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The Brazilian development in the nineties - myths, circles, and structures


  • Fabio Stefano Erber

    () (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro)


The article argues that theories of economic development are metaphors which have a strong mythical content, albeit unacknowledged by social scientists. The policies derived from such theories have two agendas: a 'positive' agenda that states which problems should be tackled and how; and a 'negative' agenda that contains issues and policies to be avoided. This approach is used to interpret the hegemonic view of development, as stated by the Washington Consensus, showing that such view contains all ingredients of a millenary myth - the crossing of the Desert towards a Promised Land. The two agendas of this view of development, which have ruled the Brazilian development strategy of the second half of the nineties, are then analyzed as applied to the Brazilian case. Finally, the article discusses alternative approaches to the present view of development, arguing for open-ended metaphors, as expressed by the Ulysses myth.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabio Stefano Erber, 2002. "The Brazilian development in the nineties - myths, circles, and structures," Nova Economia, Economics Department, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil), vol. 12(1), pages 11-37, January-J.
  • Handle: RePEc:nov:artigo:v:12:y:2002:i:1:p:11-37

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    myths; economic policy; institutional change; productive structure; history;

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O54 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Latin America; Caribbean


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