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Argentina deja vu
by Louis Proyect
23 March 2002 21:04 UTC
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Alejandro Bendaña, "British Capital and Argentine Dependence 

With the boom of the 1880s, and especially under the administration 
of Juárez Celman, official ideology shifted. Officials took to heart 
the thought of the British philosopher and one-time editor of the 
Economist, Herbert Spencer. As a libertarian individualist, Spencer 
warned against the "socialist" tendency of government to intrude in 
the affairs of the citizen and private enterprise -- a tendency 
offensive to liberal ideals and also counterproductive from the 
business standpoint. In Argentina, as elsewhere, the opinion that 
governments made dreadful administrators and monopoly powers gained 
increasing currency. The poor showing of some government railways was 
taken as evidence of what Interior Minister Bernardo de Irygoyen 
regarded as the state's inherent incapacity "to put companies into 
operation with any efficiency." According to Juárez Celman, "it will 
be in the best interest of the nation to entrust to private 
enterprise the construction and development of public works that by 
their disposition are not inherent in its sovereignty." In this 
ideological context, expropriation of private railways was virtually 
inadmissible, while the sale of government lines was encouraged.

Louis Proyect, lnp3@panix.com on 03/23/2002

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