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Readings of the economic thought of Cuban poet and social theorist José artÃ have focused on the portion of his journalistic works that looks like economic writing in a conventional sense. I argue that MartÃ's economic writings are far more extensive than those that appear to have been written for a "linguistic community" of economists and economic journalists. Much of MartÃ's economic thinking is revealed through an extensive system of symbols, images, metaphors and allusions in articles that appear to have little to do with economics. MartÃ, one of the best known members of a group of Latin American poets who later came to be known as the modernistas, often used tropes developed in his poetic practice in his economic writing for newspapers such as La Nación of Buenos Aires and La Opinión Nacional of Caracas. I further argue that the full range of MartÃ's economic views only becomes evident upon close reading of his journalistic production as if it were poetry. What becomes clear by this method is MartÃ's rejection of the version of U.S. capitalism he witnesses in New York City in the 1880's as an economic system for future Latin American development. This is not merely a condemnation of particular economic practices, such as protectionism or the dominance of monopolies, but rather a systematic rejection of capitalism on economic, social, cultural and even spiritual grounds. Chapters 2, 3, 4 and 5 demonstrate this rejection through examination of a sample of his economically oriented tropes including The Mayflower, Henry George, prizefighting, the biblical Cain and the locomotive. MartÃ appears to have developed this highly codified style in part to avoid censorship by his editor at La Nación since that paper had devoted itself to the promotion of U.S. style capitalism as the only appropriate economic model for Argentina's future development. However, it is reasonable to argue that MartÃ also had in mind a subconscious appeal to his readers as a strategy for opposing the adoption of the U.S. capitalist economic model.
Pensamiento Económico, Economic Thought, 19th Century Economic Thought, Henry George, Escenas Norteamericanas
Date of Defense
March 29, 2006.
A Dissertation Submitted to the Department of Modern Languages in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
José Gomariz, Professor Directing Dissertation; Virgilio Suárez, Outside Committee Member; Roberto Fernández, Committee Member; Ernest Rehder, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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