicous sounding given the lack of food-stuffs other than pasta, beef, and various other bread-and-meat combinations.

great food, your inbox.


If I were in the U.S., I’d be using it.

A church off the Plaza de San Martín.  José Francisco de San Martín Matorras was like Simón Bolívar, except he did his liberating from the south, including Perú, Chile, and Argentina, while Bolívar came from the north.  They famously met at Guayaquil, Ecuador, which you may recognize as the namesake my apartment building’s cross-street.

This church was built a mile off the city’s port, during a major period of construction in the second half of the 19th century.  For a period, the entire plaza was dominated by two rich families—one of which built the church along side it’s renaissance-inspired palace, the other a mini-replica of the Llouve a couple hundred meters away in which each member of the family had their own wing.  When a 16th century-esque intermarriage between the two families linked the bloodlines, the plaza became a private, multiple-thousand-square-foot, patio.  Oh, wealth.

a couple shots from the balcony outside my room.  You’re looking at downtown Caballito, the corner of Avenida Juan Maria Moreno and Guayaquil.  downsides include traffic at all hours that makes midtown manhattan sound like the bottom floor of the carleton library.  upsides include sweet wrought iron and a nice breeze.

Air Rotor System


Funny-Shaped, Bat-Safe, Energy-Producing, Balloons.

The Air Rotor System is one of the many innovations in alternative energy.  Basically a helium balloon shaped like a turbine, the system was developed by Magenn to address many of the obstacles to coventional wind turbines—including interference with animals, finky winds, storage of produced energy, and price.

The Air Rotor System has particular implications for “mini-grids” in developing nations or communities that lack basic energy infrastructure or efficient grid access like islands, and rural farms and hospitals/clinics.  Check it out.

538.com on Foreign Aid


the most striking paragraph:

"From Senegal at the top of the group to Sierra Leone at the bottom, income, health and education indicators — in part linked with the UN’s Millenium Development Goals — have improved. Cases of famine, civil war, economic turmoil and so forth have stalled or caused declines in many countries however, resetting the development path, such as in Rwanda, DR Congo or Chad. In the larger realm, however, the small advances that have occurred have been quite small. Between 1975 and 2005, HDI in least developed countries has increased at a rate of about 0.028 points per ten years. In other words, if the developed world were held stagnant at 0.95 (about the current level of Spain or the U.S.), it would take about 188 years for the least developed world to catch up."