The foreign exchange market in the spotlight. Transition to unification

Director's letter

Martín Reydó

Fundar came to light in 2021. At that time we pointed out a vacant task in Argentina: to expand and strengthen the policy agenda, making the best use of expert advice in public dialogue and aiming for the country' sustainable and inclusive development. In other words, we believed that in post-pandemic Argentina there was room to propose a union between the expertise of policy makers and the knowledge of practitioners who research the country's strategic topics. We believed that the connection between these spheres was until then scarce and intermittent, but not completely broken. We also announced that Fundar was coming to play a key role in its reconstruction.

We mapped out the political space we inhabited, the one between a progressive and a developmentalist tradition. And pointed out that it was not addressing many key issues (and preferred to sweep them under the carpet). In previous yearbooks, we mentioned the importance of the relationship between productivity and collective bargaining agreements, the agenda of state capacities, the need for inclusive labor reforms, the need to rethink the use of natural resources or the onerous industrial regimes that did not install the productive capacities they promised (and cost). The two central aspects of the original diagnosis —this dialogue of the deaf between technology and politics, and the chronic lag in addressing strategic issues— have worsened in recent years.

However, far from discouragement, Fundar seeks to address pending agendas, issues postponed by the urges of immediacy, and by discomfort. It is always easier to sweep these topics under the carpet and rest, as we have heard on more than one occasion, the idea that it simply "can't be done", that "it is not the time", or that we should "wait until the next midterm election". Fundar was born to unsettle the core values of these traditions we feel part of, to face what we have delayed for too long.

Fundar aims to be a beacon for sustainable and inclusive development. Regardless of the governing party, our agenda encompasses a set of concerns and proposals that have not yet found a political counterpart willing to take it into action. In recent years, we have been writing a script that still lacks its main actors. Lacking that element without which intentions remain ambitions in a working document.

Our initial diagnosis still stands: the State needs a reconstruction as much as the country needs a plan. A proposal without the instruments to carry it out is a strategic plan that —once again— sleeps the sleep of the righteous. Reconfiguring these lost state capacities cannot be accomplished without a programme. We have to rebuild the State based on a plan for the Nation. Argentina needs to think and map out its place in the world. For this purpose, the political tradition of which we feel part has to dare to question the Gordian knots, to place forbidden issues at the center of public debate, to update doctrines and, above all, to build a transformation agenda suited for its time. Transformative and forward-looking. A path that abandons the defense of the status quo.

Given the current state of affairs, in the upcoming year, think-tanks such as Fundar will enter unknown territory. The novelty is radical, although based on a familiar antinomy: the relationship between political savoir-faire and technical expertise. We are facing a new scenario of pure anti-political capabilities that present themselves as the exact opposite of the outgoing administration. In this context, our goal of a policy that guides and is guided by technical skills seems even more complex to achieve now than in 2021. But we also have the peace of mind of knowing that we are not alone, that during these years we have woven a network of local and international relationships with third sector organizations, with universities, with political leaders who have the whole future ahead of them. Argentine society, even in critical times, is unwilling to consent to the abrogation of the values that bind it together.

How can we capitalize on lessons learned under this new scenario? The task that imposes itself is to build what Fundar seeks to represent. Political representation has always had a performative component. Since we invented our own tradition (the fusion between developmentalism and progressivism), now we are left with the difficult task of embodying it, of giving it entity by finding concrete actors and by creating a scenario that helps renew the cast. The years ahead are propitious for union, for reestablishing broken and intermittent dialogues. A year of critical balances begins with the will to regenerate for the future. This task demands a meeting with the cadres —both political and technical— who share the same passion for the development of the country, but who expressed it from different political standpoints. We hope that Fundar will be the center of this delayed conversation, which is now more necessary than ever.

Because Argentina remains the same. Because the agenda of worsening problems is the same today as it was yesterday.

Because everything remains to be done.