In this article we show how an analytical framework based on the classical sur- plus approach can be used to the understanding of some central matters of the eco- nomic development of the nations and of the Brazilian economy in the last decades, in particular. We start discussing the shortcomings of the traditional approach to development economics and the inability of the neoclassical approach to explain some of the more important stylized facts of the development process.
We show how the scheme proposed can explain these facts and, in this perspective, what are the internal and external constraints to economic development. Finally, we illustrate our argument with a brief summary of our research on the recent development of the Brazilian economy.
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