Murtinho, Joaquim Duarte (1848–1911)

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Murtinho, Joaquim Duarte (1848–1911)

Joaquim Duarte Murtinho (b. 7 December 1848; d. 19 November 1911), minister of finance of Brazil (1898–1902). As minister of finance under Manuel Ferraz de Campos Sales, Murtinho, a native of Cuiabá, Brazil, based his economic policies upon the reestablishment of the gold standard of 1846. He pursued this policy in reaction to the inflation surrounding the financial crisis of 1891, following the financial market reforms of 1890 (the encilhamento). Since the mil-réis had depreciated 257 percent between 1855 and 1896, the necessary deflation (and depression) to achieve this parity was dramatic (around a 72 percent fall in the price level). Some historians feel that Murtinho's motivations were more than economic. According to Carlos Peláez and Wilson Suzigan (1981), Murtinho believed that the racial inferiority of the inhabitants of Brazil (compared with those of the United States and Western Europe) rendered industrialization an untenable policy goal. Murtinho also argued that the overabundant coffee production at the time was due to market inefficiencies and too many producers. The appreciation of the currency would rid Brazil of the small industry developed since 1886 and weed out inefficient coffee producers by making imports cheaper and coffee exports more expensive. Murtinho's restrictive monetary policies contracted economic activity to an extent only seen in the depressions of 1981–1982 and 1990. Murtinho's other credentials include that of medical doctor (to Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca), campaigner for the Republic, senator from Mato Grosso (1890), member of the Constituent Congress (1891), senator (1903–1906), and vice president of the Senate (1905–1906). He died in Rio de Janeiro.

See alsoCampos Sales, Manuel Ferraz de; Coffee Industry; Economic Development.


Werner Baer, The Brazilian Economy: Growth and Development, 3d ed. (1989).

João Manoel Cardoso De Mello and Maria Conceição Tavares, "The Capitalist Export Economy of Brazil 1884–1930," in The Latin American Economies: Growth and the Export Sector, 1880–1930, edited by Roberto Cortés Conde and Shane J. Hunt (1985).

Celso Furtado, The Economic Growth of Brazil, translated by Ricardo W. de Aguiar and Eric Charles Drysdale (1965).

Paulo Neuhaus, História monetária do Brasil, 1900–1945 (1975).

Carlos Manuel Peláez and Wilson Suzigan, História monetária do Brasil (1981).

Wilson Suzigan and Anníbal Villanova Villela, Política do governo e crescimento da economia brasileira (1973).

Steven Topik, The Political Economy of the Brazilian State (1987).

Additional Bibliography

Hanley, Anne G. Native Capital: Financial Institutions and Economic Development in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1850–1920. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005.

                                        John H. Welch