From Hayek to Guedes

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By Tarso Genro*

Jean Delumeau said in a conference that the XNUMXth century was the most criminal in history, in which “fear reached its apex”, because, “to the extermination of Jews and gypsies that Hitler tried to carry out, add – before and after – the massacre of Armenians and the genocides in Cambodia and Rwanda” (In: Essays on Fear, Senac, 2004).

I intuit that the XNUMXst Century will overcome the XNUMXth Century in barbarism, hunger, lack of love, fragmentation and precariousness in human relations.

It is evident that the great historical narratives have not lost, nor will they lose their vigor, but if it is true that “a dozen years ago the governments of sovereign states did not (know) in advance how the markets (would) react” (John Gray ), at this stage of world integration – under the command of the agencies of global finance capital – markets can be oriented to react according to the needs of overaccumulation. There are markets free from all influence of democratic politics, but there are no financial markets free from the domination and technique of the global agencies of this capital.

I mention these new features of contemporary totalitarian or democratic finance and politics because all politics and all economics have become internationalized. And if, on the one hand, the great historical narratives have not lost their validity, on the other hand, they must be considered as capable of making us understand only shorter periods. It is about the sum and superposition of daily life in the sublimation of the present pressured by the contraction of the future. Just as survival tactics and strategies merge in immediate life, political tactics and strategy tend to unify, in every moment of dispute, over the course of common life.

The libertarian, democratic and socialist parties do not talk about it and it seems that they do not try to think about it, to at least assess whether there really is a giant change in the way of seeing politics and of feeling the people who navigate in the black fridays of life. It seems that they are still waiting for the “big sales” of the great days of History, as a concentrated moment where changes and revolutions will take place, which, incidentally, have already arrived from the opposite side.

Not even in classical neoliberalism was there such abdication of market regulatory instruments, as is happening in our country at the moment. Enough
remember that Chile – even under a dictatorial regime of radical economic liberalization – did not renounce the state copper monopoly, which incidentally had a special quota of resources transferred directly to the financing of the Armed Forces. It was an “interventionist” political decision by the State, with restrictions on the “free market”.

Those who know the debate between Popper and Hayek know that both – liberals in different degrees and moderates when compared to Paulo Guedes – supported the need for state regulations to guarantee “market freedom”, which implied, on the part of both, the recognition of a certain “auspicious marriage between economics and politics”.

The dominant vision in liberalism, however, which already courtes the dictatorship to eliminate the obstacles of the Social State (which shifts income “from top to bottom”) is already formulated differently: politics, free elections, democratic dissent hinders entrepreneurial creativity and free enterprise. This is the logic defended by those who have an instrumental view of democracy and consider it an inappropriate decision-making method for political coexistence, when it comes to promoting immediate business interests.

Says a typical businessman from Rio Grande do Sul, admirer of the democratic President Bolsonaro: “the [Brazilian State is] interventionist, bureaucratic, with a cost greater than society can bear and governed by the populist clientelist patrimonialism of the “next election”. This context discourages the generation of jobs, systemic competitiveness and the economic growth necessary for insertion in the globalized economy” (W. Lídio Nunes, Zero hour, edition of 27.11.2019). It doesn't cross your lucid mind that the Social State of Law was configured – historically – to protect a little those who have “difficulties to live”, and not only serve those who have “difficulties to undertake”.

István Mézáros in his now classic In addition to the capital (Boitempo, 2002, p. 29), says that “the great error of post-capitalist societies – as he designated the USSR – was the fact that they tried to “compensate” for the structural determination of the system they inherited by imposing, on adversary elements, , of an extremely centralized command structure in an authoritarian political state”. In it, politics disappeared as a free movement of civil society.

What Mészáros seeks to clarify is that the attempt to “revoke” the laws of the market through the force of the state bureaucracy – without considering the social and political consequences of each centralized Plan – scrapped the Soviet experience. The “removal of the private capitalist personifications of capital – he continues – was not (…) sufficient, as a first step”, to give efficiency to the new system and give a healthy role to bureaucrats, in the transition to socialism”.

