Economic Problems of Latin America

By Seymour E. Harris | Go to book overview

Chapter IX Argentina

by MIRON BURGIN


I

IN an address delivered at the Instituto Popular de Conferencias in Buenos Aires in August, 1943, Torquato di Tella, a prominent Argentine industrialist, referred to the Argentine industry as one that has "begun wearing long trousers." This characterization was not an expression of wishful thinking by an overzealous nationalist, nor was it prompted by considerations of a political order. It was rather a sober recognition of the fact that the economic development of Argentina has entered a new phase; it expressed satisfaction with the progress of Argentine industry in the past three decades; and it voiced the desires and aspirations of a large and growing sector of Argentine society. Argentine industry has come of age, and that means that this sector of the national economy demands and must receive at least as much attention and recognition as has until now been accorded only to agriculture and cattle breeding.

In most published discussions about Argentina the emphasis is on the agricultural and pastoral industries. Invariably the reader's attention is directed almost exclusively to the agricultural prowess of Argentina. He is told that Argentina is one of the world's largest producers of wheat, maize, and flaxseed, that it is the world's largest exporter of meat, and that it is an important producer of wool. And if in the mind of the reader there is still any doubt left as to the nature of the Argentine economy ir is quickly disposed of by reference to Argentina's exports. Indeed, a very large proportion of Argentine exports is made up of agricultural and pastoral products.

-225-

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