Este blog trata basicamente de ideias, se possível inteligentes, para pessoas inteligentes. Ele também se ocupa de ideias aplicadas à política, em especial à política econômica. Ele constitui uma tentativa de manter um pensamento crítico e independente sobre livros, sobre questões culturais em geral, focando numa discussão bem informada sobre temas de relações internacionais e de política externa do Brasil. Para meus livros e ensaios ver o website: www.pralmeida.org. Para a maior parte de meus textos, ver minha página na plataforma Academia.edu, link: https://itamaraty.academia.edu/PauloRobertodeAlmeida;
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Ultrapassamos o recorde de carga fiscal, desde 2010, nos aproximando da média da OCDE, mas com uma renda per capital CINCO vezes MENOR...
The New York Times – 18.5.2022
The Right Weaponizes America Against Itself
In the broadest sense, what goes by the name “replacement theory” — the idea that American elites are conspiring to replace so-called real Americans with immigrants from poor countries — is merely a description of the American way, enshrined in tradition, codified by law, promoted by successive generations of American leaders from Washington and Lincoln to Kennedy and Reagan.
There have been four, arguably five, great replacements in American history.
The first was the worst and the cruelest: the destruction — through war, slaughter, ill-dealing and wholesale expulsion — of Native Americans by European migrants. The same far-right true believers who now scream about their own purported replacement by the non-indigenous tend to be the most indignant when reminded that at least some of their ancestors were once the replacements themselves.
The second was a religious replacement of Protestants, who now number fewer than half of all Americans. It began at least as far back as 1655, when the Dutch West India Company rejected a petition by Peter Stuyvesant to expel Jews from New Amsterdam. (Doing so, the company wrote, would be “somewhat unreasonable and unfair.”) It accelerated in the 19th and 20th centuries, mainly thanks to the mass migration of Catholics from Europe and, later, Latin America. It continues with the arrival of Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and others, along with a more general loss of faith.
The third was the ethnic replacement of the English. With their arrival in North America came indentured servants from Ireland and continental Europe, then immigrants from Germany, France and Ireland, later from places ever farther east. Willa Cather’s “My Ántonia,” the American prairie classic, is a story of settlers from Bohemia and other places in Central Europe, who soon became the backbone of the American Midwest.
Non-Europeans had a tougher time. The descendants of enslaved captives from Africa, the only replacements who came against their will, faced years of resistance even after emancipation. And the first major federal law to restrict immigration was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
The fourth replacement was of WASP elites. “A furtive Yacoob or Ysaac, still reeking of the ghetto, snarling a weird Yiddish to the officers of the customs” was how Henry Adams, John Quincy’s grandson, sneeringly described the immigrants he saw in New York. Within a generation, those Yacoobs and Ysaacs would be Goldmans, Frankfurters, Salks, Rickovers and Bellows. To judge by enrollment figures at Brooklyn Tech or elite universities, the next generation of elites will also be immigrants or their children, many from South or East Asia.
The fifth is the most contentious but also the most routine and unexceptional: the alleged replacement of the native-born white working class with a foreign-born nonwhite working class. In this telling, Washington policy, from the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act to the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement to current enforcement failures at the border, are part of a broad conspiracy to give American businesses cheap labor and Democratic politicians ready votes.
This is both nothing new and nothing at all. The United States has, from its earliest days, repeatedly “replaced” its working class with migrants, not as an act of substitution, much less as a sinister conspiracy, but as the natural result of upward mobility, the demands of a growing economy and the benefits of a growing population. The idea that NAFTA simply caused jobs to flee the United States sits at odds with the fact that the labor-force participation rate in the United States grew to its peak in the years immediately after the signing of the agreement.
What all of this says is that the phenomenon of replacement, writ large, is America,
The first immigration bill was passed by the first Congress and signed into law by the first president. The American heartland was almost certainly more linguistically diverse in the 1890s than it is today — and adult immigrants often never learned to speak more than rudimentary English. The people who today think of themselves as regular Americans, people with surnames like Stefanik, Gaetz or Anton, would, on account of their faith or ethnicity, have been seen by previous generations of nativists as uncouth and unassimilable, dirty and disloyal.
All this is of a piece with our traditional self-understanding as a country in which a sense of common destiny bound by ideals matters more than common origins bound by blood. It’s also necessary to any form of conservatism that wants to draw a line against blood-and-soil nationalism or white-identity politics. You cannot defend the ideal of “E pluribus unum” by deleting pluribus. To subscribe to “replacement theory” — the sinister, conspiratorial kind now taking hold of parts of the right — is to weaponize America against itself.
