Austerity and its Aftermath: Neoliberalism and Labour in Argentina

  • Ruth Felder University of Buenos Aires
  • Viviani Patroni York University
Keywords: Argentina, labour reform, labour organizations, neoliberal restructuring, post-neoliberalism

Abstract

The crisis Argentina faced in the late 1980s legitimized a diagnosis that linked the country’s poor economic performance to an inward-looking economy, excessive fiscal spending, unwarranted state regulations, a misguided set of incentives that failed to boost competitiveness and the “economic populism” that privileged political goals over economic efficiency. Alternatively, the solution was sought in policies that privileged deregulation, the free flow of commodities and capital, privatization and a selective intervention of the state in the economy. In this article we will account for the shape of neoliberal restructuring in Argentina by drawing attention to the heavy costs stabilization imposed on the country as the decade progressed. We will emphasize the costs the workers were called on to bear and the responses that emerged from them to challenge neoliberalism. La crise qui a frappé l’Argentine à la fin des années 1980 a justifié un diagnostic qui liait la faible performance économique à plusieurs facteurs : le caractère endogène de son économie, les dépenses excessives de l’État, les réglementations mal avisées, les stimulants mal ciblés qui ne sont pas parvenus à soutenir la compétitivité et le « populisme économique » qui privilégiait les finalités politiques plutôt que l’efficacité économique. En réponse à ce diagnostic, les solutions privilégiées visaient la déréglementation, la libre circulation des marchandises et du capital, les privatisations et l’intervention ciblée de l’État dans l’économie. Cet article présente la configuration des réformes néolibérales en Argentine en insistant sur les coûts élevés que la stabilisation a entraînés au cours de la décennie. Nous soulignons l’importance du fardeau imposé aux travailleurs et travailleuses ainsi que leurs réactions pour contrer le néolibéralisme.

Author Biographies

Ruth Felder, University of Buenos Aires
Ruth Felder is a Lecturer in Administration and Public Policies in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina) and a PhD Candidate in Political Science at York University. Her work has focused on neoliberal restructuring of the state and the role of the state under neoliberalism and its crisis in Argentina.
Viviani Patroni, York University
Viviana Patroni’s work has focused on the changing nature of state-labour relations under neoliberalism, the emergence of new forms of workers’ organization in Argentina during the 1990s and the post-2002 transformation of labour markets in this country.
Published
2011-07-23
Section
Special Section