O que é este blog?
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;
Meu Twitter: https://twitter.com/PauloAlmeida53
sexta-feira, 31 de julho de 2020
Library of Congress
Brazil: Hispanic Division Country Guide
Agronegócio e meio ambiente – separando o joio e o trigo
Jornal “O Estado de S. Paulo”, Opinião, 31/07/2020.
Marcos S. Jank*
Em vez de negar os fatos, é hora de arrumar a casa coibindo o desmatamento ilegal e implementando o Código Florestal.
Aprendemos ao longo da vida que os fatos são os fatos e é a partir deles que temos de construir as nossas estratégias e ações.
Pois bem, é fato que a preocupação com desmatamento mudou de patamar no mundo, deixando de se limitar à pressão isolada de ONGs ambientais e entrando de forma estrutural na agenda de organizações internacionais, governos, bancos, investidores,
A reação do agronegócio tem sido responder com outro fato, relacionado às conquistas ambientais históricas do País: o elevado estoque de áreas florestadas (dois terços da área do País), a matriz energética limpa e renovável, o Código Florestal rigoroso, as técnicas de agricultura de baixo carbono, os ganhos de produtividade e outros.
Esses são os fatos. Mas a questão que está sobre a mesa não é o estoque de conquistas do passado, mas sim o fluxo de problemas do presente e a impacto da percepção negativa sobre eles no futuro.
Falhamos em controlar o desmatamento, composto por 95% de conversão ilegal de floresta principalmente sobre terras devolutas (sem destinação). Falhamos na implementação do Código Florestal, que oito anos após sua assinatura continua sendo mais promessa do que prática, sem garantir a segurança jurídica de que precisamos.
Falhamos em não regularizar a situação fundiária e ambiental da Região Norte, sabendo que direitos de propriedade e ordenamento do território são pilares de qualquer processo de desenvolvimento. Falhamos nos mecanismos de “comando e controle” que precisam ser exercidos nas bordas do bioma Amazônico. A ideia de pagamento por serviços ambientais ainda é uma ficção, já que até aqui ninguém quer pagar por eles. A floresta em pé tem menos valor que a floresta derrubada, apesar das promessas da bioeconomia.
A agenda de política pública da Amazônia é vasta e complexa, acumulando décadas de conflitos e insegurança jurídica. No agro, os dois setores mais expostos são a soja e a pecuária de corte.
Por isso as maiores empresas desses setores assumiram compromissos de não adquirir produtos de seus fornecedores diretos que tenham inconformidades nas áreas ambiental e social. A Cargill e o Marfrig deram passos à frente nesse processo, prometendo eliminar completamente o desmatamento de toda a sua cadeia de suprimentos até 2030 (
A decisão dessas duas empresas abre a avenida para que grandes empresas do varejo, do processamento de alimentos e da produção agropecuária se unam para construir cadeias produtivas livres de desmatamento, com garantia de originação sustentável e rastreável – do bezerro ao boi terminado, no caso da pecuária.
Hoje já há nichos de mercado para soja não transgênica, carnes de origem vegetal e orgânica, certificações de “produtos locais” e de respeito ao bem-estar dos animais e dezenas de outros segmentos.
A pressão do consumidor final por produtos “livres de desmatamento” forçará as empresas a reorganizar suas cadeias de suprimento para ofertá-los. Mas ainda não se sabe se o mercado vai, de fato, oferecer um pagamento pelos serviços ambientais do produtor que tenha excedente de vegetação nativa que poderia ser convertido dentro da lei.
Também não sabemos se a construção de cadeias produtivas livres de desmatamento proposta por empresas como Cargill e Marfrig vai se tornar “referência” para outros players. Ou se essa será uma iniciativa isolada, com o produto gerado por desmatamento ilegal “escapando” para outros canais de distribuição do mercado doméstico, que é menos exigente.
Vale lembrar que a nossa soja é facilmente rastreável e basicamente dirigida à exportação. Já o nosso plantel de bois é enorme, muda de propriedade algumas vezes ao longo do ciclo produtivo e é basicamente destinado ao mercado interno. Não há dúvida que a pecuária é o nosso calcanhar de Aquiles no tema do desmatamento e onde temos de concentrar nossos esforços.
Estima-se que menos de 2% dos produtores sejam responsáveis por 62% do desmatamento ilegal na Amazônia e no Cerrado. Ainda que o governo seja o principal responsável pelo combate à ilegalidade, acredito que a pressão de clientes e financiadores falará mais alto. Pesquisa do BCG indica que 95% dos brasileiros esperam que as grandes empresas tenham mais comprometimento com questões ambientais.
Por isso, em vez de negar os fatos, é hora de arrumar a casa, começando pela união contra o desmatamento ilegal e a favor da implementação imediata do Código Florestal. Agricultores, empresas e associações do agronegócio deveriam ser os primeiros a carregar com força essa bandeira.
Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation
Though I am gone, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe.
Mr. Lewis, the civil rights leader who died on July 17, wrote this essay shortly before his death, to be published upon the day of his
The New York Times
While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.
That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, though I was admitted to the hospital the following day. I just had to see and feel it for myself that, after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on.
Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor. He was 14 when he was killed, and I was only 15 years old at the time. I will never ever forget the moment when it became so clear that he could easily have been me. In those days, fear constrained us like an imaginary prison, and troubling thoughts of potential brutality committed for no understandable reason were the bars.
Though I was surrounded by two loving parents, plenty of brothers, sisters and cousins, their love could not protect me from the unholy oppression waiting just outside that family circle.
Unchecked, unrestrained violence and government-sanctioned terror had the power to turn a simple stroll to the store for some Skittles or an innocent morning jog down a lonesome country road into a nightmare. If we are to survive as one unified nation, we must discover what so readily takes root in our hearts that could rob Mother Emanuel Church in South Carolina of her brightest and best, shoot unwitting concertgoers in Las Vegas and choke to death the hopes and dreams of a gifted violinist like Elijah McClain.
Like so many young people today, I was searching for a way out, or some might say a way in, and then I heard the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on an old radio. He was talking about the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. He said we are all complicit when we tolerate injustice.
He said it is not enough to say it will get better by and by. He said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.
Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.
You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, through decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time.
Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.
Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe.
When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.
John Lewis, the civil rights leader and congressman who died on July 17, wrote this essay shortly before his death.
Editorial New York Times, July 17, 2020:
In the 1980s, German intellectual life was very much agitated by something called the “historian’s dispute” (
As it unfolded, the dispute concerned many things. It started with Nolte’s pernicious suggestion that the Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann had declared war in 1939 on Germany on behalf of the Jewish people, as if that licensed what Germany did next. The dispute proceeded through Nolte’s contention that Adolf Hitler had acted in response to Josef Stalin’s prior atrocities, as if two wrongs could make a right. But a major part of the dispute turned on the propriety of comparison. It was about the plausibility of analogizing National Socialism to other phenomena before and after.
When Michiko Kakutani famously made an
That comparison requires a careful ethic is the lesson three years on, for the sake of understanding and mobilization alike. It is surely fodder for some future ironist that, after our era of fearing Trump’s actions, he appears set in the current pandemic to go down in history for a worse sin of inaction. For all his abuses of the powers accorded the presidency in the prior generation, his failure to deploy them now seems more glaring. His hijinks in flouting the rule of law, though inexcusable, have not concealed the continuity of American governance, for good and for ill. (The Republicans have gotten their conservative judges and tax cuts, just as before.) William Barr is the reincarnation of
In 2016, the impulse to draw comparisons to some of the worst episodes in European history may have been understandable and even useful. The future was opaque and elites were shaken by the election results. And there were strategic uses to such warnings. The horrors coming were likely, though no one knew their exact form. Sometimes, the sky does not fall in precisely the way the chickens fear, but it is still the right move to cluck.
Yet people forget that analogy had commonly seemed noxious, not necessary, in the previous century. The Weimar syndrome has often led to bad things, and the comparison to fascism had normally been agreed to be dubious. Nolte, for example, had made his name with
In the midst of the German dispute in 1986, that comparison led him to intolerable excesses, both intellectually and politically. Comparison excused, rather than indicted. Martin Broszat of the Munich Institute for Contemporary History, an
One of the deepest American critics of such apologetic comparisons at the time was the Harvard University historian Charles Maier. Comparative exercises were crucial, Maier observed, but they were potentially misleading, too—especially when analogies were made without the balance provided by its obverse, disanalogy. “Any genuine comparative exercise emphasizes uniqueness as much as similarity; it establishes what is common in contrast to what is distinctive,” Maier, as master of comparative analysis himself, concluded. “Comparison must be a two-edged sword.” Indeed, as one of the greatest modern historians, the Frenchman Marc Bloch, had argued fifty years earlier, the whole point of comparison, when responsible, is to isolate what is singular and thus in need of new attention. A comparison cannot be about ignoring distinctions, but must isolate them, or it is negligent or reckless.
The Nazi regime did indeed resemble other regimes. It was just that the similarities that conservative Germans cited were trivial. In Germany after 1933, the conductors “von Karajan and Furtwängler produced music; the post office delivered mail,” Maier conceded. So what? Of course, Nazi Germany was similar in some respects to other examples, but that is true of everything in the world—and banal. Everything, after all, shares an indefinite number of traits with everything else, and differs just as much. No two items one might connect are entirely identical, nor utterly distinct. What matters in responsible comparison are the reasons why you want to stress one or another similarity—and whether you take seriously major differences. Without acknowledging differences, comparison is partisanship, and not always in a good cause.
For Maier, the conservative Germans were obfuscating the fact that their ancestors, and no one else, had built the death camps. This made the Nazi project distinctive. In saying so, he wasn’t appealing to some mystical notion that things in general are “incommensurable” in the world, sharing nothing in common with one another. He wasn’t contending at all that comparison itself is never allowed. In fact, almost no one trades on that notion. There is no ban on analogy, which sits at the heart of human reasoning. If there is any risk in our public discussion, indeed, it is the opposite one of a surfeit of comparisons so thick that a day on the Internet does not pass without the shades of multiple pasts haunting every new event. Rather, Maier’s point was that analogy only works responsibly in tandem with disanalogy. The two depend on each other. And too much of the one without enough of the other, Maier insisted, is deceptive and ideological.
