The determining mechanisms of inequality

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By JOSÉ MACHADO MOITA NETO*

Inequality is effectively an economic, political and strategic agenda for Brazil

I found the phrase uttered by Margaret Thatcher “Economics is the method. The object is to change the soul” in a newspaper opinion piece Financial Times dated April 27, 2009 signed by Gideon Rachman,[I] with the title The end of the Thatcher era. After the 2008 financial crisis, several texts for reflection emerged that did not spare the “iron lady” as the historical origin of the point of no return of the current model of capitalism. I recommend reading this article, including the historical developments that we know after 2008 in Brazil and in the world.

Thatcher's controversial phrase can now be revisited in 2023 in Lula's Brazil to state that methods have been expanded and the objective has been reached and exceeded. The collaboration of the European “left” for “the new reason of the World” (neoliberal) is critically described in Dardot and Laval's book. Now, body and soul, we are immersed in financial capitalism as an interpenetrating reality that makes up our society. The funk expressions “it's all dominated” or the revisited expression of “Perdeu mané” trace the limits of the Lula government in changing something in Brazil. Both expressions apply equally to the dream of a better society.

The structuring works of the governors do not change and even exacerbate the mechanisms that determine inequality. In Piauí, for example, the left-wing governor is concerned about transporting agribusiness production through the port of Luís Correia to lower production costs, although the prices of these commodities are dictated by the international market. The net result of these investments is the possibility of increasing the profit of the producers without creating a single job. Inequality has widened and may still grow, even in a left-wing government. Success in the Lula government will only be the deceleration of inequality.

A group of businessmen[ii] that directly or indirectly represent financial capitalism can organize an event in the United States or Portugal (Lide Brazil conference), inviting all the main interlocutors of politics and the three powers of the republic, not to hear what they think but to ensure that they are thinking “correctly” according to the interests of these groups. Then they ensure the repercussion of such events on Brazilian social media. Any accidental slip into the “correct” way of thinking will be the password to “fry” the speaker politically. Attendees and speakers alike know the game they are playing. The result of these events for the Lula government and for the business group was already anticipated by Lampedusa (1896-1957): “Something must change for everything to continue as it is”. Only that.

The clash over the autonomy of the central bank or over the value of the Selic rate is important only when “Economics is the method” there are, however, more difficulties to be faced in Brazil. The expansion of inequalities is quantitatively demonstrated in the work capitalism and ideology, by Thomas Piketty. A brake needs to be given. There is room for the single agenda of minimizing inequality. Inequality is effectively an economic, political and strategic agenda for Brazil. I veto everything that minimally reinforces inequalities, cut everything that does not contain implicit and explicit mechanisms for reducing inequalities. An observatory on “more of the same” discourses in politics and economics would help in this ongoing struggle.

Is this enough to change Brazil? No. However, the way would be paved for other governments of any ideological spectrum. Meanwhile, the struggle of any Brazilian is not to succumb to the agenda of the 10% who own the national income or the 1% who control social media and are the real ones. an influencer of our way of thinking. We need to take back our body and our soul. It's not too late to thwart Thatcher's dream (The object is to change the soul) which has become the West's nightmare.

*José Machado Moita Neto is a retired professor at the Federal University of Piauí (UFPI) and a researcher at UFDPar.

Notes


[I] https://www.ft.com/content/98ef04fe-3357-11de-8f1b-00144feabdc0

[ii] Brazilian and multinational companies with annual revenues equal to or greater than R$ 200 million can join LIDE. https://lide.com.br/. Accessed on 13/02/2023

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