The evolution of the public university system in Argentina through expansive waves: Differentiation in the formation of labor force and capital accumulation (1971-2015)

Mariana Mendonca, Nicolás Sebastián Pérez Trento


Over the last five decades, the university system underwent three attempts at reform aimed at improving its performance and transforming some of its characteristics. However, although these processes resulted in a quantitative expansion of the number of institutions, they did not achieve overall qualitative changes. In this paper, we aim to analyze the content of these processes in relation to the specific character of capital accumulation in Argentina. Our hypothesis is that, on the one hand, the process of capital accumulation requires that only a small fraction of workers expand their productive attributes to a range that corresponds to the completion of a university degree, while it is enough for another major fraction to make a partial advance in their careers. And, on the other hand, the consolidation of a large mass of surplus population in recent decades resulted in capital no longer requiring the same range of development of productive attributes from the generality of individuals who completed the secondary education, which was expressed in the degradation of part of that cycle. This process, however, has advanced to such an extent that the training of workers with non-degraded productive attributes does not cover the existing demand for them. Therefore, the university system also began to play the role of allowing a fraction of this population to reach or surpass this development.



Argentine University; Differentiation; Labor force; Capital acumulation


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