Pornhub soft and consigned hard

Image: Burak The Weekender


Exploitation via indebtedness is the most pornographic aspect of Brazilian neoliberalism

Pornhub, one of the most popular adult content sites, frequently posts ranking countries with greater access to pornographic content available on its platform. Pornhub users in Brazil access between seven and nine minutes of pornography daily. We are not, when it comes to the taste for adult pornography, in the western vanguard. I do not believe, however, that this position is the result of the vigilance of the evangelical bench that insists on preserving the values ​​of the traditional family. Dad-Mom isn't even a very popular search category on the site. There is, however, a type of pornography more harmful to the country than that available on adult pornography sites. Really pornography hard. the pornography hard of secured loans.

Figure 1. Daily access time, by country, to Pornhub
Source: Pornhub (2023)

It is not new that Brazil occupies, unlike conventional adult pornography, a prominent place in the West in terms of interest. The Selic (Special Settlement and Custody System) in force reached 13,75%. The impact of the continued increase in the Selic rate on public debt and on everyday life is undeniable. Why, with R$1 million, should you choose to invest in a greengrocer, assuming the usual market risks, and not in a 2026 pre-fixed direct Treasury bond (12,39% pa)?

Why assume the risks with fixed capital, rent, inputs and labor, when I can acquire an LCA (Agribusiness Letters of Credit) or LCI (Real Estate Credit Letters) with interest above 11% pa and with no incidence of income tax? Forget, however, the dynamics of fixed income, after all, the public involved in this type of investment, in general, has some surplus income and a level of information about the market different from those who were used to depositing their resources in the traditional savings account. Let's look for a moment at debtors.

Data from Serasa-Experian (2023) offer a picture of Brazilian consumer indebtedness. There were, in December 2022, 69,4 million defaulting consumers. The Brazilian adult population is, basically, an indebted population. The segment of banks and finance companies account for 44,3% of debt commitments of more than 310 billion reais negative. Another part of this indebtedness, equivalent to 28,2%, accounts for debts to the retail and services sector. To govern the indebted man, to remind the critic Maurizio Lazzarato, does not mean preventing him from consuming. It just means that credit will precede and justify family and individual consumption.

Understanding debt mechanisms, however, is not so simple, especially in a country with a labor market and retail prices that are so regionally unequal. But the debt mechanisms, due to the integrated strategies of the financial system, are similar. In summary. The cost of work and consumption is very different, depending on the regional and social context, the cost of interest and, therefore, the cost of personal debt.

Figure 2. Interest (%) annual, in selected institutions, on payroll loans, by modality, 2023
Source: Central Bank of Brazil (2023)

The payroll loan, regulated by the Brazilian State since the early 2000s, is considered a safe operation. It is a loan with a payment guarantee, since it will be debited from the payroll, for example, of civil servants and beneficiaries of the INSS (National Institute of Social Security). The INSS, monthly, issues more than 35 million benefits in different modalities. The average value of retirement and pension benefits is just a little higher than 1 minimum wage.

These millions of rural and urban retirees and pensioners, as well as beneficiaries of the BPC (Continued Provision Benefit), are harassed on a daily basis without the financial institutions being punished. We are dealing, so to speak, with an almost infinite stock of debt that, by itself, would justify the profits of the banking sector. The payroll interest, according to legend, would be incomparable to those applied to personal loans. Borrowing money to eat, pay daily bills and, above all, purchase medication are common in the daily lives of poor INSS beneficiaries.

Figure 2, constructed from data from the Central Bank, indicates a considerable variation in interest rates for the payroll loan modalities. For the INSS insured person, the most vulnerable part, given the association between income and age, annual interest exceeds 24% per year, reaching, in some institutions, more than 28% per year. The variation in interest rates for the public sector is also considerable. Banks, when the subject is consigned, idolize public servants. It is an indebted reserve army. It does not reach, however, the 42,81% of annual payroll interest recorded in the private sector. It would undoubtedly be safer to borrow from the Soprano family. but the newspaper The globe think differently!

Figure 3. Cover – Jornal O Globo, 17/03/2023
Source: The Globe (2023)

The headline on March 17, 2023 was: “Banks suspend INSS payroll after government lowers interest rates”. The text, on the front page and in the body of the newspaper, mentions a reduction from “2,14% per year to 1,70% per year”. Pornhub, cite the entirety of Article 1 of Resolution CNPS/MTP No. 1.350, of March 13, 2023, signed by Minister Carlos Lupi:

Art. 1st Recommend that the National Institute of Social Security – INSS set the maximum interest rate per month, for payroll loan operations for social security benefits, at one and seventy hundredths percent (1,70%) and, for operations carried out through credit card and paycheck benefit card, in two whole sixty-two hundredths percent (2,62%). (Official Gazette of the Union, 2023)

The reduction indicated by the Resolution is clear in terms of monthly interest and not annual interest, as disclosed by The globe. Banks, in the opinion of the hegemonic press, resemble the Franciscan institutions that condemned usury. The ceiling proposed by the government, therefore, would be 20,4% per year, which is already an insult, given the characteristics of this type of operation. The government proposes a Pornsoft. Banks, however, are addicted to Pornhard.

From all this it is clear why Brazil does not occupy the top positions in the ranking from Pornhub. It is possible that there is a correlation between a type of masculine virility, translated in the taste for the virtual sexual act, and indebtedness, which causes constant worries, undoubtedly affecting the male libido. The time of orgasm, between seven and nine minutes, is worrying for this generation of alpha males used to drinking Campari. But make no mistake. Exploitation via indebtedness is the most pornographic aspect of Brazilian neoliberalism. It is she, and not the erotic sites, that destroys the (monetary) values ​​of the Brazilian family.

* Tadeu Alencar Arrais He is a professor at the Department of Geography at the Federal University of Goiás (UFG).


“Banks suspend payroll at INSS after government lowers interest rates”. The globe. 17/03/2023.;modalidade:218;encargo:101. Accessed on 17/03/2023. Accessed on 17/03/2023.

Lazzarato, Maurizio. The government of the indebted man. São Paulo, N1 Editions, 2017.

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