Philanthropy

Carlos Zilio, 1970, FIXATION, 47x32,5
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By RUBENS PINTO LYRA*

Ideology, social policies and charitable actions

“A part of the bourgeoisie, philanthropists, humanitarians, charity organizers, social reformers of the most varied kind, wish to remedy social ills to ensure the existence of bourgeois society”
(Karl Marx, in The Manifesto of the Communist Party)

These words by the still young Marx, written 170 years ago, are still relevant today. The great German thinker addressed them to what he called, at the time, “bourgeois socialists” (MARX: 1998, p. 40). Nevertheless, they fit like a glove to our current philanthropists - despite not being socialists - humanitarians and "charity organizers", who seek, consciously or not, to cover the sun with the sieve, intending to give effectiveness to notoriously ineffective actions. .

The media, especially Rede Globo, make a point of highlighting acts of generosity of an individual nature, such as Christmas without Hunger and those of marketing business, of which the Criança Esperança program is an example, as initiatives of the utmost importance to mitigate social inequality.

These are, in fact, mere palliatives that serve, consciously or not, to give good conscience to those who imagine that campaigns like the ones mentioned above are worth carrying out.

Natal sem Fome is a promotion, like other similar ones, the result of the generosity of many disinterested individuals, who really want to promote good. But it does not aim to achieve what would be interesting: that its beneficiaries do not go hungry throughout the year.

Thus, this initiative works – without its promoters being aware of it – as a smokescreen that hides the imperative need to search for more social equality, and to identify the means that make it possible.

However, it is not difficult to see that sponsors of campaigns referring to different “philanthropies” - as a general rule, the media - know very well that this is a way of eliminating the need for debate on the structural causes of hunger and on how to eliminate it. -there.

Among them, the Criança Esperança program stands out, which is the object, annually, on Rede Globo, of high-impact media campaigns, which exhaustively publicize successful experiences, giving them almost demiurgical virtues.

They convey the false impression that Brazil's problems would be considerably lessened if programs of this type were disseminated.

They function as a screen that hides the contrast between what is raised in donations – never more than 23 million reais – (CRIANÇA ESPERANÇA:2019), and the billions that would be needed to guarantee every Brazilian child, as stipulated in the Constitution, food , health and quality education: '“To give you an idea of ​​how modest the resources of this program are, considering the objective of 'transforming the lives of Brazilian children: suffice it to say that its collection represents less than 1% of the profit got Rede Globo. It, alone, could afford a program of much greater reach than the current one” (LYRA: 2018, p. 79).]

Rede Globo, in a subliminal way, is to inculcate in its viewers a minimalist conception of the State, considered necessarily wasteful and which suffocates everyone with excruciating taxes.

Hence its commitment to make believe that the solution to Brazil’s problems passes through “society”, that is, above all, wage earners and other worker categories, through the support they may give to voluntary initiatives of a palliative nature (LYRA: 2018, p. .79-80).

Those who endorse such campaigns contribute, nolens volens, for the maintenance of an unjust social order, as they intend to replace consequential initiatives to overcome it – struggles for fairer social policies, or, more broadly, for socialism – with benevolent actions, of an individual or corporate nature, which little or nothing contribute to reducing the blatant social inequality in the country.

In this same perspective, the comments of media presenters and other Famous. They consider that initiatives of this type will have the power to change people and society in the post-pandemic social life of covid-19 for the better.

This is misleading reasoning, laced with conservative ideology, which – consciously or not – conceals the true alternatives for improving the human and social condition in Brazil.

About them – and not by chance – there is absolute silence in the media: public policies that substantially change the abysmal inequality that, with the pandemic, tends to get worse.

The media also give great prominence to the philanthropy of large financial and industrial corporations, such as, for example, Bradesco and Itaú.

They boast that these are generous initiatives. Even if their donations correspond to the waiver of an insignificant portion of their profits, they are credited with contributing significantly to reducing inequality – for which they are primarily responsible.

This kind of philanthropy is nothing more than a lucrative investment, as it serves to give them the image of organizations that do not only aim at profit: they are willing to contribute to the good of the country.

It also serves to divert attention to the fact that large companies, especially those in the financial system, are the pillars of a cruelly unjust social order. Indeed, “in a country that is one of the world champions of social inequality, only five billionaires hold the same wealth as the poorest half of the country! (FIVE…,2020).

Under these conditions, it is not surprising that “the pandemic exposes social inequality and reveals that black and poor people are the most affected” (PANDEMIA, 2020).

It cannot, therefore, be claimed that we can advance in human dignity, that we will do “better than before”, knowing that the fundamental rights of the poor and excluded in that country are even more vulnerable in the post-pandemic period.

Something quite different are the bonds of solidarity among the poor, forged in the pandemic, as well as the awareness of middle-class citizens, who have come to better understand the inseparable link between personal well-being and social equality.

