In Search of a New Model - Celso Furtado

In Search of a New Model - Celso Furtado

In Search of a New Model: Celso Furtado's Vision for Development

In his seminal work, "In Search of a New Model," Celso Furtado presents a compelling and thought-provoking analysis of the challenges facing developing countries in the pursuit of economic growth and social progress. Furtado argues that the traditional development models, heavily influenced by Western economic theories, have failed to address the unique circumstances and needs of these countries. He proposes a new model of development that emphasizes self-reliance, structural transformation, and social justice.

A Critique of Traditional Development Models

Furtado begins by critiquing the prevailing development models of the time, which were largely based on the experiences of industrialized countries. He argues that these models are not only inadequate but also counterproductive for developing countries. Furtado highlights several key flaws in these models:

  • Overemphasis on Industrialization: Traditional development models prioritize rapid industrialization as the primary means of economic growth. However, Furtado argues that this approach often leads to neglect of other sectors, such as agriculture and services, which are crucial for sustainable development.

  • Export-Oriented Strategies: Many developing countries have adopted export-oriented strategies to boost their economies. Furtado contends that this approach can lead to dependence on a few primary commodities, making these countries vulnerable to fluctuations in global markets.

  • Foreign Aid and Investment: Furtado criticizes the reliance on foreign aid and investment as primary sources of financing for development. He argues that these sources are often tied to conditions that undermine the sovereignty and self-determination of developing countries.

Towards a New Model of Development

In response to the shortcomings of traditional development models, Furtado proposes a new model that is centered around the following key principles:

  • Self-Reliance: Furtado emphasizes the importance of self-reliance as a fundamental principle for development. He argues that developing countries must reduce their dependence on external sources of financing and technology and instead focus on mobilizing their own resources and building domestic capabilities.

  • Structural Transformation: Furtado calls for structural transformation of developing economies to overcome their dependence on primary commodity exports and achieve balanced growth. He advocates for the development of domestic industries, diversification of the economy, and the promotion of technological innovation.

  • Social Justice: Furtado places social justice at the heart of his development model. He argues that economic growth must be accompanied by equitable distribution of income and wealth, improved access to education and healthcare, and the eradication of poverty.

Relevance in Today's World

"In Search of a New Model" remains a highly relevant and influential work in the field of development economics. Furtado's critique of traditional development models and his proposal for a new approach based on self-reliance, structural transformation, and social justice continue to resonate with policymakers, economists, and scholars around the world.

In the face of persistent global inequalities and the challenges posed by climate change, Furtado's work offers valuable insights and guidance for developing countries seeking to achieve sustainable and inclusive development. His call for a new model of development that prioritizes self-determination, economic diversification, and social justice is more important than ever in today's rapidly changing world.


"In Search of a New Model" is a must-read for anyone interested in development economics, global inequality, and the challenges facing developing countries. Celso Furtado's groundbreaking work provides a powerful critique of traditional development models and offers a compelling vision for a more just and sustainable path to development.