Unexpected intersections

Image: Antonio Friedemann


The anarcho-capitalism that intends to extinguish the Argentine Central Bank is not far from the autonomy of the Brazilian Central Bank


Although certain political-economic ideas appear to be at opposite extremes, in reality they are so closely intertwined that they become practically indiscernible. While Javier Milei, the first president with an economic background elected in Argentina, advocates the extinction of the State to implement his chimera of an anarcho-capitalist autophagic State, Brazil is struggling with elites eager to feudalize spaces in which democratic discussion is essential.

Both aim to amalgamate the domain of technique with political decisions, as if it were possible to conduct politics under the tone of a neutral technique. In Brazil, the recent PEC 65/2023 proposes to expand the operational autonomy of the Central Bank to total operating autonomy, beyond the limits conferred by Complementary Law 179/2021, in which the president and directors of the Central Bank were granted the exercise a four-year term.

In Argentina, after the strong devaluation suffered by the peso, Javier Milei does not rule out the constitutional reform necessary to eliminate the Central Bank. In Brazil, imbued with the interest in serving the interests of the debt, it is proposed to reduce the State to the squalor of the country's public debt, lower than that of most developed and developing countries. In other words, Brazil spends obscene amounts paying interest on its debt, this amount being surpassed only by Social Security expenses. The consensus regarding the need to reduce interest rates to increase investment is widespread, however, the president of the Central Bank prevails over the national mobilization for the need to review interest rates.


This article aims to bring to the national scene the arguments developed by Clara Mattei in The Order of Capital. In the introductory note of the Brazilian edition of the work, it was pointed out in the direction that is now being implemented with PEC 65/2023, in which the President of the Central Bank Roberto Campos Neto endorses making austerity a permanent government program, dispensing with what will be the choice of ballot boxes. Because such speech appears encrypted in the technical language of changing the legal personality of the Central Bank and details that seem to reflect little on policy, the consolidation of the operational and functioning autonomy of the Central Bank inverts the equation of powers that allows the Executive to gain alliances in the Legislature to define the country's most relevant political choices. The seriousness of such a measure consists in installing anarcho-capitalism disguised as democracy.

It is the intensification of austerity, it is austerity on steroids devoid of the ideological component that right-wing liberal authoritarianism brings with it. It is allowing economists who despised democracy, as they exalted libertarian content, such as James Buchanan and Milton Friedman, to command from their graves the fragile dynamics that crush workers.

To what extent does the interest policy impact the worker? As the allocation of public spending clearly indicates, there is a relationship of inverted direct proportionality between the basic interest rate defined by the members of the Monetary Policy Committee (COPOM) and all social spending combined. The higher the basic interest rate decided by members of the Central Bank, the lower the amount allocated to social spending, as interest on the debt compromises other public spending. And if it wasn't enough how pernicious it is to commit the public budget to paying interest on the debt, the current policy creates a burden on the future.


The much-vaunted future that Stefan Zweig alluded to will not reach present or future generations, as the productive force of tomorrow still lacks the minimum that allows a country to have a mobilized working class. The lack of expansion in public spending on social spending weakens the proletariat's ability to claim rights and understand the dynamics rehearsed in the discourse of economic technique.

The economy overlaps the legal discourse in the use of technique, as the law has been assimilated as a space of understanding in civil society, while the economy still consists of a space reserved for the privileged who embark on the “difficult” task of translating econometric quantities to the laicized in society. discipline. While the Constitution played a key role in bringing legal discourse to a language closer to everyday language, such an undertaking was never contemplated by economists, who prefer to handle the translation of technical terms into an incomprehensible language.

The probability of encountering a bar conversation gravitating towards the decisions of the STF ministers is significantly higher than one in which the country's interest rate is discussed, even if the price of beer is a significant result of the interest rates that a country charges. In other words, inflation, unemployment rate and credit availability depend on interest, while a legal argument can remain in the abstract without ever directly affecting the lives of individuals debating what Mendes or Moraes think about an article of the electoral law. The economy is the crossroads of entering politics without the discomfort of revoking rights.

And under all the disguises meticulously created by those who decide in the country, the bitter medicine does not even need to be faced, as it is a given. Given that interest rates in the country are extremely high and that real interest rates fluctuate between first and second place in the world, the social expenditure that allows the emancipation of workers will not be addressed, as it is limited by something previously imposed. And so, austerity, forged under Italian fascism and in the elites of British circles, receives a charter of indemnity as a neutral and apolitical orientation, to be tried in countries of late modernity.

