Vol. 29 No. 2 (2009): Apr-Jun / 2009

Vol. 29 No. 2 (2009)

Apr-Jun / 2009
Published April 1, 2009


The two methods and the hard core of economics
Luiz Carlos Bresser-Pereira
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy

While methodological sciences have no object and are supposed to adopt a hypothetical-deductive method, substantive sciences including economics should use an empirical or historical-deductive method. The great classical economists and Keynes did that and were able to develop open models explaining how equally open economic systems work. Thus, the hard core of relevant economics is formed by the classical microeconomics and the classical theory of capitalist economic growth, and by Keynesian macroeconomics. In contrast, neoclassical economist aiming to build a mathematical science wrongly adopted the hypothetical-deductive method, and came to macroeconomic and growth models that do not have practical use in policymaking. The exception is Marshall’s microeconomics that does not provide a model of real economic systems, but is useful to the analysis of markets.

JEL Classification: B10; B20; B41.

Michal Kalecki, a pioneer of development economics
Julio Lopez G., Martín Puchet A., Michael Assous
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy

Kalecki made important contributions to development economics, which rank him among the founding fathers of this area of our discipline. The objective of this paper is to give an account of his contributions, and in particular of his conception of the peculiarities and the way of functioning of the underdeveloped economies, and of the barriers that limits their capacity for high and sustained long run growth. As most socialist economists of his time, he was skeptic about the possibilities of overcoming underdevelopment under capitalism. However, in contradistinction to other pioneers of development economics, Kalecki did not stress the international forces that hamper development, but put the accent rather in the internal institutions and social and political determinants. In particular, the feudal and semi-feudal conditions in agriculture, the reduced market ensuing from income concentration and widespread monopolization of the economy, and the lack of willingness of entrepreneurs to carry out the necessary investments. Accordingly, his economic policy recommendations emphasized also the domestic aspects involved.

JEL Classification: B2; B3; O1.

States and economic development
Atul Kohli
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy

Today the Washington Consensus on development lies in tatters. The recent history of the developing world has been unkind to the core claim that a nation that opens its economy and keeps government’s role to a minimum invariably experiences rapid economic growth. The evidence against this claim is strong: the developing world as a whole grew faster during the era of state intervention and import substitution (1950-1980) than in the more recent era of structural adjustment (1990-2005); and the recent economic performance of both Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa—regions that truly embraced neoliberalism—has lagged well behind that of many Asian economies, which have instead pursued judicial and unorthodox combinations of state intervention and economic openness. As scholars and policy makers reconstruct alternatives to the Washington Consensus on development, it is important to underline that prudent and effective state intervention and ive integration with the global economy have been responsible for development success in the past; they are also likely to remain the recipes for upward mobility in the global economy in the future.

JEL Classification: O38; O43; O57, P51.

State and social territorial conflicts in Bolivia in the 21st century
Hoyêdo Nunes Lins
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy

Recent results of presidential elections in Latin America suggest a turn to the left in various countries. In Bolivia, such a movement includes the victory of an Aymara Indian who is also a leader of coca farmers. The article proposes an interpretation of this event, describes and discusses the main actions of the new government, stressing the reactions they provoked, and explores the class, ethnic and territorial dimensions of the resulting conflicts. The regional aspects of the fights, seen in connection with the country’s historical regionalism, are highlighted and their basic conditions are investigated.

JEL Classification: H70; O54; R50.

An interpretation of the First German Economic Miracle
Ricardo Luís Chaves Feijó
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy

The German Third Reich was successful in reaching its economical objectives. It is intended to explain the causes of the First German Economic Miracle, fitting its economic system into the category of command economy, which does not confuse itself with the centrally planned economy. Thus, in the first section, we describe the so adopted politics in this period and explain how they had led to the recovery of the German economy. The second section evaluates global indicators of economic performance and population welfare. We are looking for to demonstrate the hypothesis that the Nazi economy was efficient. Such efficiency is explained by the characteristics of the German model.

JEL Classification: N44.

Is there an international economic order? Problematizing a premise
Dawisson Belém Lopes, Leonardo César Souza Ramos
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy

 This article invites to a reflection on the ontological and axiological foundations of the concept ‘international economic order’. We argue that the notion of ‘order’ implies, at first, identifying a sort of social arrangement or pattern. However, as we intend to demonstrate, this pattern is hardly present in contemporary international economic relations. Besides, the adjectives ‘economic’ and ‘international’ instill doubt not only in regard to the nature of the ‘international’, but also in what concerns the feasibility of spotting a working pattern in international economy nowadays. Thus, it seems, on heuristical terms, an appropriate methodological option to revisit some of the main canonical contributions to the theme of international (economic) order, and to submit it to academic scrutiny. Additionally, we seek to evaluate how plausible it is to think of a ‘multilateral’ economic international order.

JEL Classification: F02; F50; F55.

Critical notes on new-Keynesian macroeconomics
Claudio Gontijo
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy

This article shows that, in spite of its great steps towards reality, new-Keynesian macroeconomics seems to be a non-systematic construction with problems originated from “ad hoc” hypothesis required to explain the non neutrality of money and the existence of disequilibria in the short run. In particular, it seems that prices and wages rigidities stand in sandy bases and that the derivation of the IS and LM curves from neoclassical fundamentals is problematic. Even disregarding the apparent difficulties of the neoclassical theory of value and distribution, the new-Keynesian connections between interest rate, money, and output do not seem fully consistent.

JEL classification: E12.

Torricelli, steam power, and the technological drift of the Scientific Revolution
Carlos Eduardo Suprinyak
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy

Starting from Evangelista Torricelli’s pneumatic discoveries, we try to show that the crucial discoveries in pure science associated with the Scientific Revolution, although they may not have found immediate practical applications, have markedly impelled technological progress in the medium term – contrary to the diffused notion which states that the links between science and technology during the modern period have been tenuous, at best. Torricelli’s ideas have turned into one of the privileged research areas for then newborn experimental program, actively participating in a process of reformulation in scientific research’s epistemological base, which have culminated in steam power productive application.

JEL Classification: N73; O31.