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Abstract

Post-crisis Argentina is a case study of crisis management through debt restructuring. This article examines how Argentina negotiated the external debt in the wake of the sovereign default in December 2001 and now confronts challenges posed by holdout creditors—the so called “vulture funds”. It argues that debt restructuring has put a straitjacket on the national economy, making it virtually impossible for healthy growth short of a break with the international economic order. While Argentina has successfully restructured a $95 billion debt with an unprecedented “hair cut” (around 70% reduction in “net value of debt”), a sustainable growth appears out of reach as long as reliance on the government debt market prevails. In this cycle, the transmission belt of financial crisis to developing countries is characterized by the entry of highly speculative players such as hedge funds, conflicts of interests embedded in “sovereign debt restructuring” (SDR) and vulnerabilities associated with “emerging market debt”.

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