Celso Furtado as ‘Romantic Economist from Brazil’s Sertão

Vol. 39 No. 4 (2019)

Oct-Dec / 2019
Published October 1, 2019

How to Cite

Rama, Jonas, and John Battaile Hall. 2019. “Celso Furtado As ‘Romantic Economist from Brazil’s Sertão”. Brazilian Journal of Political Economy 39 (4):658-74. https://doi.org/10.1590/0101-31572019-3021.

Celso Furtado as ‘Romantic Economist from Brazil’s Sertão

Jonas Rama
Ph.D. Candidate, Centre d’Économie de la Sorbonne, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris, France.
John Battaile Hall
Professor of Economics at Portland State University, Portland/Oregon , USA.
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 39 No. 4 (2019), Oct-Dec / 2019, Pages 658-674


In The Romantic Economist (2009), Richard Bronk laments thatEnlightenment thinking dominated Economics during its formation as a science. As counterpoint, the ‘Romantic Movement’ had much to offer but remained peripheral. Consequently Economics embraced the centrality of rationality and other Enlightenment precepts, leading to a ‘social-physics’. Meanwhile human characteristics such; as sentiments, imagination and creativity were eschewed. While Bronk fails to identify an in-the-flesh ‘Romantic’ Economist’,our inquiry seeks to establish that indeed Celso Furtado qualifies. Profoundly influenced by his sensitivities and attachment to place, Furtado relies upon an organic metaphor – osertãonordestino – for insights into complexdevelopmental processes.

JEL Classification: B15; B31; N96.


Keywords: Brazil Celso Furtado Richard Bronk romantic movement sertão