by Carl Stoll
Raúl Prebisch: La crisis del desarrollo argentino. De la frustración al crecimiento vigoroso Librería El Ateneo Ed., Bs. As. 1986, pp. 100-113 on import substitution policy.
Prebisch defends himself ably from the charge of having encouraged a wasteful import sub policy in his native
He points out that in the early 1960s, when the import substitution policy
that Prebisch had encouraged in the 1950s had become dogma, ECLAC started
touting manufactures exports. Argentina
In reply to another frequent charge brought against his school of thought, he acknowledges that protective import tariffs long outlasted the industry’s infancy and dragged on into its young adulthood or even middle age. His proposal? Some kind of international agreement among Latin American countries to gradually reduce tariff protection.
Now I respect Prebisch, but this proposal marks him out as an incorrigible fuddy-duddy, an economist-bureaucrat of the old school, lacking understanding for the mainsprings of economic progress.
The Argentine industries that benefited by tariff protection naturally did their utmost to prolong such protection. Examples If the national government was incapable of imposing raison d'état discipline on import-substituting sectors of industry, what hope was there that some international agreement among nation states would accomplish that purpose?
Robert Wade, in Governing the Market, narrates the Taiwanese KMT government’s barracks-disciplinary approach to manufacturers who failed to toe the government’s economic development line: huge consignments of faulty goods were publicly destroyed, to the disgrace and ruin of their manufacturers. The Kuo Min Tang however occupied a position on
Taiwan similar to that held
by the Dukes of Normandy after the Battle of Hastings: they were there by right
of conquest. Argentine governments didn't have the same measure of discretion. [check: how
about all those military governments in the 1930s to 1960s?] Taiwanese import
substitution industrialisation was the real McCoy – it worked like a charm. But
it was controlled by a powerful and autonomous state, that did not depend on
the local capitalist class for political support. Britain