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When development meets culture : the contribution of Celso Furtado in the 1970s


  • Alexandre Mendes Cunha


  • Gustavo Britto



The article assesses the work of Celso Furtado (1920-2004) in the 1970s, when the author promotes an ambitious attempt to redefine the field of development economics. Furtado's works have recently been revisited by several authors, including in the field of history of economic thought. The text is devoted to explore how the author challenges development theory’s perceived failure to explain the reality of underdeveloped nations in the late 1970s by expanding the scope of analysis and giving culture a pivotal role in the dynamics of development and underdevelopment. This theoretical movement happens at the time in which development economics begins to drift out of the mainstream of economic theory. Hence, unlike the concept of underdevelopment introduced in the 1950s, the discussion of creativity and dependence encounters an adverse intellectual landscape, even though it represents one of the author’s most original contributions.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexandre Mendes Cunha & Gustavo Britto, 2011. "When development meets culture : the contribution of Celso Furtado in the 1970s," Textos para Discussão Cedeplar-UFMG 429, Cedeplar, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdp:texdis:td429

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Prebisch, Raúl, 1950. "The economic development of Latin America and its principal problems," Sede de la CEPAL en Santiago (Estudios e Investigaciones) 29973, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    2. Bielschowsky, Ricardo, 2006. "Celso Furtado's contributions to structuralism and their relevance today," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), April.
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    Blog mentions

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    1. HPE no Cedeplar
      by Hugo da Gama Cerqueira in Meu gabinete de curiosidades on 2011-07-16 18:45:00

    More about this item


    Celso Furtado; development; underdevelopment; creativity; culture.;

    JEL classification:

    • B20 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - General
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology

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