Alberto Gabriele

Alberto Gabriele


The unexpected and painful death of an important thinker, economist and Marxist 

I lost a soulmate. Yes, Alberto Gabriele and I understood each other almost telepathically. What united us? Our ideas about socialism, our denial of utopian visions, disconnected from reality and the search for a theoretical, conceptual and categorical body capable of delivering Marxism as a powerful weapon for confronting reality based on socialist experiences.

Alberto and I distanced ourselves from asceticism and easy speech, as we understood that Marxism is a science of political power. Hence our aversion to the bravado and performances of false revolutionaries and “radicals” that infest social media. We talked a lot in detail about the construction of socialism: business system, prices, internal and external constraints (meta-mode of production), financial system, law of value, firm accounting, social accounting, planning, design, etc. It was my soulmate that I met through insistence.

In my doctoral thesis (which, expanded, became a book prefaced by Domenico Losurdo) the idea that a new economic-social formation was emerging in China was already vaguely present. But it was after reading Market Socialism as a distinct socioeconomic formation internal to the modern mode of production, written by him and the giant Francesco Schettino, that I was convinced I should go after this Italian genius.

After years of insistence, it was only in 2015 that he agreed to talk to me. Alberto Gabriele was very shy and suspicious. Already in the first conversation, our almost total convergences became clear. Alberto Gabriele was already the author of disruptive articles on industrial policy and the Chinese and Vietnamese business system (Vietnam was his great passion). With Francesco Schettino himself, he wrote for magazines such as Cambridge Journal of Economics a pearl on income distribution in Cuba.

Its big intellectual bomb was launched in 2020 by Springer, Enterprises, Industry and Innovation in the People's Republic of China – Questioning Socialism from Deng to the Trade and Tech War. There, Alberto Gabriele presents himself at his best, consolidating himself as the greatest economist in the world when it comes to analyzing the business dynamics and technological innovation of socialism in the 21st century. No Western thinker came close to Alberto Gabriele in this aspect. For thirty years, he was a project economist at UNCTAD with extensive international experience. All of this contributed to his transformation into the most capable economist focused on understanding socialism as it presents itself.

After years of conversations, we decided to write a book. A series of ideas were already ripe in our heads and the assembly of the chapters was already clear. We started from the same categorical framework: economic-social formation, mode of production and law of value. The reconstruction of these categories in the light of what is happening in China would be a leap for neoclassicists, academic/Western Marxists and Keynesians, over the wall that history placed in front of dated theories.

The analysis of a new economic-social formation required another range of categories, another grammar and a blind spot that we were still missing: what emerged after the elevation of relations between human beings and nature in China after the appropriation of technological innovations by the socialist State disruptive, not only increasing the ability to plan, but inaugurating something new – in the same way that Adam Smith perceived this new with the emergence of new schemes for the social division of labor as a result of the increase in technology in his time, inaugurating capitalism in its industrial form?

I already had a draft answer after reading it several times. Design Economics Elements. I knew that Alberto Gabriele would take some time to digest the idea. I went to Rome in 2019 with my family to “lock up” with Alberto for three months, convince him of the idea of ​​the “New Design Economy” and put a book in the square in which all our ideas built over years were there. , new and alive.

Each category or concept required a long discussion to elaborate. The concept of “production metamode” was almost a year of back and forth between the two of us. The same about how we would approach the question of value, and ultimately Alberto Gabriele became the most enthusiastic about the idea of ​​“design”.

Our book, launched by Boitempo in 2019 (with one sensational live with the presence of Dilma Roussef, Silvio Almeida and Tings Chak), has already become a bestseller. An expanded English version was released by Routedge (Socialist Economic Development in the 21st Century – A Century after the Bolshevik Revolution). The ideas contained in it are seen in China as true “scientific discoveries” and, until last week, Alberto and I were already discussing volume 2 of this book.

New ideas were already accumulating and already permeated some scientific articles recently published under my writing. The saddest thing of all, besides losing my intellectual soulmate, is knowing – also – that our collaboration was just beginning and that we had a lot to do together, as the changes underway in China matched our ideas. The combat we were facing with the academic/Western Marxists was fierce, but we were sure of our correctness.

Alberto Gabriele joins Ignacio Rangel, Milton Santos, Carlos Augusto Figueiredo Monteiro, João Amazonas, Haroldo Lima and Aziz Ab´Saber among those I spent time with, learned what it means to do science and made me grow. Deep down, I'm a lucky man. Anyway, I wrote here what my emotion allowed. I woke up to a message from Francesco Schettino informing me of his death. I'm left here sad and impacted. I lost a soulmate. Really hurts.

*Elias Jabbour He is a licensed professor at the Faculty of Economic Sciences at UERJ and director of research at the BRICS+ New Development Bank (NDB). He is the author, among other books, together with Alberto Gabriele, of China: Socialism in the XNUMXst Century (Boitempo). []

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