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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

quinta-feira, 27 de junho de 2013

Protests in Brazil: Carlos Pio (UnB) joins the debate in a NYTimes forum

These Protests Will Accomplish Very Little

Carlos Pio
Carlos Pio is a professor of international political economy at the Universidade de Brasilia and at the Australian National University in Canberra.
New York Times, Forum, JUNE 20, 2013, 3:01 PM

The world has been optimistic about Brazil for the past decade. Productivity has risen as trade has been liberalized, state-owned companies have been sold and many industries deregulated. Hyperinflation has been controlled and the exchange rate has been floated. Social policies, called conditional cash transfers, have targeted the poor. And commodity exports to China soared. The economy grew stronger and many became richer.
But the country has one of the highest levels of social inequality in the world. Many of the rich live in bubbles of prosperity, like Brasilia and beachfront avenues in major cities. The poor are almost invisible, forgotten in rural areas or marginalized in urban slums.
Unfortunately Brazil will remain socially unequal, attached to failed ideologies -- economically stagnate but still democratic.
And the policies that led to Brazil’s growth have been undermined since the 2003 inauguration of PresidentLuiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who, along with all the left-wing parties, opposed those policies while out of power. On the positive side, Lula increased the scope of "bolsa família" (the umbrella name for all cash-transfer benefits) until it reached 12 million families. But he slowly discontinued the programs that had produced economic gains — a process that accelerated under President Dilma Rousseff, who took office in 2011.
Private investors were scared off by zigzag regulatory changes. Government finances were stressed by the rising cost of developmental projects like the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, as well as by generous wage concessions for public employees. After growing 7.5 percent in 2010, Brazil's gross domestic product growth has stalled as the Chinese economy has slowed. Simultaneously, inflation and interest rates are rising.
The first protest was aimed at a bus fare increase decreed by the mayor of São Paulo, who is aligned with Lula and Rousseff. But responsibility for crowd control fell under the governor of São Paulo state, who is a leading force in the opposition to President Rousseff. Soon the protestors were crowded out by waves of upper-middle-class and wealthy citizens touched by strong images depicting police violence. The protestors called for solidarity marches in other cities.
But spontaneous crowds -- everywhere, not just in Brazil -- lack a consistent agenda and a leadership that can enact reform. The protesters will not win much and will soon recede. And unfortunately Brazil will remain socially unequal, attached to failed ideologies -- economically stagnate but still democratic.

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