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Paul Singer in his office in Brasilia
Economist Paul Singer died at 8pm on Monday (the 16th) at age 86, in São Paulo. He had been hospitalised at the Sírio-Libanês Hospital earlier in the day with septicaemia.
Mr. Singer, who was a Workers’ Party founder, was among the prominent figures responsible for that which had been celebrated as the party’s greatest accomplishment during its four decades of existence: the formulation of a development program centred on the strengthening of the country’s internal market via income redistribution.
On the academic front, Mr. Singer authored several textbooks and conducted plenty of economic research, becoming an indispensable intellectual when it came to the dissemination of non-Marxist leftist thought.
Such activities may very well have been the two greatest accomplishments of Professor Paul Israel Singer, who was born in Austria in 1932, having arrived in Brazil at age 8 when the Singers, a Jewish family, fled from the Nazis shortly after they had managed to annex his home country.
His middle name was imposed by the regime, whose “final solution” meant annihilating the Jews. In order to make it easier for the regime to ID them, Jewish men were forced to adopt the middle name “Israel”.
In his youth, Mr. Singer was a Zionist, despite lacking the enthusiasm that others displayed. He belonged to a socialist branch of the Zionist movement.
The economist only began engaging in partisan politics when the Workers’ Party was founded. Mr. Singer was responsible for elaborating Lula’s economic program in the 1982 governor’s race in the state of São Paulo: the first direct election for the office during the dictatorship – a regime which would only come to an end in 1985.
Even though Lula lost that election, the program was incorporated into the party’s DNA. Mr. Singer defended the strengthening of the country’s internal market through social inclusion – an economic philosophy that was adopted during Lula’s presidency. Paul Singer’s son, André Singer – who is currently a columnist at Folha – was a prominent spokesman of the Lula administration.Source: Folha de São Paulo