Transnational Coroporations and the ‘Restructuring’ of the Argentine Automotive Industry: Change or Continuity?

Alejandro Luis Fitzsimons
  afitzsimons@gmail.com
  
Sebastián Luis Guevara
  sebastianlguevara@gmail.com
  Universidad de Buenos Aires

Abstract

Revisiting the historical development of the Argentine automotive industry from the mid-1950s to the present, this paper challenges the dominant point of view that the development of the new international division of labour led to its qualitative restructuration during the 1990s. Instead, it shows that low scales of production, obsolete technology and a resulting low global competitiveness characterised the local auto industry throughout the period. Based on empirical analysis and the international comparison of wages and prices, the paper argues that transnational automotive-manufacturers compensated for their ‘backwardness’ with the appropriation of a portion of the relatively abundant ground-rent available in Argentina. The NIDL therefore did not replace the old form of industrialisation related to the ‘classic’ international division of labour.

latin america - critical international relations theory - dependency theory