Flickr/alykat

Good luck!

Without enough money to pay all his city employees their regular wages, the mayor of a small town in central Argentina has implemented a money-saving plan that's equal parts desperation and spin. Instead of laying people off or implementing furloughs, the mayor has instituted a weekly raffle wherein the winners receive their pay. The losers receive nothing.

The economy has been declining in the town of Bialet Masse, home to about 5,000 people and a modest tourism industry. Funding from the provincial government has dwindled in recent years as the entire country's economic growth has faltered. With few options at his disposal, Mayor Gustavo Pueyo got creative.

The first raffle took place last Friday, and 23 of the town's 92 employees received their pay, according to Agence France-Presse. Another raffle was scheduled for Monday.

It's unclear whether repeat winners will be allowed, but one could imagine a ruinous spell of bad luck for some employees whose numbers never seem to hit.

Cities all over the world are having trouble making ends meet. Some, like San Bernardino, have declared bankruptcy, while others like Detroit have been kicking the can down the road with last-minute moves to make payroll. Countless government agencies have instituted unpaid furlough days in an effort to trim costs. Few cities have resorted to a raffle, though.

But more could soon follow. Mayor Pueyo says the raffle idea has been approved by national mayoral authorities. And while it's not likely popular with city employees in Bialet Masse, the raffle may be at least a slightly better alternative to no one getting paid at all.

Photo credit: alykat/Flickr

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    Why Are Little Kids in Japan So Independent?

    In Japan, small children take the subway and run errands alone, no parent in sight. The reason why has more to do with social trust than self-reliance.

  2. Environment

    The Story of the Great Lakes in 8 Maps

    The book Third Coast Atlas seeks to illuminate the Great Lakes—America’s “third coast”—through maps, plans, photos, and more.

  3. Climate Change

    Built-Out Barcelona Makes Space for an Urban Forest

    The city is planning a major green makeover to combat the heat island and create a more welcoming place for humans and animals alike.

  4. Downtown Roanoke is pictured.
    Life

    The Small Appalachian City That’s Thriving

    Roanoke, Virginia, has become what many cities of its size, geography, and history want to be. It started by bringing housing to a deserted downtown.

  5. A mural at a restaurant in the Mexican Town district of Detroit
    Life

    How Place Shapes Our Politics

    Political scientist and author Ryan Enos explains how geography can sharpen political conflicts.