I’m writing this in the wake of Saturday’s massacre in Buffalo, whose alleged perpetrator wrote a racist and antisemitic rant about replacement theory. It’s usually a mistake to judge an idea based on the behavior of some deranged believer. It’s also unnecessary. The danger with replacement theory in its current form isn’t that a handful of its followers are crazy but that too many of them are sane.
Foreign Affairs, Nova York - 17.5.2022
The Right Way to Sanction Russian Energy
How to Slash Moscow’s Revenues Without Crippling the Global Economy
Edward Fishman and Chris Miller
Western sanctions are beginning to hit Russia where it hurts most: its energy exports. Over the last few weeks, the European Union, the biggest buyer of Russian oil, has been working on a plan to ban imports by the end of this year, although objections by Viktor Orban of Hungary have slowed progress.
For energy sanctions to work, however, they must be carefully designed to hurt Russia more than they hurt Western states. Their primary goal should not be to cut the volume of oil and gas leaving Russia, which would further drive up world energy prices and endanger domestic support, but to reduce the dollars and euros flowing into Russia. Moving forward, the EU should therefore focus collective efforts on a more ambitious approach: partnering with the United States and other allies to impose a global regime, backed by the threat of secondary sanctions, to cap the price of Russian oil and slash the Kremlin’s revenue.
Prior rounds of sanctions against Moscow restricted investment and technologies destined for Russia’s energy sector, targeting the country’s refineries and its construction of liquefied natural gas infrastructure. Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States also banned Russian energy imports, but this had limited impact because all three were small consumers of Russian oil and gas. Until recently, the biggest buyer of Russian energy—the EU—not only declined to sanction energy exports but also designed its financial sanctions to explicitly allow Russian fuel to keep flowing.
But now, the Russian-European energy relationship is unraveling. On top of its discussions about phasing out Russian oil imports, the EU also announced plans to completely end Russian natural gas imports over the coming years. Europe buys slightly over half of all Russian exports of crude oil and refined products such as gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. Taxing these exports, meanwhile, currently provides around a quarter of Moscow’s budget. The EU effort to halt Russian oil purchases therefore represents a dramatic and welcome shift in the global response to Russia’s invasion.
But Europe’s plans also pose a challenge for Washington. Thus far, the United States has declined to impose the toughest sanctions on Russian energy, including the kinds of secondary sanctions that have been used against Iran to limit oil sales to third countries. This reluctance is explained by the Biden administration’s deference to the EU on matters affecting Europe’s energy security and concerns that reducing global oil supplies would send gasoline prices—and thus inflation—spiraling higher. But now that many Europeans are signaling that they are serious about cutting off Russian energy imports, the United States and its allies need a coordinated strategy. Together, they must figure out how to slash Russian energy revenue without unduly damaging the global economy.
CUTTING RUSSIAN REVENUE
If Washington and its allies are to make good on their intent to sanction Russian energy effectively, they will have to deal with a difficult dilemma. Russian tax revenue from oil is a function not only of the number of barrels sold, but also their price. The United States and Europe have plenty of tools to reduce Russia’s ability to sell oil, but the price is set on global markets. Because of the risk that sanctions pose to potential buyers, Russian firms must now sell their oil at a more than $30 per barrel discount on current world prices. But since the price of oil has increased substantially over the last 12 months, Russia is making roughly the same amount per barrel as it was a year ago.
In other words, sanctions have a complex and contradictory effect on the world’s second-largest oil exporter. The more they succeed at taking Russian supply offline, the higher the world price of oil goes. This is particularly true when there are few immediate alternative sources on the global market to replace the lost Russian supply—precisely the current situation.
The EU’s embargo will exacerbate this dynamic by substantially reducing the amount of Russian oil reaching world markets. Most of Russia’s oil exports are sent abroad via ship, so they can, in theory, be sold anywhere. In practice, however, because around half of Russia’s exports of crude oil and refined products go to Europe, most shipborne exports touch European commodity traders, shippers, and insurers. EU sanctions threaten to prohibit Moscow’s use of some of this infrastructure, limiting Russia’s ability to ship oil to other potential customers.
Although there is some uncertainty about the impact, forecasts suggest that Russian exports would decrease by around 2 million barrels of oil and refined products per day if the EU halts all purchases. Russian government officials have given similar forecasts, foreseeing a 17 percent decline in Russian oil production this year. Given that Russia exported slightly less than eight million barrels of crude and refined products per day before the war, this is a substantial hit, and a meaningful reduction in world oil supply. For the Kremlin, however, such a decline is significant but far from catastrophic, as reduced production will inevitably drive oil prices higher.
