Geopolitical & Socioeconomic

Britain and the Economic Development of Argentina

  • SCI Belgrave Square, 14/15 Belgrave Square, London

By 1914 Argentina had become one of the world’s largest trading nations, and the tenth most prosperous country in the world. She exported more than all South American countries put together. Argentina was an agricultural “El Dorado\". The emergence from rural obscurity in the 19th century resulted largely from a combination of British capital, technology and management and a huge influx of Mediterranean immigrants, which converted Argentina into the wealthiest country in South America and Buenos Aires the most European city in the Southern Hemisphere.

By 1914 Argentina had become one of the world’s largest trading nations, and the tenth most prosperous country in the world. She exported more than all South American countries put together. Argentina was an agricultural “El Dorado". The emergence from rural obscurity in the 19th century resulted largely from a combination of British capital, technology and management and a huge influx of Mediterranean immigrants, which converted Argentina into the wealthiest country in South America and Buenos Aires the most European city in the Southern Hemisphere.

How is it that her subsequent development was so different from British Dominions such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand where British resources were equally available and now are three or four times better off, and where in South America several countries, such as Chile, Uruguay now have higher incomes? This talk will seek to explain how this has occurred.

Gordon Bridger, a development economist, was born and brought up in Argentina, studied at the LSE and Manchester and worked for the United Nations( in Latin America and Africa) and the British Ministry of Overseas Development, (where he started as Senior Economic Adviser on Latin America and ended as Economics Director Country Programmes) has recently written history of Argentine development, “Britain and the Making of Argentina”, and a professional autobiography, “How I Failed to Save the World”.

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