root reasons for Argentina's decline

Nov 2010
96
Is it my understanding that three of the biggest factors in at least starting Argentina's decline are that a) Argentina (along with Uruguay) received a huge influx of impoverished European immigrants who weren't on the whole as quickly integrated as their counterparts in the US, Canada, etc., leading to much labour unrest, among other things, b) the enaction of the Sáenz Peña Law in 1912 for native-born, male citizens which was progressive for Latin America but not as progressive as that law's developed-world counterparts, and c) the presence of a Prussian-trained army - plus the reaction of the traditional conservative elite (during the Great Depression - with the 1930 coup) towards these developments?

In other words, was it basically that Argentina (with a political and legal system based ultimately on that of the Spanish and an army trained by the Prussians rather than, say, the British), as a major settler country, was "trying" to imitate major anglophone settler countries like the US, Canada, or Australia and yet it was stuck in its "Latin American" self in terms of the slow integration of the immigrants and consequent labour unrest, as well as the adverse reactions of the conservatives, and thus it's backfired on Argentina ever since?

Of course, from these developments, one thing lead to another - e.g. 1930 coup to Peronism (including Peron's clumsy attempts to correct the problems caused by the above factors) to Ongania to the Dirty War, etc. etc.

Other Latin American countries, like Chile, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico, didn't get as many European immigrants or quite as much British capital, didn't enact progressive universal suffrage laws quite as early, and all had Prussian-trained armies and Iberian-style political/legal systems; and they haven't had heartbreaking declines the way that Argentina has had. To summarize, is it the factors above that have made Argentina's economic trajectory different from that of the other Latin American countries?
 
Nov 2012
1,700
Coups are absolutely terrible for the well-being of countries, and many problems can likely be traced to them.
 
Nov 2010
96
Let's just put it this way: What was unique about Argentina vis-a-vis other Latin American countries which caused Argentina to drop so precipitously from First World country in the early-mid 1900s to Third World country after the mid-1900s? Was it that Argentina got more immigrants than other LatAm countries (and many of these immigrants, who were working class, didn't become citizens for some time, and were excluded from the political process for that time - much fuel for labour activism and unrest)? Was it that Argentina lacked a rural peasantry, in contrast with Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, etc.? Was it that the urban working-class element was forming a coalition with the political elite under Peron (because of the lack of a peasantry)? Was it Peron as a unique personality?
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,010
Italy, Lago Maggiore
The "Década infame" is the key to understand. The British Empire, following the general protectionism of the entire world, declared it would have helped importation from colonies. Argentina accepted to give away the railways to stay in the British economical orbit [Argentina exported meat to UK]. See the pact Roca-Runciman.

The internal repression didn't allow to some forces to enter the government [for example the Union Civica Radical].

The new economical model, created in that period, the "Industrialización por Sustitución de Importaciones" wasn't suitable for the context of South America.

To say all Peron was the guy to stop Argentina [quite typical of populist leaders, we have known something similar with Berlusconi in Italy].

The beginning was great: Argentina had credits with European powers [overall UK]. But UK didn't pay, Peron used those credits to but societies, firms ...

With this the export of European countries fell down so that the internal market of Argentina grew more and more.

It was the welfare state. But in the long term that model was a real killer:

it wasn't sustainable. Simply Peron used public money to give benefits to workers, to nationalize railways, societies ... but without making a deficit spending to invest in productive systems [it's the expansion effect of deficit spending which was missing in Argentina in those years].

When US started the Marshal Plan, limiting Argentina access to agricultural European market, at the end Peron was forced to create foreign debt, and that was the beginning of the end.
 
Nov 2010
96
Peronist Argentina vs. Varguist (Vargas) Brazil

I'm just trying to figure out why Argentina but not Brazil has been in such free-fall since around 1950, of which Peron and his policies are largely to blame: It seems to me that a primary difference between Vargas of Brazil and Peron of Argentina (both populist leaders at least attempting to cater to the urban working classes) is that Vargas had to work against a highly regionalized and geographically fragmented country with a huge proportion of rural poor illiterates and/or peasants whereas Peron was in a country at that point unified nationally (after all, Argentina being geographically smaller and more compact than Brazil, and more highly developed at the time) and having an urban working class but hardly anything in the way of a poor, largely-illiterate peasantry. Right? In other words, were these differences in the national contexts such that Peron carried out his program successfully to the point of engendering widespread national opposition early on (and polarizing Argentina in the process) whereas Vargas had relatively more obstacles? Is it that sort of difference that explains why Argentina has had much economic/social instability in the decades since, whereas Brazil has had more muted such instability and has thus been humming along more than Argentina from then till now?
 
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PM96

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
4,676
California
Yeah I'll go with the military dictatorship and the defeat in the Falklands War.
 

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,672
Cornwall
Decline from what?

I just dug into a book on the history of Argentina before it defeated me with boredom. But the history of the country has been one long series of ups and downs and factional political fighting.
 
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AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,010
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Brazil was more polarized than Argentina [Communists made even an attempt of coup in the 30's].

While in Argentina there was still the "Década infame" and Peron was just coming, Vargas had already taken a fundamental decision which avoided that him followed the populist way to manage the nation chosen by Peron: Brazil felt a lot the influence of the US and decided to enter WW II. The cooperation with America to prepare the expedition to Europe and the economical connections [and benefits] created by this context, changed the orientation of the public opinion about Fascism and an eventual authoritarian closed system.

may be this was the pivotal period which generate the difference.
 

Tairusiano

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
2,975
Brazil
Brazil was more polarized than Argentina [Communists made even an attempt of coup in the 30's].

While in Argentina there was still the "Década infame" and Peron was just coming, Vargas had already taken a fundamental decision which avoided that him followed the populist way to manage the nation chosen by Peron: Brazil felt a lot the influence of the US and decided to enter WW II. The cooperation with America to prepare the expedition to Europe and the economical connections [and benefits] created by this context, changed the orientation of the public opinion about Fascism and an eventual authoritarian closed system.

may be this was the pivotal period which generate the difference.
True in my opinion Brazil was more polarized than Argentina
In my opinion Vargas was a better politician than Peron
Vargas proved to be more adaptable he faced a great civil war (until then the power of state elites was immense they ruled their states as if it were their personal farms)
and several coup attempts (a comunist and a Fascist)
the Second World War and pressure from, pro allies and pro axis factions
 
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