Argentina Has More Psychiatrists Than Any Other Nation on Earth. They might get even busier.
Though Argentina is one victory away from its third World Cup championship, the last twenty years have been tough ones for the proud country when it comes to debt. This week–just as the Lionel Messi-led national team battles for the ultimate glory in Brazil–Argentina’s top finance officials are scrambling to hammer out a court-ordered settlement with investors to avoid a major default. After a decade-long standoff, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month that Argentina must pay $1.5 billion to bondholders at New York hedge fund NML Capital. Back in 2001, Argentina defaulted on $82 billion in sovereign bonds–the largest such default in history.
Depressing stuff, but the South American nation is better equipped to handle it than most. Argentina boasts the highest number of psychiatrists per capita of any country in the world–almost three times as many as in the U.S. So any citizens feeling the weight of the government’s ongoing debt crisis have plenty of willing ears at their disposal (and, one imagines, willing pockets). And after Argentina’s World Cup semifinal win over the Netherlands, the Argentine psychiatrists might think about brushing up on their Portuguese and heading to neighboring Brazil, where the psychiatric business is probably brisk, after Brazil’s catastrophic loss to Germany.