The 2nd Session of IIAS Latin America Lecture Series | The Parable of Argentina: A Historical View of Argentina’s Economic and Political Troubles

On the morning of May 14th, 2021, the 2nd online session of Latin America and Caribbean Lecture Series organized by Institute for International and Area Studies, Tsinghua University (IIAS-THU) was successfully held. The event was delivered by Prof. Lucas Llach from the Department of History and Social Studies at the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, with the theme of “The Parable of Argentina: A Historical View of Argentina’s Economic and Political Troubles”, and was hosted by Ms. Yuan Mengqi, a doctorate candidate at IIAS. The online audience included doctorate candidates at IIAS and external participants.

Prof. Llach started with four types of national development paths summarized by economists and vividly showed the audience the particularity of Argentina’s economic history. By reviewing Argentina’s challenges in three different stages of development, he first pointed out that Argentina was able to rank among Top 10 wealthy countries in the world from 1800s to 1930s, mainly due to the rapidly expanding railway system, declining transportation costs and the influx of European labor. Then, he stated that from 1930s to 1970s, Argentina lost the potential of further development because of the government’s policy of protecting national industries and its limited domestic market. Finally, he mentioned that from 1970s to 2000, economic turmoils and inflation accompanied Argentina, so that Argentina had completely fallen into the ranks of developing economies. In addition, he also made pessimistic predictions about Argentina’s future development under the influence of COVID-19, and worried that the government could not properly deal with the growing inequality in Argentina.

During the Q&A session, centering at the unique case of Argentina in national economic development, doctorate candidates at IIAS and external participants actively raised their questions to the keynote speaker, trying to understand the future trend of Argentina’s economic development from the issues of debts and foreign investment. Some participants also asked how to compare the development differences of various Latin American countries under similar conditions, and whether the Argentine government has any policy to reduce the obstacles faced by multinationals due to exchange rate instability, which were carefully responded by Prof. Llach.

Prof. Lucas Llach currently teaches at the Department of History and Social Studies of the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella and has a PhD in History from Harvard University. From 2016 to 2018, he served as Vice President of the Central Bank of Argentina, and in 2019, as Vice President of the National Bank of Argentina. His research interest focuses on economic history, and he is the author of Como Sapiens: correr, comer, amar y descansar a la manera de los humanos (Debate, 2020), Macroeconomía argentina (Alfaomeaga, 2006), Entre la equidad y el crecimiento (Siglo XXI, 2004) and El ciclo de la ilusión y el desencanto (Ariel, 1998).

Text by: Wang Zijing
Typesetting by: Wang Zijing
Reviewed by: Yuan Mengqi & Xu Shuai