Those who reject democratic elections because they have political influence in the market, simply propose to exchange total state bureaucrats for the supreme authority of corporate bureaucrats who love the perfect market: neoliberalism. supermodel, today in its ultra radical version.

Mészáros' criticism had been made explicit, years before, by Leon Trotsky. In his principled critique against the Stalinist bureaucratic regime, the commander of the Red Army and defender of the militarization of the Unions, defended the need to “combine plan, market and Soviet democracy”, during the period he called the “transition period”, Plan , therefore, linked to the market and democracy, would mean for Trotsky the integration of politics with the economy, so that the latter would not be tied to the calculations of the bureaucracy, which would take care – in the Stalinist regime after the Second World War – mainly of the conditions for the reproduction of the its own power.

In Brazil

These questions about the market, which have to do with socialism and social democracy, as well as political democracy, are enough to provoke some reflections on what we are experiencing in Brazil. It is a country in which neoliberalism – accepted and widespread with social democracy to different degrees – has been replaced by ultraliberalism, which seeks to separate – formally and materially – economics from politics.

Can this ultraliberalism, which now extinguishes the primacy of democratic politics in state management, be defeated by the neoliberal conception, already “civilized” by social democracy?

Everything indicates otherwise, as can be seen from the very effects of the ultraliberal reforms, which create their own social base and dampen any mass resistance to their reformist plans. The reforms force a huge mass of workers to live only in the present, with no prospect of social protection. They are human groups that think they are “masters of their own nose” and whose insecure future will only materialize in the medium or long term.

It is a question of formulating, then, another question, whose answer can be conformist or provoke an innovative political strategy, to oppose an unprecedented situation in Latin America. What to do, if the forces of ultraliberalism – extinguishing the Social State pact – delegate political speech directly to the financial market, outside the parties? The market, occupying the territory of politics, with its permissions or prohibitions of what can or cannot in capitalist democracy.

I ask why the political game is no longer the same as that of classical Thatcherite neoliberalism. It spoke through the traditional parties and openly presented its projects, but currently the predominant ultraliberalism dispenses with democratic mediation. This is replaced – fully – by the ghostly institution called market. This subsumes politics, building new values ​​of coexistence, alien to the daily needs of a democratically governed community: there is no democracy in the market, as only those with purchasing power have a vote.

The question that follows is more dramatic and its answer may give rise to an innovative strategy: what we are seeing is a detail of the crisis of liberal-representative democracy or is it the antechamber of a new type of fascism – at the same time “social” and parastatal – where the new Leader politician is the voice of the market in the oligopolistic media?

 It seems to me that this question is decisive for us to understand what is happening in Brazil, as an original experience – new and radical – on which leftist parties have not made more accurate reflections, whether in their congresses or through the educational manifestation of their nuclei. leaders.

When the President refuses to talk about the economy – “because that is up to Guedes” and completes by saying that he does not understand the subject –, he actually says much more than that. He says, for example, that economic decisions no longer pass through politics, therefore, they do not pass through elections, parties, programs and plurality of views on the subject: politics only exists isolated in the symbolic dimension of fascism – in gestures and speech presidential – and the economy, which guides people's daily survival, is expressed in the reforms adjusted by the ultraliberal technique. These, while suffocating politics, dilute traditional class society.

Brazil lives under a pact signed between dominant classes and groups to endorse the radical separation between economy and politics. Guedes, however – responsible for the economy – is not a neoliberal in the classic and “Thatcherian” sense of the term, but an ultraliberal. As such, it seeks to extinguish any regulatory institution from the market, thereby deflating the possibility that politics can play an active role in building a sovereign nation.

Bolsonaro is an interpreter of the sociopathy of fascism. He was singled out – by the local ruling classes – as an “ultraliberal implementer without a conscience”. He thus constitutes the symmetrical complement of Guedes, as he is fully aware of what he is doing. Both share what in Chile was synthesized in a single man: Pinochet, the primate killer who did not pass - as the writer of the article would say. Zero hour – “by the sieve of populist clientelism in the next election”, but he knew how to put those who resisted his authoritarian delusions under arms.

*Tarsus in law he was governor of Rio Grande do Sul and Minister of Justice in the Lula government.

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