Friday, April 23, 2010

Argentinian corned beef and trigger events‏

Hello FerFal,

I had a couple of questions for you. I grew up eating canned corned beef from the supermarket that was labled "product of Argentina". Some years back, my father told me it was pretty good beef because they are grass-fed and weren't as chemically altered as our beef here in the US. Was he right? Is it still grass-fed, if you know? I buy the Kroger's house brand.

Hi, the timing for your question couldn’t be better.
In an attempt to max. soy production, Argentina is pretty much sacrificing everything else up to the point that we’ll be needing to import meat soon. Soy is currently the most profitable activity, and since due to governmental corruption we have a savage market here, something that could be called brutal capitalism: Soy is the most profitable activity? Perfect! Then it’s the only thing done, no more cows, no more wheat, just soy. Soy needs pesticides that kill everything else and poison the land, causes cancer to people? No problema! They throw that junk all over the country with planes. None of this would be legal in a serious country, but that’s not the case of Argentina with the current K government that, contrary to their communist speech, only cares about taxes and retentions to exportations, so the more money being made, the better.
Read more about this problem…

I wouldn’t worry much about the meat. Yes, its grass fed, but the grass has these toxins all over it, but don’t worry much. Your country sure has controls that ensure a minimum level of toxins. Having said that, I have no doubt that USA food has much less pesticides and toxins in it than anything from Argentina these days. Food that wouldn’t be allowed to be sold in USA or Europe is legally sold here.
Soybeans for example. In Europe its only legal as animal food grade product, not for humans due to the pesticides in it, but here in Argentina its legal and that’s what you eat when you eat a nice healthy vegetarian soybean burger.

The other thing I would like to know is whether you (in your experience of the collapse in Argentina) had some sort of change in understanding that "things would never be the same" as a point in time, or was it a gradual awakening to a changed reality? I remember that your book mentions a school class where the teacher explained that the folks at the base of the pyramid were poor, and that that group included the class the teacher was teaching just then and that it was a profound awakening for many of the students.

Maybe a better way to put the question is, did you have to cope with things changing all at once or a little bit at a time?

thanks and best wishes to you and your family!


Let me clarify this before answering: What you are talking about is not my book, "The Modern Survival Manual".
You are referring to an essay I wrote a few years ago, called “Thoughts on Urban Survival”. This is a lengthy write-up but its not my book. My book is not available on line, and goes much more into depth, covers other subjects as well, not even mentioned in that essay. I wrote the book for people that liked the article and wanted me to write a book, but I didn’t use a single sentence from “Thoughts on Urban Survival”. People had already read that and didn’t seem fair. Of course it covers those topics better and many others, so its safe to say that if you liked the essay, you’ll like the book too.

About your question, the breaking point was the devaluation. When your currency is only worth 33% of what it used to, and inflation soon sets it at 25%, you know things will never be the same. Its true that in that particular social studies class we understood the textbook explanation of different societies, 1st world, 3rd world (or “developing nations” as they now call them) and it was pretty depressing to realize that you know were 3rd world. But on more general terms, the devaluation and the president resigning and escaping in an helicopter, that’s a pretty clear sign that things will never be the same.

At the same time, there are other things you don’t realize but adapt later on, little by little. Crime was what caught most of us by surprise, and that’s why I insist a lot about crime prevention and self defense.

Its simply something normal folks aren’t prepared for and it can ruin your life for good.
Then there a million other little things, social changes, how the landscape of the country changes when the economy goes to hell and never recuperates. An American tourist that I met the other day in the subway told me that what surprised her the most about life in Argentina are all those surreal things that happen here on daily basis; roadblocks, protests, ridiculous crime situations you wouldn’t believe could ever happen for real, the level of corruption, the way people behave in some cases. I thought it was a pretty accurate explanation. Some of the things that happen here on daily basis, you just wouldn’t believe.



Ivan said...

Is this genetically modified soybean that resists round up weed killer?

