Kurt Mettenheim’s Monetary Statecraft in Brazil, 1808-2014 tackles a useful and under-examined topic: the politics involved in making monetary policy in Brazil over the broad sweep from the origins of Brazil (in 1808, with the transfer of the monarchy from Portugal to Lisbon) through the early twenty-first century. The book’s central tenet is that politics, independently of economic circumstance and ideology, has driven monetary policy. Mettenheim takes the idea further in two directions by finding that monetary policy has been, first, the result of “muddling through and adapting ideas from abroad” (p.2; Mettenheim’s emphasis, although its relevance is not clear) and second, “central to democratisation and political development” (p. 171.)
Gail Triner is the author of Mining and the State in Brazilian Development (Pickering & Chatto, 2010) and Banking and Economic Development: Brazil, 1889-1930 (Palgrave, 2001) as well as articles on Brazilian economic history.