The Politics of National Capitalism

Peronism and the Argentine Bourgeoisie, 19461976

By (author) James P. Brennan, Marcelo Rougier

Paperback - £28.95

Publication date:

15 December 2012

Length of book:

248 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271035727

In mid-twentieth-century Latin America there was a strong consensus between Left and Right—Communists working under the directives of the Third International, nationalists within the military interested in fostering industrialization, and populists—about the need to break away from the colonial legacies of the past and to escape from the constraints of the international capitalist system. Even though they disagreed about the desired end state, Argentines of all political stripes could agree on the need for economic independence and national sovereignty, which would be brought about through the efforts of a national bourgeoisie.

James Brennan and Marcelo Rougier aim to provide a political history of this national bourgeoisie in this book. Deploying an eclectic methodology combining aspects of the “new institutionalism,” the “new economic history,” Marxist political economy, and deep research in numerous, rarely consulted archives into what they dub the “new business history,” the authors offer the first thorough, empirically based history of the national bourgeoisie’s peak association, the Confederación General Económica (CGE), and of the Argentine bourgeoisie’s relationship with the state.

They also investigate the relationship of the bourgeoisie to Perón and the Peronist movement by studying the history of one industrial sector, the metalworking industry, and two regional economies—one primarily industrial, Córdoba, and another mostly agrarian, Chaco—with some attention to a third, Tucumán, a cane-cultivating and sugar-refining region sharing some features of both. While spanning three decades, the book concentrates most on the years of Peronist government, 1946–55 and 1973–76.

“This is an excellent, challenging volume by two distinguished scholars. It addresses perennial, pressing issues in contemporary Argentinean development—the formation and stance of the national bourgeoisie. Central to this story is Peronism, a subject that the authors have made their own. The book provides a timely revision of a period that, although once much studied, has been neglected in recent years. It also offers insights into contemporary post–Second World War industrialization projects essayed elsewhere in Latin America and formulates a distinct framework—the new business history—that is relevant for the analysis of peripheral capitalist classes elsewhere in a rapidly globalizing world economy.”

—Colin M. Lewis, London School of Economics and Political Science