Countless initiatives have been taken by the poorest communities across Brazil to make up for, with their own means, the devastating consequences of the covid-19 pandemic.

Wise, albeit harsh, are the words of the former Minister of Finance, Ambassador Rubens Ricupero: “the country will come out of the pandemic worse in every way, very hurt, with more social problems” (RICUPERO, 2020).

The proposal of Folha de São Paulo for the economic crisis

The publication by Folha de São Paulo, from the editorial of March 30, 2020, entitled Precious Resources, with the subtitle “in times of crisis, corporatism cannot avoid cutting working hours and salaries”, says a lot about the way in which the neo-liberal ideology intends to face the problems resulting from the economic crisis.

In this editorial, by defending the linear and universal reduction of salaries of public servants, together with that of their working hours, the Sheet intends to place the burden of the economic crisis related to this pandemic on the shoulders of civil servants (EDITORIAL, 2020).

An elitist proposal par excellence, it does not even take into account the enormous salary difference between civil servants, among whom only a small minority, encrusted, above all, in the Legislative and in the legal careers of the three Powers, would eventually be able to suffer cuts in wages and of workday.

This is a doubly obtuse suggestion. On the one hand, it penalizes those who receive lower wages to the extreme, compromising their basic needs, with serious repercussions on the performance of their duties. On the other hand, it discourages highly qualified professionals – for example, university professors.

In fact, the average remuneration of this category, despite the expressive number of highly qualified professors – holders of a doctor's degree – corresponds, on average, to only half of the earnings of members of the Judiciary Power and the Public Prosecutor's Office.

But if one takes into account the actual remuneration of members of the aforementioned careers, with all the frills to which they are entitled, the remuneration of university professors falls well short of that half.

It is, therefore, evident that Folha's proposal, in addition to discouraging the categories of qualified employees in the public sector, causing a possible evasion, would also not encourage the most competent to join it, with harmful repercussions for their quality.

Llast but not least. The violent fall in the remuneration of tens of thousands of civil servants would contribute to accentuate what Folha's ultra-liberalism intends to combat: the immediate or short-term perspective of recession, considering the inevitable shrinkage of demand, in an economic environment already depleted.

Symptomatically, the epigones of liberalism do not even consider calling for the “sacrifice” the greatest beneficiaries of Brazilian social inequality: the select group of billionaires that we have already alluded to.

Nor, consistent with their ideology, are they willing to discuss alternatives to current neo-liberalism, such as strengthening the Welfare State, whose policies would be the only ones capable of reducing the brutal inequality between classes that exists in the country.

OWelf state is sustained by the taxation of capital income and the higher taxation imposed on holders of higher salaries or incomes, whether individuals or companies, with fortunes, real estate transactions and luxury goods being heavily taxed (LYRA: 1918, ps.79- 80).

SINDILEGIS – Union of Civil Servants of the Federal Legislative Power and the Federal Court of Accounts – criticizing Folha's proposal to cut civil servants' wages, asks: “Did anyone question the BRL 1.2 trillion aid given to banks”? Was this amount really necessary? (ELESBÃO, 2020).

The true path of change and hope is not manifested, neither in generous nor frankly misleading initiatives, by anyone who intends to replace the State's action to reduce inequality.

This path translates into the implementation of social policies that combat it, combined with the adoption of measures aimed at deepening democracy and popular participation.

* Rubens Pinto Lyra, PhD in Public Law and Political Science, is Professor Emeritus at UFPB.

References


CRIANÇA ESPERANÇA breaks historic record by reaching 22.5 million.Available at f5.uol.com.br>televisão>2019/8>criança>esperança

EDITORIAL. Precious resources. Folha de São Paulo, São Paulo, 31.Mar.2020.

ELESBÃO, Petrus. Precious resources are people. Folha de São Paulo, São Paulo, 1.4.2020.

Available in G1.RANKING of Federal Universities by Salaries of Teachers-News in Special. I want a bag. Accessed on 14. Jun. 2020.

GOMES, Helton.Five Brazilian billionaires concentrate the same wealth as the poorest half of the country, says study. Available: e.https//g.1.globo.com 14.jun.2020. Accessed on 15.6.2020.

LYRA, Rubens Pinto. Criança Esperança: path to change? In: Journalism and Citizenship. João Pessoa: Editora da UFPB, 2018.

MARX, Karl and Engels, Friedrich. São Paulo: Cortez, 1998.

PANDEMIA opens up social inequality and reveals that black and poor people are the most affected. Single Workers' Central.25. jul. 2020.

PENDURICALS from the Public Ministry cost 1.3 billion. Market. Sheet 25.mar. 2018.

RICUPERO says Brazil will come out of the pandemic worse in everything. Available at https.://noticias.uol.com.br 20.jun.2020. Accessed on 18.jun.2020.

 

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