Bunge, Alejandro (1880–1943)

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Bunge, Alejandro (1880–1943)

The Argentine economist and statesman Alejandro Bunge was born on January 8, 1880, into a wealthy and public-spirited family of German extraction. Bunge studied engineering in Germany, graduating from the Royal University of Saxony in 1903. There he discovered the work of the economist Friedrich List, whose emphasis on industrialization influenced Bunge's subsequent career as statesman, writer, and teacher.

After practicing his profession for several years in Spain, Bunge returned to Buenos Aires around 1909. He set about organizing Argentina's labor statistics during the period 1913–1915, and then served as the director of national statistics 1915–1920 and 1923–1925. He made the first estimates of Argentina's gross national product, and frequently served as an adviser to Argentina's National Bank and the Ministry of Finance. Meanwhile he taught economics at the University of Buenos Aires, where among his students were the future economist Raúl Prebisch and Federico Pinedo, a future minister of finance.

In 1918 Bunge founded the Revista Económica Argentina, which played a leading role in economic policy debates during the next three decades. Bunge conceived of the world economy as organized around the large industrial countries—the astro (star) states—that prescribed free trade and economic specialization, according to the doctrine of comparative advantage. But Bunge believed that only those countries producing manufactured goods prospered. Thus he opposed Argentina's policy of agricultural specialization, which he believed led to slower economic growth and to financial and economic dependence on the astro states. He died on May 24,1943.

See alsoArgentina: The Twentieth Century; Pinedo, Federico; Prebisch, Raúl.


Bunge, Alejandro. La economía argentina, 4 vols. Buenos Aires: Agencia General de Librerías, 1928, 1930.

Bunge, Alejandro. Una nueva Argentina. Buenos Aires: Kraft, 1940.

Llach, Juan José. La Argentina que no fué, Vol. 1. Buenos Aires: IDES, 1985.

                                               Joseph Love