Furtado, Celso (Monteiro) 1920-2004
FURTADO, Celso (Monteiro) 1920-2004
OBITUARY NOTICE— See index for CA sketch: Born July 26, 1920, in Pombal, Paraíba, Brazil; died November 20, 2004, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Economist and author. Furtado was an influential economist who was the key author of Brazil's economic policies during the 1950s and early 1960s. After earning a law degree at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in 1944, he went to Europe, where he fought with the Allies as part of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force in Italy. After the war, Furtado completed a Ph.D. degree in economics at the Sorbonne in 1948. The next year, he joined the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America in Santiago, Chile, serving as an economist there until 1957. During this time, Furtado was greatly influenced by the structuralist school of development, which favored government-directed economies and advocated fair-trade policies between North and South America. In 1958, Furtado became president of the Brazilian Bank of Economic Development, which led to his idea for the formation of the Superintendencia de Desenvolvimento do Nordeste (Sudene). The Sudene was a federal institution that Furtado headed until 1964. He also became Brazil's planning minister in 1962 and as such was largely responsible for developing Brazilian economic policy. But in 1964, the Brazilian government was overthrown by a military coup, and Furtado was forced into exile. During this time, he taught at French and American universities, including Yale and the Sorbonne. In 1979 Furtado became active in politics again as part of the New York City-based United Nations committee for development, and from 1980 until 1985 he was director of associated studies at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. As the government in Brazil returned to democracy, Furtado was allowed to end his exile. He became a member of the Brazilian Democratic Movement's (PMDB) national executive committee, and from 1985 to 1986 was ambassador to the European Community in Brussels. President José Sarney selected him to be the country's culture minister from 1986 until 1988. But Furtado disagreed with the economic course Brazil was taking as it became more and more capitalistic. Instead of staying involved in Brazilian politics, he spent much of the 1990s in international posts. He was a member of UNESCO's world commission on culture and development and a member of the international bioethics committee. After Luis Inacio Lula da Silva was elected Brazil's president in 2002, Furtado was happy to see the reestablishment of Sudene. In 2003, Furtado was elected to the Brazilian Academy of Sciences and nominated for a Nobel prize in economics. He was the author of numerous books about economics, including Development and Underdevelopment (1964), Obstacles to Development in Latin America (1970), and No to Recession and Underemployment: An Examination of the Brazilian Economic Crisis (1985).
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Independent (London, England), November 23, 2004, p. 35.
New York Times, November 27, 2004, p. A16.
Times (London, England), December 15, 2004, p. 52.