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In 1850, Pedro II was in the tenth year of his rule over the Brazilian Empire, a rule that would extend up to November 1889, comprising the Second Reign (1840–89). (The First Reign, under his father, Pedro I, lasted from Independence, in 1822, until his abdication in 1831. In between the two Reigns was the Regency period [1831–40].) In a way, 1850 marked the beginning of a golden age in the political and economic history of the Empire. On the political front, the last of the major provincial revolts (the Praieira) had been quelled and centralization of power at the hands of the monarch in Rio was firmly established. As for the economy, 1850 saw the promulgation of three pieces of legislation that sought to regulate the markets for the major inputs in the production process. As a result, trade in capital (with the Commercial Code), labor (via the Euzébio de Queiróz Law, marking Brazil’s definitive acceptance of an end to the importation of slaves from Africa), and land (by means of the Land Law) would be henceforth regulated by the state. In a sense, this could be considered Brazil’s first experiment in building an institutional framework adapted to the capitalist system starting to take root in many parts of the globe at the time, even though the Empire itself remained firmly committed to (and dependent on) a non-capitalist form of labor—slavery (Bethell and Carvalho, 1822–50. In Brazil: Empire and Republic, 1822–1930, ed. Leslie Bethell, 41–112. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989).
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The First Reign, under his father, Pedro I, lasted from Independence, in 1822, until his abdication in 1831. In between the two Reigns was the Regency period (1831–40).
Bethell and Carvalho ( 1989).
Average spread between the two rates was 580 basis points between 1835 and 1889. Concentration in the Rio banking sector did decline over time, but the Bank of Brazil’s primacy throughout conferred to that institution a marked degree of market power; see Summerhill ( 2015, pp. 194–200).
As will become clear along the book, those drivers include elements of both a material and non-material nature, the latter meaning to encompass ideas. For this reason, the book will reproduce quite a few quotes drawn from contemporary debates and official reports. My intention in resorting to these quotes is to capture a glimpse of the mindset of influential actors in the monetary debates and policymaking at the time. It is hoped that by doing so the reader will gain a better impression of the diverse views, theories, and priors informing those very debates and policies.
For a flavor of the dominant (orthodox) views on monetary matters, see most of the annual reports of the Ministry of Finance of the period, the Jornal do Commercio (Rio’s main financial paper), and, especially, Relatorio da Commissão de Inquerito de 1859 ( undated) and Relatorio da Commissão de Inquerito de 1864 (1865).
Furtado ( 1970). It should be noted that Furtado’s objective was not the writing of a monetary history of Brazil, although the discussion of monetary and banking matters is central to his arguments in chapter 27.
Granziera ( 1979).
For the latter approach, see Gambi ( 2013).
This argument is further elaborated by Gambi ( 2013).
Schulz ( 1996, chapter 1).
This is also the opinion held by Mello, for whom the banking reform proposed by Itaboraí in 1853 aimed at “privileging big business in the Rio market and the related coffee interests of the Paraíba Valley”. Cf. Mello ( 1984, p. 98).
For a reaffirmation of this point, see Dixit ( 1996).
For a discussion, see Carvalho ( 1988).
Abreu, Marcelo de P., and Luiz A.C. do Lago. 2014. A Economia Brasileira no Império, 1822–1889. In A Ordem do Progresso: dois séculos de política econômica no Brasil, ed. Marcelo de P. Abreu, 1–28. Rio de Janeiro: Campus/Elsevier.
Bethell, Lelie, and José M. de Carvalho. 1989. 1822–50. In Brazil: Empire and Republic, 1822–1930, ed. Leslie Bethell, 41–112. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. CrossRef
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de Andrada, Antonio Carlos R. 1923. Bancos de Emissão no Brasil. Edições Leite Ribeiro: Rio de Janeiro.
de Andrade, Ana Maria R. 1987. 1864: conflito entre metalistas e pluralistas. MSc. dissertation, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro.
de Carvalho, José M. 1988. Teatro de Sombras: a política imperial. Vértice/IUPERJ: Rio de Janeiro.
de Mello, Evaldo C. 1984. O Norte Agrário e o Império, 1871–1889. Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira.
de Souza, Carlos I. 1924. A Anarquia Monetária e Suas Conseqüências. São Paulo: Monteiro Lobato.
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Friedman, Milton, and Anna Schwartz. 1963. A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Furtado, Celso. 1970. Formação Econômica do Brasil. 10th ed. São Paulo: Companhia Editora Nacional.
Gambi, Thiago F.R. 2013. O Banco da Ordem: política e finanças no Império brasileiro (1853–1866). São Paulo: Alameda.
Granziera, Rui G. 1979. A Guerra do Paraguai e o Capitalismo no Brasil: moeda e vida urbana na economia brasileira. São Paulo: Hucitec/Unicamp.
Guimarães, Carlos G. 1998. Bancos, Economia e Poder no Segundo Reinado: o caso da Sociedade Bancária Mauá, MacGregor & Companhia (1854–1866). Ph.D. dissertation, Universidade de São Paulo.
Haber, Stephen, ed. 1997. How Latin America Fell Behind: Essays on the Economic Histories of Brazil and Mexico, 1800–1914. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Leff, Nathaniel. 1982. Underdevelopment and Development in Brazil. Vol. 2. London: Allen and Unwin.
———. 1997. Economic Development in Brazil, 1822–1913. In How Latin America Fell Behind: Essays on the Economic Histories of Brazil and Mexico, 1800–1914, ed. Stephen Haber, 34–64. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Levy, Maria Barbara. 1977. História da Bolsa de Valores do Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro: IBMEC.
Levy, Maria Barbara, and Ana Maria R. de Andrade. 1985. Fundamentos do Sistema Bancário no Brasil: 1834–1860. Estudos Economicos 15 (Special Issue): 17–48.
———. 1993. El Sector Financiero y El Desarollo Bancario en Río de Janeiro (1850–1888). In La Economia Financiera y la Formación de la Banca Central en España y Latinoamerica, ed. Carlos Marichal and Pedro Tedde, 209–254. Madrid: Banco de España.
Ortigão, Ramalho. 1914. A Moeda Circulante no Brazil. Rio de Janeiro: Typographia do Jornal do Commercio.
Peláez, Carlos M., and Wilson Suzigan. 1976. História Monetária do Brasil. 2nd ed. Brasília: Editora da Universidade de Brasília.
Relatorio da Commissão de Inquerito Nomeada por Aviso do Ministério da Fazenda, de 10 de Outubro de 1859. (undated).
Schulz, John. 1996. A Crise Financeira da Abolição. 1st ed. São Paulo: Edusp/Instituto Fernand Braudel.
Summerhill, William R. 2015. Inglorious Revolution: Political Institutions, Sovereign Debt, and Financial Underdevelopment in Imperial Brazil. New Haven: Yale University Press. CrossRef
Teixeira, Arilda M. C. 1991. Determinantes e Armadilhas da Política Monetária Brasileira no II Império. MSc. dissertation, Universidade Federal Fluminense.
Wileman, Joseph P. 1896. Brazilian Exchange: The Study of an Inconvertible Currency. Buenos Aires: Gali Brothers.
André A. Villela
- Chapter 1
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