Politics and Beef in Argentina; Patterns of Conflict and Change

Politics and Beef in Argentina; Patterns of Conflict and Change

Politics and Beef in Argentina; Patterns of Conflict and Change

Politics and Beef in Argentina; Patterns of Conflict and Change

Excerpt

The first half of the twentieth century formed a critical stage in the political development of Argentina. At the beginning of the period, power was concentrated in the hands of an aristocratic, landowning elite; by the middle 1940s, power had passed to Juan Domingo Perón, leader of a surging urban lower class. The intervening years were marked by intensive modernization, at least insofar as expanding parts of the country's population came to take part in the political process. In an effort to explore some of the pressures, alignments, and modes of behavior which characterized politics during those years, this book studies the patterns of conflict and consensus relating to the Argentine beef industry between about 1900 and 1946.

The struggles over the production of cattle and beef probably provide as accurate a barometer to Argentina's over-all political climate as any other single issue of the time. Other problems -- such as the wheat industry or organized labor -- are clearly deserving of study, but livestock raising ranks high on the list of importance and priority. Cattle production has been a mainstay of the national economy ever since the Wars of Independence, and the Anglo-Argentine beef trade gained about half of the country's foreign exchange between 1900 and 1942. Stockraising formed the economic base for the enrichment of Argentine estancieros, the backbone of the landed . . .

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