Agrarian Ground Rent in Uruguay, 1955-2015

Published: 30-01-2020| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/b73tx45fd4.1
Gabriel Oyhantçabal


One of the main concerns in critical Latin American studies has been to understand the particularities of its capital accumulation cycle. Among its main exponents, a number of contemporary authors hold that the determination of Latin American economies is the production of ground rent bearing commodities. They propose that this source of surplus value, ground rent, allows them to compensate their productivity lag when compared with central economies. Based on this approach, this paper studies capital accumulation in Uruguay between 1955 and 2015 with the hypothesis that agrarian ground rent oscillations determine the forms adopted by capital accumulation. We present a brief theoretical discussion, the methodology used to estimate ground rent, and the first original estimate of agrarian ground rent during the last 60 years. We distinguish between ground rent appropriated by landowners and by other subjects non landowners due to the effect of agrarian export taxes, overvaluation of the Uruguayan peso, the cheapening of agricultural commodities for domestic consumption, and the regulation of land lease prices and of agricultural commodities prices for domestic consumption. Finally, we analyze the relative magnitude of ground rent in the national mass of surplus value and its incidence in capital accumulation.