Reply to Anthony D'Costa on PEN-L

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jun 7 07:12:08 MDT 2001


Anthony D'Costa:
>This is true in national terms but in terms of generating wealth these
>countries have accumulated quite a bit.  I might have mentioned this
>before on another occasion, a Brazilian steel bureaucrat told me that
>if four Brazilian states were to secede it could be in the league of
>Western European nations.  One of the states is Parana and Curitiba is
>unlike any Latin American city.  I did not see any shanties.  It is a
>planned, people friendly city.  Quite a bit has been written on the city
>in terms of urban planning.

For that matter, if you detached the downtown of Rio de Janeiro from the
favelas surrounding it, you'd think you were in Paris. Continuing to read
through the Chilcote collection, I am impressed with how much Brazil
figures in the thinking of the anti-Frank faction. I can understand why.
The time is the mid 1970s. If you remember back then, Brazil was the
"tiger" of the time. Articles in the bourgeois press frequently dealt with
such questions as the rise of an automobile industry and the fight to
develop a national "informatics" capability not dominated by IBM. I was
working for the First National Bank of Boston at the time and although the
Vietnam war had just ended, people were still extremely politicized on the
left and on the right. My boss, a Harvard educated man, preferred to talk
about social systems rather than systems analysis. He was always
challenging me, "Your business about immiseration can not explain Brazil."
Actually, it sometimes rains in the desert as well. The prevalent tendency
should not be identified as specific economic instutions as latifundias,
but rather *social* stagnation. One of the things that never gets
discussed--I might add--in the anti-Frank articles is the power of the IMF
and the World Bank. It tends focus on a rather one-dimensional
understanding of the laws of capital accumulation in V. 1 of Capital. The
author I was reading on the bus coming to work today, a Gary Nigel Howe
(with a name like that, he must be British) who taught at the American
University in Washington, D.C. blames the dependency school deviation on
Lenin, whose "Imperialism" is supposedly filled with non-Marxist categories
such as "monopoly capitalism". I suppose if you are going to be consistent
with this "return to classical Marxism" hogwash, you might as well trash Lenin.

Louis Proyect
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