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Celso Furtado and the Myth of Economic Development: Rethinking Development from Exile

Pedro Loureiro, Fernando Rugitsky () and Alfredo Saad-Filho

Review of Political Economy, 2021, vol. 33, issue 1, 28-43

Abstract: This article introduces two previously unpublished working papers by the Brazilian economist Celso Furtado (1920–2004). Following a brief outline of his life and ideas, the arguments in the two papers are examined, taking into account their context and place in Furtado’s evolving body of work. These two papers represent a crucial turning point in Furtado’s thinking, highlighting his critical perspective on (under)development and laying the basis for four books that he would publish in rapid sequence. We stress Furtado’s growing scepticism with the prospects for international development and global convergence, and his attempt to reimagine the meaning of development and the potential paths to development by peripheral countries. Furtado’s approach to global capitalism in these two papers shed an even more critical light on its structure and evolution than his better-known works from the 1950s. Finally, the contemporary relevance of his ideas is illustrated by reference to their relationship with the current heterodox literature.

Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1080/09538259.2020.1827546

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