The young Raúl Prebisch and his 1919 translation of Adolph Wagner: clues to a relativist critique

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The young Raúl Prebisch and his 1919 translation of Adolph Wagner: clues to a relativist critique

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This article analyses Raúl Prebisch’s earliest activities while still a young student at the University of Buenos Aires, between 1918 and 1922. One of these activities was the translation of texts by foreign economists for the university’s Revista de Ciencias Económicas, contributing to the dissemination of ideas in Argentina. We analyse Prebisch’s 1919 translation of Adolph Wagner and find indications that he modified the text, firstly by selecting for translation excerpts critical of the idea that free trade was automatically beneficial to all nations, secondly by omitting Wagner’s defence of the neoclassical deductive method. This selectivity of Prebisch’s, in our view, makes it necessary to amend the idea of him hitherto enshrined in the literature as a convinced neoclassicist during his early formative years.

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