For energy sanctions to put real pressure on Russia’s government budget, they need to cut deeper. In April, according to the Russian Ministry of Finance, the government made around half a billion dollars per day taxing oil, roughly a quarter of Russian government revenue. A 17 percent decline in this figure would be painful but manageable. Moreover, because oil is priced in dollars, if the Russian government lets the ruble decrease slightly in value, it can reduce the impact of lower oil taxes on the government budget because each dollar of oil revenue will buy more rubles. In other words, although an EU embargo would be painful for Russia, it would be survivable. This is why Western countries need a new global framework—one that systematically reduces the price of Russian oil while keeping it flowing.
A REVERSE OPEC
Reducing the price of Russian oil while still allowing Moscow to sell significant volumes abroad would curtail the Russian government’s revenues without increasing global oil prices. A price reduction would hit Moscow directly, swiftly reducing the hard currency flowing into the Kremlin’s coffers. And if it were structured in the right way, the price cap would also provide incentives for everyone, including China, India, and even Russia itself, to comply.
To understand how, it is important to consider the tremendous leverage the United States, Europe, and other allies have over Russia’s oil sector. Currently, Europe accounts for roughly half of Russia’s sales of oil and refined petroleum products. Outside of Europe, other large buyers include Japan and South Korea, both of which have signed onto sanctions against Russia and should be amenable to measures that curb the Kremlin’s revenues.
The key to limiting the price of Russian oil is for these allied countries to band together and dictate terms. Think of it like a reverse OPEC: instead of wielding control over supply to set prices, the allies could leverage their control over demand to do the same. OPEC’s power is rooted in the fact that its members produce about 40 percent of the world’s oil. Europe, Japan, South Korea, and other members of the sanctions coalition account for an even greater share of Russia’s oil sales, roughly 60 or 70 percent. Members of the group, moreover, play critical supporting roles in Russia’s shipborne oil exports, from ports to shipping to maritime insurance. These links provide them with additional leverage beyond their purchasing power.
These states could form a buyers’ club that publicly announces a price cap for Russian oil. There’s room for debate about the right price, which would need to be high enough to keep Russia selling. Oil trader Pierre Andurand has proposed $50 per barrel, whereas financier and energy expert Craig Kennedy has suggested as low as $20. So long as the price is slightly above the marginal cost of production, Russia has every reason to keep shipping. In prior periods of low prices, such as 2014 and 2020, Russia continued to export roughly constant volumes of oil. Although Russia could theoretically halt exports, its storage facilities are already mostly full. The Kremlin’s only alternative to selling on the cheap is to shut down production and watch its most critical industry go into a deep freeze while its tax revenue collapses.
Would other buyers agree to a price cap? Beyond the sanctions coalition, the biggest buyer of Russian oil is China, which generally consumes around 15 percent of Russia’s exports, largely via pipeline. Historically, India has not been a major buyer of Russian oil, but it has more than doubled its purchases in recent months to take advantage of discounted prices. Russia also sells oil to many other countries, such as Lebanon and Tunisia, but they are small buyers and can acquire the oil they need from alternative sources.
To bring these other states on board, the United States, Europe, and East Asian allies could enforce compliance by using sanctions to throw sand in the gears of Russian oil shipments that violate the price cap. They could start by imposing full-blocking sanctions on vital nodes in Russia’s oil sales, including Rosneft, the state-owned oil giant; Gazprombank, the main bank serving Russia’s energy sector; and Sovcomflot, Russia’s largest shipping company. At the same time, the United States and others could provide exemptions for oil shipments that comply with the price cap. Such a regime would make it prohibitively risky for global banks and companies to deal with those entities, unless the underlying transaction abides by the price cap. The dire risk of sanctions violations would compel firms involved in such transactions to insist on clear documentation demonstrating that oil cargoes are compliant.
Additionally, allied states could wield the threat of secondary sanctions against non-Russian companies involved in prohibited oil sales. For instance, if a Chinese or an Indian firm were to buy a shipload of Russian oil for a price above the cap, Western states could threaten sanctions against the shipping company that transports the oil, the insurance company that underwrites the cargo, any port operator that provides services to the tanker, and the banks that process associated payments. The same governments could also make it illegal for U.S. and EU firms to provide any of these services, making it very difficult for such a sale to proceed. The risk involved would force Russia to sell at even greater discounts than at present, in effect enforcing the price cap.
