Studies in the History of Latin American Economic Thought

Studies in the History of Latin American Economic Thought

Studies in the History of Latin American Economic Thought

Studies in the History of Latin American Economic Thought


Popescu traces the development of economic ideas in Latin America during 5 centuries, and addresses a range of approaches to economic issues including the scholastic tradition in Latin American economies, cameralism and human capital theory.


A project on the History of Latin American Economic Thought may seem daring but it is in reality imperative. Efforts towards integration and economic and social development, in accordance with each region, and the establishment of an economic order formed and moulded in the authentic national Latin American culture, compel us to give a high priority to the study of the history of Latin American economics. Now, from the simplest analysis of the few works on the history of culture in Hispanic American culture, it is evident that while contributions coming from the fields of philosophy, politics, law, and sociology, together with literature, archeology, the arts, music and folklore, occupy a central place in the development of this discipline, contributions from the field of economic thought, if not utterly absent, get just a brief mention.

Taking this into consideration, and, facing the fact that the majority of our future programmers of development and integration in Latin America are students of economic sciences who number over 100,000 in more than 130 colleges of higher education, in which—except in a few cases—in the subject of the History of Economic Thought no mention is made of Latin American Economics. This leads us to realize the serious responsibility that falls on the professors and researchers in this field.

The past binds us. However, this is not so in the field of Latin American economic thought. It has been more than a century and a half since the subject of political economy was established in our universities and more than half a century since the foundation of the faculties of economic sciences, some of which demand more than 500 professors per academic year. Still, researchers would hardly find a work on the economic doctrines of the twentieth century that gave them access to the thinking of three or four of the greatest recent thinkers in almost any country in the region. If this accounts for the national level of the Latin American region in the twentieth century, the situation worsens when considering the nineteenth century, and it is utterly depressing if we look at the period of Spanish domination in America.

About thirty-two years ago, a journal (and later a magazine) published a

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