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Argentine Industrialization: A Critique of the Liberal and Dependentist Schools

Analytical Gains of Geopolitical Economy

ISBN: 978-1-78560-337-2, eISBN: 978-1-78560-336-5

Publication date: 7 January 2016


We aim to analyze the early trajectory of Argentine industry from the perspective of uneven and combined development. Argentine integration into the world market based on the export of agricultural goods had not neglected industrial development. At first, Argentine industry benefited from its late emergence and rapidly followed the path of leading countries’ manufactures. But initial advantage soon turned into a liability. The emergence of large-scale industry required expanded markets that were already occupied by older and stronger competitors. The 1930 crisis and the impact of the Second World War aggravated this problem. Attempts to remedy the situation – an export-led industrialization scheme and an internal-market-oriented economy – failed successively. We study this process through the analysis of Argentine industrial chambers’ journals, reports from the United States Department of Foreign Trade and Argentine official government documents. We find that the export-led industrialization project failed because of the weakness of Argentine industries and not because of economic nationalism. That was the outcome of the previous failure of liberal projects and of the international constraints imposed by the Second World War and its aftermath. During this later period of internal-market-oriented economy, the gap between Argentine and international productivity widened. This paper presents an innovative interpretation that transcends liberal and nationalistic explanations and serves as a case study of the implications of uneven and combined development.



Sartelli, E. and Kabat, M. (2016), "Argentine Industrialization: A Critique of the Liberal and Dependentist Schools", Analytical Gains of Geopolitical Economy (Research in Political Economy, Vol. 30B), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 227-254.



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