Mark Healey

Mark Alan Healey, a professor of history at the University of Mississippi.

Recent Articles

Down, Argentine Way

A week before Christmas, the slow-motion collapse of Argentina suddenly turned swift and violent. Two days of rioting brought down the government and left 31 people dead. All but one were killed by gunfire from shopkeepers and police. Some died while shouting political slogans, others while looting food that they had no money to buy. A few died in their homes, hit by stray bullets, and many were killed outside grocery stores. One woman was shot in front of a Wal-Mart. Most of the demonstrators in the streets were young men--the average age of the dead was 22. What led them to revolt? We will probably never know exactly what combination of popular fury, terrified self-defense, political opportunism, and simple larceny drove the uprising. But consider for a moment the life course of a typical young protestor: Born during the last military dictatorship, he would have lived most of his life under a democracy, but one that offered little more than unemployment and social exclusion. When he...

The Costs of Orthodoxy

"En este país está todo mal hecho, pero está tan bien hecho que es indestructible." (Everything in this country is made badly, but it is so craftily done as to be indestructible.) --Argentine President Arturo Frondizi (1960) What a time Argentines had in the nineties, that age of economic marvels. Long-standing corruption and mismanagement seemed to be swept away by a barrage of free-market reforms and a massive influx of foreign capital. Years of hyperinflation and stagnation gave way to a stable peso pegged to the dollar and a solid economy growing at 8 percent annually, apparently untouched by financial crises in Mexico and Asia. Overnight, the perennial underperformer had become the model case of free-market reforms. Everything seemed on track, at last. Ordinary Argentines could trust in and plan for the future. During the last years of President Carlos Saúl Menem's second administration, many spoke admiringly of how he had placed economic policy "on...