Alberdi On Agricultural Production, Commercial Activity And Industry Protection.

Member of the Academic Council of Libertad y Progreso.
PhD in Administration from the Catholic University of La Plata and Professor of Economics at the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences of the UBA. His research has been collected internationally and he has published books and scientific and outreach articles. He has served as Rector of ESEADE and as a consultant for the University of Manchester, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, OAS, IDB and G7Group, Inc. He has received awards and scholarships, including the Eisenhower Exchange Fellowship and the Freedom Project of the John Templeton Foundation.

Alberdi in the Economic and Rent System and the protection of the industry:

Protective laws, temporary concessions of privileges and incentive rewards are, according to the cited article, another means that the Constitution places in the hands of the State to promote the manufacturing industry that is yet to be born.

This means is extremely delicate in its exercise, because of the errors that the inexperienced legislator and statesman can make fall into, the superficial or nominal analogy that it offers with the unfortunate protectionist system of privileged exclusions and monopolies.

In order to know what kind of protection, what kind of privileges and rewards the Constitution offers as means, it is necessary to look at the ends that it is proposed to achieve by those means. Let’s reread your text, with the aim of investigating this point that matters to the life of factory freedom. It corresponds to Congress (says art. 64) to provide what is conducive to the prosperity of the country, etc., promoting industry, immigration, the construction of railways and navigable canals, the colonization of nationally owned lands, the introduction and establishment of new industries, the importation of foreign capital and the exploration of inland rivers (by what means? – the Constitution continues), by protective laws of these PURPOSES, and by temporary concessions of privileges and rewards of encouragement (also protective of those PURPOSES, it is supposed).

According to this, the PURPOSES that the laws, privileges and rewards are called to protect are:

The industry,


The construction of railways and navigable canals,

The colonization of nationally owned lands,

The introduction and establishment of new industries,

The importation of foreign capital,

And the exploration of the inland rivers.

It is enough to mention these PURPOSES to recognize that the means of protection that the Constitution provides them are freedom and the privileges and rewards that are reconcilable with freedom.

Indeed, could a protective law of the industry be agreed by means of restrictions and prohibitions, when art. 14 of the Constitution grants all the inhabitants of the Confederation the freedom to work and to exercise any industry? Such restrictions and prohibitions would be a means of attacking that principle of the Constitution by the protectionist laws that contain them; and this is precisely what the Constitution has wanted to avoid when it has said by its article 28: – The principles, rights and guarantees recognized in the previous articles, may not be altered by the laws that regulate their exercise. This provision closes the door to the sanction of any protectionist law, in the sense that is ordinarily given to this word of prohibitive or restrictive.