Lula and inequalities

Image: Magali Magalhães
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By LUIZ MARQUES*

The destruction caused by the perfect storm (conservative, neo-fascist, neoliberal) and the delay in congressional representation are obstacles that require the sensitivity of a statesman

In Brazil, bourgeois hegemony based on the idea of ​​integrated development never came to fruition, except as an unstable insertion of workers into the production circuit. Social, racial and gender inequalities persist. Saying that bankers never accumulated money like in the PT (Workers' Party) governments attests to the limits of the measures that improved the lives of 30 million citizens. Oppression cannot be overcome without facing resistance from the status quo. To govern is to choose. The left cannot give up on utopian discourse in the name of conformity with the liberal order. The democratic rule of law, per se, doesn't fill your belly and doesn't create jobs with dignity.

Furthermore, rising GDP (Gross Domestic Product) rates do not always lead to a reduction in socioeconomic and cultural differences in society. When stating that in a certain period “everyone benefited”, it is necessary to argue which groups emerged and why others achieved little. Marcelo Medeiros, in The rich and the poor, emphasizes that in order to have a policy of direct attack on inegalitarianism, wealth must include those in need in basic sanitation, health, education and urban facilities, in addition to what concerns income. The vision must be holistic. People are in a hurry to make their dreams come true, and young people are not guardians of the establishment.

It is by incorporating elements that inequities are confronted as a whole. The destruction caused by perfect storm / perfect storm (conservative, neo-fascist, neoliberal) and the delay in congressional representation are obstacles that require the sensitivity of a statesman. When guiding the taxation of large fortunes at national and international level (G-20), the government aims for global consensus to compensate for the unfavorable correlation of internal forces. Pressure from outside is the trigger. The resources would make it possible to fulfill egalitarian promises in peripheral communities.

Years ago, Marilena Chaui responded to the disqualification of an illustrious metalworker. So the “upstairs” sport was to laugh at the PT member’s under-education: the leader with the most Doctor titles Honoris Causa in renowned institutions. Oppositum sensu, the philosopher listed European prime ministers without higher education, who were not stigmatized in the press. 350 years of slavery, here, generated the prejudice that still spits out memes of resentment: “He must not improvise”.

For social advancement

The balance of Mrs. Lindu's son's third term is positive. We achieved the lowest unemployment since 2015 and the highest growth in wages since 1995. Inflation fell. The transfer to states and municipalities by the National Health Fund and the National Security Fund increased in 2023. “The increase in the transfer of resources is an expression of what it means to take care of people”, warns minister Fernando Haddad. The affiliation of the adversarial media to the logic of “investors” prevents it from criticizing the deindustrializing interest rates (10,75%) of the Central Bank. They prefer Benjamin Netanyahu's joke.

Bolsa Família reached an average value of R$680,60 and registered 55,7 million beneficiaries. The single-person Income Transfer Program, used and abused to promote a genocide, once again supported families. The Mais Médicos Program reached 25.421 professionals, almost all of them made up of Brazilian doctors in the regions of underserved municipalities. More than nine million taxpayers took advantage of the free Farmácia Popular, which was starving.

This also happened with the readjustment of school meals and the promotion of full-time schools. The value of the Safra Plan contracts grew. Agribusiness exports rose. The replenishment of the Food Acquisition Program (PPA) increased. Deforestation in the Amazon has shrunk. Not to mention access to water in rural areas and resources for Luz para Todos. The positive balance of trade was US$98,9 billion. Nova Indústria Brasil (NIB) was launched, a sustainable reindustrialization program with R$300 billion in financing.

The achievements scream. The kit is joined by the president's announcement on March 12th, which directly focuses on asymmetries: the 100 new Federal Institutes of Science and Technology Education (IFs). The initiative covers all federative units, with 140 thousand vacancies, the majority in courses integrated into secondary education. Federal Institutes are instruments of social advancement. The project involves R$3,9 billion in works – campus, student cafeterias, gyms, libraries, classrooms, electronic equipment.

The Harvard Experience

The discussion between conservatives and progressives invokes more the means of achieving meritocracy than its concept. Conservatives claim that race and ethnicity categories for university admission are illegitimate. Progressives advocate affirmative action to remedy persistent injustices. “True meritocracy depends on ending the enormous inequalities between privileged people and disadvantaged people”, emphasizes Michael J. Sandel, in The tyranny of merit.

