Volume 44, Number 173,
April-June 2013
The Importance of Suitable Ideas
on Development and Globalization
Aldo Ferrer
National Density and National Identity

It is useful to separate these two concepts. National identity essentially refers to culture. A society with low national density due to an insufficiency of the necessary endogenous conditions for development can still create universally recognized cultural values. Latin America provides numerous examples to this effect.

Culture expresses societal creativity, in large measure on the margins of the power system and social stratification. It thus encompasses the entire social reach and is enriched with contributions from all. In Argentina, for example, it includes Eduardo Arolas and Borges, Victoria Ocampo and Arturo Jauretche, José Hernández and Federico Leloir, and all creators of music, literature, science and the many other expressions of human genius created in the vernacular space.


The formation of Latin American nations throughout diverse stages is part of the history of globalization, beginning at the end of the fifteenth century with the discovery of the New World and the opening of a maritime route of communication between Western Europe and the East. From the conquest up through modern times, the beginning of the twenty-first century, the evolution of society and the economy in our countries, first under colonial rule and later as independent nations, has been the result of the interaction of internal realities with the global context.

Each of our countries has built its own history, but the persistence of underdevelopment and dependence in Latin America, even two centuries following independence, reveals that our responses to globalization over time have not been correct. I suggest that the primary cause of this is the weakness of national density founded in the insufficiency of factors occurring in diverse combinations in each country, such as:

The excessive concentration of wealth and income, poverty and social fractures.

Leaders who are detached from their social bases and, consequently, power accumulation strategies that act as agents of multinational interests instead of representatives of society that would maintain power over fundamental resources and sources of accumulation on a path to inclusive development and the creation of opportunities for the majority.

Institutional instability and the lack of arbitrating power among political regimes.

Subordination to central thought as in the recent experience of the Washington Consensus. Finally, as a result of the combination of the previously described factors, policies that privilege sector interests, generate macroeconomic imbalances, squander resources and worsen external vulnerability.

Strengthening national density by removing these obstacles is thus an indispensable condition for growth with equality, to set in motion accumulation processes in the broader sense that drive sustained and sustainable development. Cooperation among Latin American countries and their integration will be an important tool to strengthen our respective national densities and adjust our responses to the challenges and opportunities of globalization in the contemporary world order.


Historia de la globalización: orígenes del orden económico mundial, Fondo de Cultura Económica (fce), 1996.

Hechos y ficciones de la globalización, fce, Buenos Aires, 1997.

De Cristóbal Colón a Internet: América Latina y la globalización, fce, Buenos Aires, 1999.

Historia de la globalización II: la Revolución Industrial y el Segundo Orden Mundial, fce, Buenos Aires, 2000.

La densidad nacional: el caso argentino, Capital Intelectual, Buenos Aires, 2004; Paris, July 2012.

Published in Mexico, 2012-2017 © D.R. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).
PROBLEMAS DEL DESARROLLO. REVISTA LATINOAMERICANA DE ECONOMÍA, Volume 48, Number 191, October-December 2017 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,
CP 04510, México, D.F. Tel (52 55) 56 23 01 05 and (52 55) 56 24 23 39, fax (52 55) 56 23 00 97, www.probdes.iiec.unam.mx, revprode@unam.mx. Journal Editor: Alicia Girón González. Reservation of rights to exclusive use of the title: 04-2012-070613560300-203, ISSN: pending. Person responsible for the latest update of this issue: Minerva García, Circuito Maestro Mario de la Cueva s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México D.F., latest update: Nov 13th, 2017.
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