Saturday, May 19, 2012

A time to reap

Conceição Tavares worked hard and now is time to reap the benefits. From Marx21 (hat tip Tomas Rotta).
Renowned professor and economist Maria da Conceição Tavares received yesterday, May 17th 2012, the highest scientific prize granted by the Brazilian government. The national foundation for scientific research (CNPq) awarded Conceição Tavares for her lifetime theoretical and practical achievements. Tavares has influenced generations of students, scholars, and state officials. The significance of the award is that it goes to a female Marxist economist. Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s first female president and herself a former student of Conceição Tavares, personally handed the prize. During the official ceremony Dilma made clear in her brief speech that “Conceição Tavares treated economics as it should be treated, as political economy.”
Read the rest here.

PS: By the way, while it's true that Conceição was certainly influenced by Marx, it's far from clear that one could call her Marxist rather than say Structuralist. Her famous 1978 full professor dissertation (you had to write one to get a chair at a public university then) is basically Kaleckian, and was clearly influenced by Keynes. And as any Brazilian economist she was heavily influenced by Marxist historian Caio Prado and by the quintessential Brazilian structuralist Celso Furtado, beyond several structuralists at ECLAC, like Prebisch and Anibal Pinto. A more detailed story here.


  1. Dear Matias,

    Thanks a lot for the repost. I agree with your comment above that Conceição was heavily influenced by Kalecki and Keynes. But it should also be emphasized that her "dialectical" method in explaining the evolution of import substitution in Brazil comes basically from Marx. Using dialectical contradictions to explain the dynamics of industrialization is not something that you get originally from Keynes or Kalecki!


  2. I'm more skeptical about the use of the term dialectical. Sometimes is merely used to avoid dealing with logical inconsistencies, which wasn't the case in Marx or Tavares for that matter. Her influece rests on very clear theoretical propositions (e.g. growth is demand determined, and the BOP constraint is paramount, dollar hegemony increased with the collapse of Bretton Woods, etc.) and historically relevant analysis of the Brazilian experience (e.g. the easy part of ISI had reached its limits, growth was possible even with worsening income distribution, since consumption of certain groups expanded, etc.). All her contributions where as much influenced by several strands of thinking, Marxism being only one of the relevant traditions.


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