Now, on one level, our analogies since 2016 are very different from those made in the historian’s dispute thirty years earlier. Far from relativizing what made Hitler’s Germany special by comparison to other states, we have feared that precisely the distinctive evil of his regime, or of fascist horror generally, was back in our time. And so, one might assume that abnormalizing Trump is innocent of the same intellectual mistakes that normalizing Nazism involved in the historian’s dispute. It isn’t. It has turned out that riotous analogy without disanalogy is an error for those who want to impose stigma, and not only for those who seek to lift it.
For those doubtful about the fascism analogy for Trumpism—and I count myself as one of them—the point is to appreciate both continuity and novelty better than the comparison allows. Abnormalizing Trump disguises that he is quintessentially American, the expression of enduring and indigenous syndromes. A response to what he represents hardly requires a restoration of “normalcy” but a questioning of the status quo ante Trump that produced him. Comparison to Nazism and fascism imminently threatening to topple democracy distracts us from how we made Trump over decades, and implies that the coexistence of our democracy with long histories of killing, subjugation, and terror—including its most recent, if somewhat sanitized, forms of mass incarceration and rising inequality at home, and its tenuous empire and regular war-making abroad—was somehow less worth the alarm and opprobrium. Selective outrage after 2016 says more about the outraged than the outrageous.
It is no contradiction to add to this qualm that comparing our current situation in America to fascism also spares ourselves the trouble of analyzing what is really new about it. For all its other virtues, comparison in general does not do well with the novelty that Trump certainly represents, for all of his preconditions and sources. It is true that in the face of novelty, analogy with possible historical avatars is indispensable, to abate confusion and to seek orientation. But there is no doubt that it often compounds the confusion as the ghosts of the past are allowed to walk again in a landscape that has changed profoundly. Comparison is always a risky tool; it leads to blindness, not just insight.
But keeping us honest is not the only reason that contrasts are essential at every turn. The politics of comparison are routinely bad. The best defense of analogy is that it could help improve our situation, by attracting crucial allies, and plotting next steps. Arguably, comparison served some of those functions in the early Trump years. I confess I found the
A friend of mine and another Harvard historian, Peter Gordon,
Another colleague and friend, Jason Stanley, has argued judiciously in his book
The only real question is whether, when the stirrings of fascism are redefined
Stanley’s project, precisely because it is so open to the depravities of American history, is also open to political doubts. The choice of the word “fascist” to describe them both trades on the extraordinary horror people feel when that allegation is made and at the same time undermines it by making fascism so quotidian and ordinary in human affairs as to become something like their essence. And while there is no doubt that identifying the oppression at the heart of most US politics to date is worthwhile, it is unclear what the label of fascism adds in practical terms.
It may be unfair to worry that analogies to the collapse of Weimar or the coming of fascism are actually harmful. True, around the world and constantly in American life since the 1940s, politicians have used such comparisons to justify the worst preemptive steps, from ghastly suppressions of local student opposition to even ghastlier responses to global Communist threats. Acts in the name of preserving democracy, not just scuttling it, have been a nasty business. And there is room to argue that, this time around, American analogies with regime collapse have had grievous consequences. Not only have they helped rehabilitate some of those most responsible for Trump himself—like neoconservatives who found a new audience among liberals after losing control of the Republican Party—but they have also helped determine the fate of the Democratic Party, which chose a “Never Trump” candidate over a transformational one.
But the more devastating truth is that bad analogies have been less harmful than useless. Occluding what led to the rise of Trump (who posed as a victims’ candidate) and “Trump-washing” the American political elite before him who led to so much suffering are less serious mistakes than delaying and distorting a collective resolve about what steps would lead us out of the present morass. In no sense have the fascist comparisons made a productive difference in devising them. Charging fascism does nothing on its own. Only building an alternative to the present does, which requires imagining it first.
If, as seems likeliest, Joe Biden wins the presidency, Trump will come to be treated as an aberration whose rise and fall says nothing about America, home of antifascist heroics that overcame him just as it once slew the worst monsters abroad. Those who warned against the coming of fascism will congratulate themselves for saving the home of the free and redeeming the land of the brave, which somehow lurched towards the brink. They will cordon off the interlude, as if it was “an accident in the factory,” as Germans after World War II described their twelve-year mistake. Far from recognizing Trump as not just the product of and verdict on what came before, they will see his passing as the confirmation of the need to restore it. A few will wonder what happened to the discourse of fascism, and remember the disquieting possibility that fascist tendencies lurk everywhere in modern politics. But their books will sell in smaller numbers. Most will consider the danger past. This is, after all, America.
Comparison, even when controlled by the ballast of contrast, is a political act to be judged successful or not. We must clarify not just what is common when we compare, but also what is distinctive. And, in doing so, we must participate in bringing about a better future, not a worse one, if we can. Analogy and disanalogy with the past can assist in analyzing our present, but not if they allow indulging in a melodramatic righteousness, and luxuriating in our fears, all while preparing a terrifyingly normal future.