Universities have received recognition proportional to the increase in the gap between classes in Western societies in recent decades. The fear of falling enhances the desire to enter a higher institution, which helps to secure the future. It is not difficult to see how faith in markets sets the stage for discontent among large segments of the population, who are looking for alternatives. For Max Weber, “the fortunate need to believe that they have the right to good luck to be convinced that the unfortunate are also getting what they deserve”. Well well.

In the 1940s, in an attempt to rationalize entry into the big three, the grand trio (Harvard, Yale, Princeton), which presupposed having studied in private boarding schools that served upper-middle-class families of the Protestant elite, the president of Harvard University sought selection mechanisms that were not based on heredity, but on talents independent of the social hierarchy. Women were excluded, blacks were barred and Jews had enrollment restricted by formal and informal quotas. The goal was to replace the undemocratic and hereditary elite with a new, intelligent elite dedicated to social welfare, drawn from many contexts in the United States.

The audacious plan implied changes to the country's framework, through education, for a more mobile – and no longer equal – society. The rector did not want to universalize the doors of university education, just to guarantee the entry of those qualified without the strong gunmen. Decades later, Harvard continued to prioritize the children of former students, in 87% of vacancies. The Brazilian quota system is the one that, in a short period of time, obtains by far the best results against inequalities.

Who owes an apology today

According to IBGE, the Quota Law increased the number of black people in universities by 400% and the number of indigenous people by 842%. In the INEP panel (National Institute of Studies and Research Anísio Teixeira), data on the trajectories of new entrants in 2017 show that the accumulated dropout rate until 2021 was 39% in federal universities and 59% in private universities. USP (University of São Paulo) appears to have the lowest dropout rate among institutions, 17%. The highest dropout rates are in physics, chemistry and mathematics. Scholarships serve as a dam.

From the 2000s onwards, we made progress in moving towards another standard of social cohesion. “The return of social mobility was driven by the recovery of economic growth and employment levels concomitant with the adoption of public policies to increase the minimum wage and income transfers”, says Marcio Pochmann, in Economic inequality in Brazil, published before the impeachment and civilizational regression. No wonder, if since 1960 the Gini index shows a drop in inequality due to the expansion of the income of the poorest; there was an increase in 2018.

Esther Dweck and Pedro Rossi, in “Neoliberal dismantling and alternatives for Brazil” (In: Brazil in collapse, organized by Esther Solano Gallego), corroborate the same understanding. “Since 2015, indicators of income inequality have grown again and levels of poverty and extreme poverty, falling since 2003, have reversed their trajectory. pari passu, unemployment remains at high levels and the slow creation of jobs is limited to informal, precarious, temporary employment and without guarantees of workers’ rights”. Detail, the authors' assertion was written in 2019. The nightmare has worsened since then, under the premeditation of the Old parliamentarian and chicago boy.

Adriana M. Amado and Maria de Lourdes R. Mollo, in “Economic challenges in the new Lula era” (In: Brazil under rubble, organized by Juliana Paula Magalhães and Luiz Felipe Osório), are in line. “Consumption has emerged as an important variable for growth. Unemployment, precarious work and low wages, as a result of fiscal austerity, labor and social security reform, prevent this variable from playing a leveraging role, in order to reduce inequality”. The challenge is to overcome the barrier to consolidate democracy and break the shackles that bind the economy to the “fiscal balance” (zero deficit) of the Washington Consensus.

Oblivious to what matters to build an authentic nation for Brazilian men and women, the National Journal and Globe News they chant the fear of change in structures. Without hesitation, they disclose fake news on the movable assets of the official residences of the Presidency of the Republic, when admonishing the couple Lula and Janja for having accused the former tenants of the disappearance of 261 pieces. Slowly walk. The information is contained in the report itself signed due to the negligence of the disastrous previous administration. It took months to find the lost pieces. Only naive or hypocritical people would expect that family to take any care with public affairs. - Who owes an apology to whom?

* Luiz Marques is a professor of political science at UFRGS. He was Rio Grande do Sul's state secretary of culture in the Olívio Dutra government.


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