Monsanto has co-opted governments around the world to allow these products to be allowed into the market without comprehensive safeguards.

Anonymous said...

Hi FerFAL, what I'm most curious about is why hasn't there been a revolution to kick the commies out? I know it's super easy to say from safe behind a computer but I'm very curious why there haven't been instances of armed patriots fighting for what is fair and just?

Is that just an 18th century pipedream?

Norcal said...


We can all see that Buenos Aires has a ton of crime. How about a smaller city that is very calm right now, perhaps 40,000 people? then you live there in a nice house, grow a garden, keep chickens, all on about an acre, surrounded by friendly neighbors.

Isn't that safer than living in a big city like Los Angeles, San Francisco, etc?

Did any smaller cities stay somewhat safe in Argentina, or is the violence everywhere?

Or do you still think the safest thing is to live in the most expensive, secure neighborhoods and suburbs of the larger cities?

Anonymous said...

Your country sure has controls that ensure a minimum level of toxins. Having said that, I have no doubt that USA food has much less pesticides and toxins in it than anything from Argentina these days.

I highly doubt it. We have these controls on paper, but they are barely enforced. The agencies (FDA and USDA) in charge of overseeing these things are not only corrupt, but claim to be to be too underfunded and understaffed to carry out regular safety inspections. Even the official "certified organic" label is a joke, as the government still allows "organic" products to use X number of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. You can't even blame the bad economy on this one as these agencies have been corrupt since before I was born.

Anonymous said...

This is the same kind of policies we are running in the USA. The think the earth is a mass production factory and it's not. Farmers are not rotating crops they are using chemical fertilizers and pesticides to keep the soil producing. I'm a conservationist not an environmentalist but we are setting up a "Dust Bowl" situation again. Damn why can't we learn or at least make new mistakes?

Maldek said...

"Is that just an 18th century pipedream?"

My humble opinion on the subject.
The mass of people in south america so dirt poor, you have no idea if you never been here.

These people are many.
If you have 6 kids and no money and no food for your family how much would you care about what happens with the pension funds of "the middle class"?

Now Argentina as the richest country in south america at least HAS a middle class. It may be smaller now, perhaps declining but most countries here dont even have that. 95% of the people are so dirt poor that they are happy to have enough to eat. They wouldnt have the money to let a broken hand or leg fix at a hospital for example. Or if they get shool bags as a gift from say germany they wouldnt have books to put into it...

Then there are 4% somewhat ok people (like doctors) who would live like the lower classes in EU/USA. Meaning unbelievable rich compared to the poor, maybe even owning a car.

Then there is 1% of ultra rich people with lots and lots of land (many 1000 acres) and their private properties, guarded by private armies. These are the ones ruling the country. Everything else is just a show, at least in this area latin america and the US have much in common.

Anonymous said...

Hi FerFAL, I am curious about what is being sprayed besides glyphosate based herbicides? Glyphosates are not suppose to hurt mammals or fish, though they do harm birds. In one of my genetics labs we testes the mutagenic effects of glyphosates and were unable to induce mutations using it.

The article you posted acts as if glyphosates make the sky fall, but they are supposed to be very safe unless you are drinking undiluted Roundup. Imazapic is supposed to be equally safe, as is n-Nonanoic acid (Pelargonic acid). These interact with plant-specific proteins and the lab studies I read stated little to no interaction with mammal tissues.

Is this really causing problems or is something else the cause? If these compounds are having bad effects on people, it isn't only "developing nations" that would need to rethink their herbicide tactics.

Anonymous said...

Growing up my dad always said that corned beef in Argentina was made by feeding the cattle and gradually drawing away their water until they neared dehydration before slaughter. He said it caused the cattle to be particularly lean. Are the cattle really fed that way? Based on what you wrote, I think the answer is no but I'd like to know for sure. If this isn't true, why is corned beef only imported into the U.S. and Canada. Its not like there aren't beef farms there.