The United States used a similar regime to curb Iran’s oil exports, slashing Tehran’s oil sales by more than 60 percent and locking tens of billions of dollars of revenue in escrow accounts. A price cap on Russian oil would be more complex because Russia is a bigger supplier of oil, with more sophisticated international trade and financial linkages. Yet, compliance would not solely rely on the threat of sanctions. Critically, there would also be a positive incentive to comply: buyers of Russian oil would benefit substantially because abiding by the price cap would lower the cost of their own imports. Challenging the cap would be rife with financial risk and carry no economic benefit—it would be charity to the Kremlin. Amid the tightest world energy markets in years, there is little reason to believe Russia’s oil customers would be in a charitable mood.
Currently, only three major importers of Russian oil stand outside the sanctions coalition: China, India, and Turkey. China can continue to import Russian oil via a pipeline that is practically immune to sanctions. This pipeline, however, represents only a small share of Russian oil exports. Because the pipeline operates at capacity, if China wanted to significantly increase its imports of Russian oil, it would need to do so via ship, which already accounts for more than half of Chinese imports of Russian oil. Moreover, as the average price of Russian oil falls, China will likely negotiate a harder bargain for piped oil, further cutting into Moscow’s bottom line. India and Turkey, on the other hand, import much of their oil from Russia via shipping routes that are exposed to Western sanctions. Both are also economically vulnerable to high oil prices and would benefit greatly from lower prices. Although it is unlikely that either would publicly welcome a price cap, both would probably abide by it.
A price cap would be a major innovation in the use of financial sanctions. Given the challenges of sanctioning Russian energy exports, a traditional embargo applied globally would be difficult to implement and, even if it were possible, would send energy prices soaring. The United States and its allies would be better served by focusing on the goal of slashing Russian revenues while keeping enough Russian oil flowing to avoid a massive price spike. Imposing a reverse OPEC price cap on Russia, backed by Western sanctions, would benefit consumers the world over while focusing pressure on the petrodollars flowing into Putin’s coffers.
EDWARD FISHMAN is an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, and an Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He served as a member of the Policy Planning Staff and as Russia and Europe Sanctions Lead at the U.S. Department of State from 2014 to 2017.
CHRIS MILLER is an Assistant Professor at the Fletcher School and Jeane Kirkpatrick Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
• Ukrainian fighters have ended their weeks-long defense of a besieged steel plant in the strategic port city of Mariupol, as hundreds of combatants — dozens of them seriously wounded — were evacuated from the complex Monday. “Ukraine needs Ukrainian heroes alive,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address, as the delicate operation took place.
• Negotiations aimed at ending Russia’s war on Ukraine have halted, with each side blaming the other for the impasse. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said there were no talks “in any form” because Kyiv has “practically withdrawn” from the negotiations. Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, a key member of Ukraine’s delegation to the talks, confirmed that they are on hold, blaming Russian intransigence.
• The regional governor of Lviv said that Russian forces shelled a military facility near the border with Poland. Lviv’s mayor, Andriy Sadovyi, said the assault was “one of the largest” on the Lviv region “in terms of the number of missiles.”
Even without a proposed $20 billion military aid package the Senate is considering, the United States is already the largest donor of military aid to Ukraine as it defends itself against a Russian invasion.
Last week, President Biden called on Congress to approve the proposal, saying money for shipments to Ukraine was set to run out in 10 days. The Senate Monday moved to advance the bill for final vote expected Wednesday.
The latest package, part of a nearly $40 billion aid bill, goes beyond sending weapons and represents a long-term commitment to U.S. involvement in the war. The money would also go toward ramping up production of U.S. weapon stocks to replenish the significant amount of weaponry already sent to Ukraine.
The ramp up in military spending, as well as a recent move to send more advanced equipment, indicates a recognition that the war may drag on, experts said.
“Previously we’d been providing aid packages every week or two to stave off defeat,” said Mark Cancian, a senior adviser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “But then the realization came that this thing could go on for quite a while.”
Cancian noted that the budget approved by the House goes through the end of the fiscal year, suggesting the expectation the war could last for at least four more months.
Every year, the United States spends billions of dollars to fund the militaries of partner nations, including Israel and Jordan. But in less than three months, commitments to Ukraine have surpassed those figures. If the Senate passes the package, the commitment would eclipse annual U.S. military assistance to its closest partners.
Analysts see military aid from the West as vital to the success of Ukraine against a much larger adversary.