The expansion of the autonomy of the Central Bank is not a measure capable of allowing the independence of the Central Bank so that it does not give in to the whims of possible majorities in power. On the contrary, it makes the policy that aspires to meet the promises of the ballot box hostage to an unelected and, therefore, undemocratic circle, deciding the country's fate. Based on the blatant libertarian ideology, the country will start to operate the State machine to pay interest on the debt. Even the idea of ​​containing primary spending under an austerity proposal loses its importance, as austerity is “coupled” to interest rates.

If revenue is a limit and interest prevents either public spending being carried out all at once or taking on new debts, the unpayability of debt with astronomical interest rates prevents any alternative for redistributing wealth from being considered. It is to imagine the scenario of classical economics that alludes to the idea of ​​home – since the etymology of economics comes from oikos – if, at the domestic level, 50% of interest is spent on debts and interest tends to increase, it follows that the principal of the debt will never be paid and that every day more will be committed to cover the interest.


A State reduced to the essential minimum makes everyone act for themselves and everyone for the banks. Such a State is the anarchic state of things, and however paradoxical it may seem, it is as anarchic-capitalist as the one that proposes the extinction of the Central Bank. The difference is that, in Javier Milei's anarcho-capitalist State, everyone acts for themselves and public expenditure will not be dedicated to enforcing the law of the strongest, while, in Brazil, the strongest, not satisfied with their condition, are locupleta from the public to concentrate more power, more authority, with the violence of the state apparatus at their disposal. To achieve the tautology of the discourse, with forgiveness for those uninterested in knowing the Theory of Moral Sentiments of Adam Smith, serves a jurist.

It is not just deceased economists who continue to influence from their graves; a figure despised by the public also exercises his dominance over society. It is worth remembering that complementary law 179/2021 constitutes an adventure with the most genuine seal of Bolsonarism. Roberto Campos Neto, Jair Bolsonaro's choice for the Central Bank, is now advancing his legacy to reform the Constitution and impose a perpetual spending cap on the country disguised as austerity.

What at first glance seems sympathetic to the public service, as operating autonomy is usually perceived as something positive, in the case under consideration of this PEC, it is more like a shield immune to politics. In addition to being serious, it is anarchic, as it seeks to create a structure that ignores the political guidance of the Executive; it is savage capitalist, as it authorizes interest rates decided by a conclave to benefit banks and investors who earn more in Brazil than anywhere else on Earth; and it is authoritarian, as it ignores the democratic choices of the ballot box, allowing a regressive redistribution to the most favored to be a perennial cog in national dynamics, making little or nothing of the original constituent choices.

The intention of creating a feudal enclave of rs public to control without being held responsible (accountable), is the ultimate reason to justify the legitimate dissatisfaction of the government leadership, which finds itself outraged and held hostage without having arguments that can be transmitted to the people so that they understand the gravity of what is to come. It requires an exhaustive argumentative effort to enter a sphere whose secret is encoded not in laws, but in graphs that few understand how to face. The economy has achieved the feat of creating a discourse that oppresses without violence, as it is not the police apparatus that comes to support economic decisions, but the simple lack of interest and boredom in analyzing the core of the issues.

The project of neutralizing the economic discourse was successful, an infinity of technical terms was poured out and the audience was indifferent to what it was unable to validate. While political orientation is demarcated in hostile disputes, the ideology of the economese appears sympathetic, without explaining that it took the purchasing power away from the worker and handed it over to the banker. However, the deepening of the effects of Complementary Law 179/21 through PEC 65/23 is a catastrophe that will influence Brazilians' lives more than any political choice that could be made at the polls.

At such a sensitive moment in national politics, common sense is required to face the authoritarian liabilities left by the predecessor and not allow austerity to enter politics without at least the opportunity for debate. Constitutional reforms are not whims sealed behind closed doors, they require exhaustive and ideologically unveiled discussion of the real intentions in promoting them. The constitutional reform that intends to grant functional autonomy to the Central Bank, let's say it again and again, is ideological, political, and perpetuates austerity as a new constitutional clause.

*Mariella Pittari Merkel is a PhD student in comparative law at the Università Degli studi di Torino.

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