Argentina in the Twentieth Century

By David Rock | Go to book overview

6
Perón's Policies for Agricultural Exports 1946- 1948: Dogmatism or Commonsense?
JORGE FODORFor more than twenty years Argentina has been in an almost continuous state of economic crisis. Although many different economic policies have been tried out, they have all failed. But instead of searching for a structural explanation for this state of affairs, many of the economists who have analysed the postwar performance of Argentina have been satisfied with blaming a particular government for most of the country's economic difficulties: the government of General J.D. Perón, that lasted from 1946 to 1955. As 1955 becomes more and more distant, this explanation becomes progressively less convincing; not only have the problems remained unsolved, but their complexity seems to increase.An analysis of the main accusations against Perón's economic policies may be valuable and contribute to a better understanding of some of the key problems of Argentine economic history. If these accusations can be shown to be unjustified, the need for a major revaluation of the causes of Argentina's economic problems will become apparent.Some of the most serious criticisms of the economic policies undertaken by Perón's Government have been directed against those aspects connected with the international economy. The following points have been singled out:
1. the 'dissipation' of the foreign exchange accumulated during and immediately after the war;
2. the nationalisation of the foreign-owned railways and the repatriation of the external debt; and
3. the tendency to increase the degree of autarky of the economy by encouraging industry and relatively neglecting agriculture, especially during 1946-8, when external demand for Argentine foodstuffs was high.

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