“If the United States and other countries had not sent lethal aid from the very beginning, Ukraine would have been overwhelmed early on, and Ukraine’s government would now be a Russian puppet,” Cancian said. “Because militaries in combat need a continuous supply of munitions and equipment to replace losses, the United States and other countries needed to continue the flow of supplies.”
The aid is equal to more than half of the Ukrainian military budget last year. By some estimates, the nearly $20 billion boost would bring the U.S. contribution to nearly a third of the annual Russian military budget, though some analysts estimate Moscow spends up to $200 billion on its military, far more than official figures.
As the war has changed, so have the weapons provided by the United States. In the early stages, when a convoy of Russian vehicles pressed toward Kyiv, U.S. assistance included antitank weapons, most notably Javelin missiles. Those weapons lock onto a target’s thermal profile and can strike a tank head on or from top down.
After logistical and military failures dashed Moscow’s plans to seize the Ukrainian capital, Russia shifted its focus eastward, and the United States began to send long-range artillery suited for open-terrain battles. The howitzers supplied by the United States are heavy cannons that fire artillery rounds as far as 24 miles. – Arthur Galocha and Ruby Mellen
Resultado da reunião de historiadores renomados, o livro “A Passos Lentos – Uma História Econômica do Brasil Império”, pode ser definido como uma nova referência para estudiosos e curiosos. A leitura é indicada para aqueles que desejam entender a dinâmica de desenvolvimento do país ao longo dos séculos a partir das políticas econômicas adotadas durante o domínio da monarquia.
A Passos Lentos aborda as dinâmicas econômicas da época, baseadas sumariamente no escravagismo, o PIB das regiões habitadas, os dilemas que envolviam a posse e divisão de terras, as relações trabalhistas e como a capital se mantinha. Os historiadores também apresentam a relação entre o Brasil Império e a Economia mundial, destrinchando as políticas de comércio exterior, exportações, importações e dívida externa.
O programa Ponto de Encontro abordou os assuntos do livro em entrevista com um dos autores, o doutor em Economia Luiz Aranha Correa do Lago. Ouça na íntegra:
“Basicamente, a escravidão determinava alguns aspectos que eram elementos de atraso. Um deles, muito claro, é que, obviamente, você tendo uma população escravizada, ela não era uma população que era consumidora importante. Segundo no ponto de vista de mão de obra, no longo prazo, a mão de obra livre é mais produtiva que a mão de obra escravizada. Então aqui temos já um elemento de atraso importante”, comentou Lago.
O especialista explica que a transição para o trabalho livre foi se dando mais facilmente nas regiões do Sul, onde não se havia o predomínio do latifúndio. Nas regiões cafeeiras, por exemplo, de acordo com o censo de 1872, cerca de 15% da população eram pessoas escravizadas, enquanto no Paraná eram 8% e Santa Catarina 9%. Nesses estados do Sul, foi se percebendo que as atividades foram ficando diversificadas por conta da chegada de imigrantes, enquanto nas regiões cafeeiras o trabalho escravo prevaleceu até 1880.
Estagnação econômica, dependência exclusiva da exportação de matérias primas agrícolas, uma vasta plantation escravista, governos irremediavelmente deficitários. Estes são alguns dos fatos estilizados que vêm à mente quando se pensa na história econômica do Brasil Império. Com base em ampla evidência estatística e em diálogo permanente com a historiografia clássica e a produção acadêmica contemporânea, este livro confirma que tal espécie de “fatos” costuma ser apenas parcialmente verdadeira. A economia do Império não era imóvel – movia-se, ainda que a passos lentos.
Marcelo de Paiva Abreu, doutor em Economia pela Universidade de Cambridge e professor titular emérito do Departamento de Economia da PUC-Rio, Luiz Aranha Correa do Lago, doutor em Economia pela Universidade Harvard, professor do Departamento de Economia da PUC-Rio e ex-diretor do Banco Central (1987-1988), e André Arruda Villela, doutor em História Econômica pela Universidade de Londres e professor adjunto da FGV EPGE, assinam esta obra que nasce como fonte essencial de conhecimento.
Colaboração: Dielin da Silva / LC – Agência De Comunicação
Son qualquer pretexto, esses caras do Paulo Guedes vão conseguir afundar o Mercosul, um dos projetos mais relevantes da diplomacia brasileira. Mais um pouco eles completam a demolição.
Paulo Roberto de Almeida
Governo estuda zerar tarifas de importação de mais 11 produtos para combater inflação
Congresso deveria apoiar iniciativa em prol da AmazôniaEditorial do jornal O Globo