Volume 43, Number 170,
July-September 2012
Systems of Banking and Production in Argentina
Víctor Fernández*, Carolina Lauxmann** and Julio Tealdo***
Date submitted: August 15, 2011. Date accepted: December 13, 2011

Macroeconomic changes in Argentina following the 2001 crisis opened up an interesting panorama for investigating if the forms of financial valuation of capital prevailing during the 1990s have been replaced by accumulative forms aligned to productive investment. The Argentine Bank Financial System is analyzed for the period 1990-2010 working with the concept of Social Production System (sps), its adaptation for use in peripheral regions, and warning of the importance that the Financial System acquires within that system. The study identifies the predominance of continuities before changes in relation to the convertibility period (1990-2001), which partly affects the sps qualifications for entering global networks on a high level.

Keywords: World-system, Social Production System, Bank Financial System, Argentina.

The presence of a hierarchical and stratified global capitalist system in core, semi-peripheral and peripheral countries (Wallerstein, 2004), which has been practically constant throughout the past two centuries, as well as the existence of a few exceptions that show upward mobility within said hierarchy (Arrighi and Drangel, 1986; Arrighi et al., 2003; Mahutga, 2006) provide a stimulating backdrop against which to analyze the existing strengths and limitations for Latin American peripheral countries and, specifically, Argentina, with the goal of helping these countries rise above their subordinated position in the global economy.

The success stories of a small set of East Asian countries that managed to go from the semi-periphery to the core at the end of the twentieth century (Japan) or from the periphery to the semi-periphery (Taiwan, South Korea) show that development can be more than just an “illusion.”1 Using a state strategy that managed to orient financial flows towards productive investment in certain industrial branches, among other techniques (Johnson, 1987; Weiss, 2003; Woo-Cumings, 1999), these countries have managed to break with the conditions associated with carrying out low added value activities in their national and regional environments, and begun to participate in the higher-yielding channels of the global value chain (gvc). The Latin American periphery, by contrast, has implemented clearly neoliberal policies over the past few decades, based on opening and deregulating markets. They incentivized financial valuation practices for surplus that was not linked to productive investment, and they have dismantled and re-valuated their industrial structures (Arceo, 2005).

Argentina, no stranger to these practices, became the poster child of neoliberal reforms in the region during the 1990s (Evans, 2004), and then experienced one of the most serious crises of its history at the end of 2001. Starting in 2002, they began to move away from these mainstream theories and adopt more heterodox economic policies, which makes Argentina an interesting case study to investigate to what extent the change in their macro-economic strategy has altered their accumulation pattern and made it possible for them to rise above the global periphery. In other words, we can use this case to determine to what extent, following the 2001 crisis, the country has managed to undo the previously dominant financial valuation practices and re-link surplus capital production to the financing of productive investment associated with higher added value sectors and dynamism in the world economy.

For this analysis, we refer to the concept of Social Systems of Production (ssp) (Hollingsworth, 1998; Hollingsworth and Boyer, 1997), and adapt and reformulate this to make it relevant to the periphery countries. In this way, we will go through the various structures and institutional adjustments that shape the capitalist system in the periphery countries, and which define them in their morphology as well as in their performance.

The importance that these theoretical developments have contributed to the structure and dynamics of the financial system in terms of the formulating the various institutional adjustments (Zysman, 1983), and the role they have played in the successful performance of East Asian countries (Johnson, 1987; Woo-Cummings, 1999), as well as the Argentinean economy mainly during the 1990s, makes this a principal research goal of the current paper. By analyzing the evolution of the Argentinean financial banking system from 1990-2010, we will be able to identify if links exist between structural qualities and production dynamics, particularly looking to see if there is a connection between the production system, the morphology and ssp performance.

We will proceed as follows: (i) establish conceptual clarifications relevant to the theoretical framework of analysis; (ii) introduce and describe the context of transition in the Argentinean economy is currently experiencing; (iii) analyze the evolution of the financial banking system in terms of its structure and dynamics, paying special attention to ruptures and continuities that characterize this period following the 2001 crisis; (iv) investigate its links with the system of production, also in comparative terms for the periods from 1990-2001 and 2002-2010, and (v) evaluate the implications of this type of interaction for the formulation of an accumulation pattern that allows for upwards mobility within the hierarchical global economic system.

* Research Fellow at the Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Argentina and director of the Instituto de Investigación Estado, Territorio y Economía (iiete). Email address: rfernand@fcjs.unl.edu.ar

** Researcher at the Instituto de Investigación Estado, Territorio y Economía, Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Argentina. Email address: claux@unl.edu.ar

*** Academic Coordinator at the Instituto de Investigación Estado, Territorio y Economía (iiete), Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Argentina. Email address: jctealdo@fcjs.unl.edu.ar

1 Referencing the well-known and controversial article from Arrighi, Giovanni, “The Developmentalist Illusion: A Reconceptualization of the Semiperiphery” in William Martin (ed.) Semiperipheral States in the World Economic, Westport, Greenwood Press, 1990, pp. 11-41

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PROBLEMAS DEL DESARROLLO. REVISTA LATINOAMERICANA DE ECONOMÍA, Volume 49, Number 194 July-September 2018 is a quarterly publication by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México, D.F. by Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas, Circuito Mario de la Cueva, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán,
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