Title

Las Dos Caras de Buenos Aires: Wealth Inequality in Argentina

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

The growing wealth gap in Argentina is affecting virtually every aspect of the society. Tensions between classes are tangible, especially as the political ideology is shifting to the right, and many of the poorer citizens feel abandoned by previous, quasi-socialist governments. In such a volatile period, any efforts to bridge the gap between the lower, middle, and upper class is more important than ever. During my stay in Argentina, I volunteered with a program called Fundacion Si, a program that allowed students and professionals to provide sustenance and assistance to the homeless community of Buenos Aires. We met twice a week, and would split into groups of three, then walk a predetermined route and offer food to people living on the sidewalk. But more than just food, we also provided a human link for these people who so often feel abandoned, as well as medical or legal aid. During my time volunteering, I compiled a series of vignettes documenting conversations I had with some of these people. These vignettes comprise the bulk of my project/research.

I also wrote several short stories/poems/journal style pieces based off of my experience playing rugby, a sport generally associated with the upper class in Argentina, for an especially wealthy club. Many of my teammates (and best friends) belonged to some of the most historically powerful, rich families in the nation, and spending time with them allowed me a glimpse into the opinions and lifestyle of the ultrawealthy in Argentina. To contrast my experience working with the homeless, I will read an excerpt from two of these pieces, which demonstrate this other pole of lifestyle in Buenos Aires. Taken together, my hope is that the pieces represent the humanity I found in everyone, the fundamental characteristics of people, regardless of income or social status.

Category

Social Sciences

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Apr 15th, 2:40 PM Apr 15th, 3:00 PM

Las Dos Caras de Buenos Aires: Wealth Inequality in Argentina

The growing wealth gap in Argentina is affecting virtually every aspect of the society. Tensions between classes are tangible, especially as the political ideology is shifting to the right, and many of the poorer citizens feel abandoned by previous, quasi-socialist governments. In such a volatile period, any efforts to bridge the gap between the lower, middle, and upper class is more important than ever. During my stay in Argentina, I volunteered with a program called Fundacion Si, a program that allowed students and professionals to provide sustenance and assistance to the homeless community of Buenos Aires. We met twice a week, and would split into groups of three, then walk a predetermined route and offer food to people living on the sidewalk. But more than just food, we also provided a human link for these people who so often feel abandoned, as well as medical or legal aid. During my time volunteering, I compiled a series of vignettes documenting conversations I had with some of these people. These vignettes comprise the bulk of my project/research.

I also wrote several short stories/poems/journal style pieces based off of my experience playing rugby, a sport generally associated with the upper class in Argentina, for an especially wealthy club. Many of my teammates (and best friends) belonged to some of the most historically powerful, rich families in the nation, and spending time with them allowed me a glimpse into the opinions and lifestyle of the ultrawealthy in Argentina. To contrast my experience working with the homeless, I will read an excerpt from two of these pieces, which demonstrate this other pole of lifestyle in Buenos Aires. Taken together, my hope is that the pieces represent the humanity I found in everyone, the fundamental characteristics of people, regardless of income or social status.