Volume 43, Number 171,
October-December 2012
The Third Peronist Government’s Economic Plan.
Gelbard’s Term (1973-1974)
Cecilia Vitto

Regarding the promotion of industrial sectors considered “priorities,” it is relevant to point out that, in accordance with data provided by Castellani (2009), much of industrial promotion for large projects in strategic branches benefited companies grouped in economic sets (belonging to the so-called “diversified oligarchy”11), which had a significant weight in producing intermediate goods.12 Although proposals coming from small and medium-sized enterprises received a large part of the attention related to industrial promotion, they were unable to organize together in groups, and as such, a large part of the investments that were approved were absorbed by few companies, specialized in this type of goods (Rougier and Fiszbein, 2006: 196). In this way, despite the government’s efforts to implement a policy to strengthen the “national bourgeoisie” in the industrial sector, the “diversified oligarchy” ended up receiving most of the benefits of this promotion policy.

It should be added here that foreign capital had the most sway in the “dynamic” nuclei of substitution industrialization. Although there was greater dynamism in the production of non-durable consumer goods linked to the “national bourgeoisie” during Gelbard’s term, this did not invalidate, on the one hand, the described structural situation, and on the other hand, it contradicted some of the basic guidelines of the Triennial Plan (particularly related to fostering the development of capital-intensive activities and producing certain intermediate goods, areas in which foreign capital and the “diversified oligarchy” had unquestionable dominance). In keeping with what De Riz (1987: 140) indicated, the dynamism of these branches would have been mainly a result of the demands of salaried workers, an effect of new investments, which would translate into the use of installed leisure capacity.

A brief evaluation of the Triennial Plan guidelines related to the manufacturing industry illuminates some of the structural limits of the economic project. The basic lines of action were:

  • Accelerate large projects, most of them already formulated, and begin new projects in industries that were producing intermediate inputs, mainly having to do with iron and steel, aluminum, press paper, cellulose, heavy chemicals and petrochemicals. The “diversified oligarchy” was “structurally predominant” in most of these sectors, and this group received most of the benefits from the promotion mechanisms.
  • Promote certain highly labor-intensive non-durable and durable consumer goods industries, like the textile industry, various branches of the “Food and Drinks” sector, etc. Still, for the majority of these branches, where the “national bourgeoisie” was predominant, lower growth than industry average was estimated.
  • Control “exaggerated” growth of some branches, to adapt the composition of industrial production to the composition of total demand for industrial production, which should have been a result of the Plan. Still, regarding automobile production, it was explicitly clear that growth above industry average would be justified in order to supply the export market. This policy to foster foreign industrial sales, as will be shown, tended to favor foreign capital.
  • Develop and give priority to the industry of capital goods in a variety of ways, substantially increasing the State’s contribution to this field. It is useful to point out that, for this point, in accordance with data provided by Basualdo (2006: 89), in 1973 foreign capital was widely preeminent in the production of this type of goods. In this framework, it was necessary to have a strong State, with the ability to increase its participation in this area to control the influence of foreign capital and increase and organize its participation in industrial activities, which constituted one of the intrinsic shortcomings of the Triennial Plan, as shall be analyzed later on.

11 This encompasses the fraction of the oligarchy that gradually diversified its investment portfolio towards other economic areas, developing a multi-sector presence in local economics with interests in industry, agricultural and other activities. As such, Local capital not coming from business conglomerates is considered part of the national bourgeoisie. A complete conceptualization of these capital fractions can be found in Basualdo (2006, 2007).

12 For a complete analysis of the composition of the production value of industrial establishments with 100 or more employees by type of company or good produced in 1973, see Basualdo (2006: 89). In this sense, the author highlights that in 1973, the “diversified oligarchy” was mainly involved in producing intermediate goods (iron and steel, paper and cardboard, textile finishes and cement).

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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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