The book most prominently displayed on Sao Paulo newsstands in recent months might strike some passersby as a curious anachronism—if they have ever heard of its long-dead author. Sandwiched in between the usual soccer
magazines and pornography one stumbles upon a new translation of David Ricardo. There could probably be no better symbol of Brazil’s current preoccupation with the classic economic questions first raised by that early apostle of free trade. And what better adversary than Ricardo, a father of economic orthodoxy, on whom Brazil’s left-leaning university students might cut their intellectual teeth? Disagreements about such economic orthodoxy and its contemporary embodiment, the International Monetary Fund, figured strongly in the country’s election last November.
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