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Stanford University

Publication Date

Fall 2006

Program Name

Southern Cone: Regional Integration, Development and Social Change


This paper is an investigation of how one group of unemployed workers in Argentina, the MTD-La Matanza, responded to the economic and social deterioration wrought by the market liberalization of the Nineties. This investigation examines the emergence of the MTD-La Matanza as part of the larger political movement of “piqueteros” in the mid-Nineties, the division and neutralization of this movement by the Government’s “Planes Trabajar,” and the resulting transformation of the MTD-La Matanza to a self-managed cooperative. Through this examination, I highlight the way in which the cooperative crystallizes as an alternative response to the changes of the nineties, particularly the economic “precarizatión” of the labor market and the erosion of the social ties in Argentine society. Finally, I end by addressing the question of whether the cooperative is sustainable. To answer this question I attempt to “unpack” the concept of sustainability by looking at the ideas of autogestión (self-management) and autosustentabilidad (self-sufficiency). I find that although the cooperative receives a great deal of outside assistance, it is “sustainable” insofar as i) the assistance does not threaten its self-management, and ii) the assistance enables it to become more self-sufficient.


Industrial Organization | Politics and Social Change


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