“With no new international order in sight following the crisis, the only certain thing is that the model of development which caused it can not continue”, said Brazilian economist Maria da Conceição Tavares during a magisterial conference before the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, ECLAC, in Santiago de Chile.
The outstanding Brazilian economist gave a conference on The Effects of the International Financial Crisis in Latin America and the Lessons from the Brazilian Case to a selected audience of diplomats, academics and international organizations staff. She was presented by ECLAC Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena.
Professor at the Campina University, emeritus professor at the Federal Rio do Janeiro University (which has one of the best economic schools in Latin America) Ms. Maria da Conceição Tavares has a long career in academia, politics and is a decisive reference for Brazil’s cultural intelligentsia.
In her hour long conference, Ms. Tavares talked about each of the legs of what she described as the “surge and declination of financial globalization”. Following a quick description of the causes that triggered the sub-prime crisis in the US in 2007—which would later expand to the rest of the world in 2008 and 2009—the economist painted the current scenario of “international disorder”.
“The crisis has created a new international disorder where the economic situation remains most unstable, with some bubbles that could go off and financial turbulences which emerge in different places, as has happened in the last few weeks in Greece,” said Ms. Tavares.
She emphasized that consumption and government expenditure can’t continue to be the engine for growth in developed countries. “We can continue with the financial disorder and the ideological confusion, but what can not continue is the same pattern of growth which has led us to this situation and fired the crisis,” underlined the Brazilian academic.
Ms. Tavares added that markets organized themselves in a capitalist “canon law”, in a way that is not sustainable, fastened to phantom credits and toxic derivative instruments which impacted on international credit and caused a major financing restriction.
More specifically regarding Latin America, Ms Tavares acknowledged that the region addressed the crisis in far better way than in other parts of the world with a moderate fall in growth and employment. However to promote a more solid recovery, she underlined the importance of investing in infrastructure and in the implementation of a social universal protection public system.
“That is why the proposals ECLAC will be taking to its thirtieth period of sessions at the end of May, in Brazil, in its document The Time for Equality; Gaps to Close and Paths to Open is crucial. These are long term policies which must be implemented to ensure development with fairness and equality in our continent”, added the economist.
Ms. Barcena described the visitor as a great personality and contributor to economic thinking. “The acute profile of her ideas, the clarity to identify real problems beyond established theoretical frameworks, her constant intelligent provocation with arguments has permeated several generations of Brazilian and Latin American economists.”