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sesa3_arg1 - 17.55 Introduction to Latin American Studies...

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17.55, Introduction to Latin American Studies, Fall 2006 Prof. Chappell Lawson Appendix: Argentina Every Argentine, and every scholar who studies Argentina, asks a simple question: What went wrong? As one scholar cynically remarked, Argentina is “a country underdeveloped largely through its own efforts” In 1900, Argentina appears to be on the “British” path to democracy and development Cohesive oligarchy; shown ability to get along with each other (“Generation of 1880”) Republican and parliamentary institutions Gradual enfranchisement of middle and lower classes High living standards; even lower classes in good shape; 1/3 own houses Relative social equality Substantial foreign investment; ~50% of offers on London Exchange are Argentine Seems to be on same track as Canada, Australia, New Zealand It doesn’t turn out that way Coup after Depression Beginning around 1955, economy enters a slump from which it never recovers Politically chaotic; oscillates between quasi-fascist dictatorship, military regime, and weak civilian governments Socially, becomes Latin Americanized; more unequal Hard to blame “the international economic system”; Europeans come and colonize indigenous population. International economy making them rich Canada, Australia, Scandinavia in similar circumstances Argentines not really victims of colonialism like indigenous peoples; most are European immigrants Argentina a country long before most of Europe Hard to blame ethnic cleavages Traditionally, an important explanation There is a cleavage in Argentina, especially after migration from interior in 1930s But this is not much different from many countries o E.g., Italy, Spain And Argentina never faces the sort of ethnic cleavage that existed in other Latin American countries, or even the U.S. South One possibility is culture “God said, ‘“It’s a wonderful country, but I’ll fill it with Argentines’” Possibly cultural barriers to democracy and development o Latin authoritarian tendencies; Catholicism; corporatism; military legacy o Business class lacks “killer instinct”? 1990: “Every Argentine man over the age of forty has, at one time in his life, backed a military coup” But should also apply to Italy, Spain, and other Mediterranean countries o “Argentine is an Italian who speaks Spanish, lives in a French house, and thinks he’s British” Use of the materials should be cited as follows: Chappell Lawson, MIT OpenCourseWare (http://ocw.mit.edu/index.html) course materials for 17.55J/21A.430J/21F.084J (Introduction to Latin American Studies, Fall 2006), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, downloaded on [Insert Date].
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o Argentines surprised when others can tell they aren’t from Europe Most importantly, Argentina looks good for a long time Perhaps peculiar nature of Argentine class structure Class structure definitely shapes political development; everyone knows this
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