O que é este blog?

Este blog trata basicamente de ideias, se possível inteligentes, para pessoas inteligentes. Ele também se ocupa de ideias aplicadas à política, em especial à política econômica. Ele constitui uma tentativa de manter um pensamento crítico e independente sobre livros, sobre questões culturais em geral, focando numa discussão bem informada sobre temas de relações internacionais e de política externa do Brasil. Para meus livros e ensaios ver o website: www.pralmeida.org.

sexta-feira, 30 de novembro de 2012

TV de audiencia ZERO dos companheiros se compara a BBC

Esses gajos torram o nosso dinheiro com inutilidades oficiosas, e até oficiais, com programas que ninguém vê, e que só serve para dar emprego para companheiros que não conseguem trabalhar no setor real da economia (aquele que produz, não o que vive do nosso dinheiro), e ainda pretendem que a BBC dá importância para suas matérias medíocres.
Salvo um país orwelliano, nenhum país normal tem uma extrovenga como essa, que só serve para gastar dinheiro inutilmente.
Paulo Roberto de Almeida

TV Brasil comemora cinco anos, planeja crescimento e se compara à BBC

No próximo domingo, 2, a TV Brasil, emissora gerida pela Empresa Brasil de Comunicação (EBC), completa cinco anos no ar com programação cultural.  “Somos produtores e coprodutores de conteúdos premium nacionais e internacionais e assumimos uma posição de protagonismo no cenário mundial das televisões públicas”, afirma o diretor de Produção da emissora, Rogério Brandão.
Uma das maiores janelas de exibição de produção audiovisual independente no país, a TV Brasil participou como coprodutora de cerca de 140 produções, entre documentários, séries, longas e curta-metragens. "Emissoras consagradas como a BBC, inglesa, a HHK, japonesa, e France 1, francesa, apenas para citar algumas, nos procuram em busca de parcerias e associações. Isso por si só já é um indicador positivo", comenta Brandão.

A emissora chega a 1.800 cidades brasileiras com atrações infantis, produções artísticas e reportagens. “Estes primeiros cinco anos foram de um trabalho intenso e construção em ritmo acelerado para recuperar a desvantagem em relação às emissoras comerciais. Agora temos que trabalhar para um crescimento planejado, para que a TV Brasil seja mais conhecida e assistida pelos brasileiros”, diz o presidente da EBC, Nélson Breve. Com a missão de criar e difundir conteúdos que contribuam para a formação crítica das pessoas, TV Brasil conta com apresentadores como Leda Nagle, Mariana Kotcsho, MV Bill, Diogo Nogueira e Ziraldo.
Por meio da Rede Pública de Televisão, a programação da TV Brasil está disponível para cerca de 120 milhões de brasileiros. A previsão para os próximos meses é de que o sinal chegue a mais 17 milhões de cidadãos, com a adesão oficial das emissoras educativas estaduais de Santa Catarina e Paraná e a implantação de geradoras nas capitais do Amapá e de Rondônia. A TV Brasil ainda leva programação nacional aos brasileiros radicados em 68 países do exterior, por meio da TV Brasil Internacional. Atualmente, também se prepara para chegar às principais cidades europeias, como Madri, Londres, Barcelona, Paris, Viena e Bruxelas.

Ciencia COM Fronteiras (latinas, ibericas...)

O fato de que mais de dois terços dos candidatos ao CsF estejam se dirigindo a países latino-americanos ou aos ibéricos, em lugar de lugares onde se faz ciência de verdade, significa que, finalmente, esses jovens vão fazer mais turismo acadêmico, remunerado pelo CNPq, do que propriamente formação científica de qualidade.
Ou seja, um programa que não está, de verdade, integrado aos centros produtores de ciência, e ao cabo do qual não se conecta a programas brasileiros de formação, sendo uma espécie de turismo à la carte voluntário (mas financiado por todos nós), vai terminar sendo apenas um gasto inútil de dinheiro.
Paulo Roberto de Almeida

Desafios fronteiriços
Ciência Hoje On-line, 30/11/2012

Aposta do governo federal para melhorar educação superior no País, o programa 'Ciência sem Fronteiras' é destaque de revista científica internacional, mas ainda enfrenta obstáculos e críticas quanto à sua implementação.
Cem mil brasileiros estudando no exterior até 2015. A ambiciosa meta do programa federal 'Ciência sem Fronteiras' tem chamado a atenção da comunidade científica internacional. A iniciativa é tema de editorial da edição atual da Science, uma das mais influentes revistas científicas do mundo. Mas, em meio à exaltação, o programa também suscita críticas entre professores e estudantes.

Assinado pela química Célia Garcia, da Universidade de São Paulo (USP), pelo presidente do CNPq, Glaucius Oliva, e pelo pesquisador argentino Armando J. Parodi, o editorial da Science destaca o papel do 'Ciência sem Fronteiras' (CsF) como promotor de inovação e pontua a importância de outras iniciativas de intercâmbio na América Latina.

"O sucesso alcançado até agora com programas como os aqui descritos deixa claro que esse caminho vai fazer com que o continente se torne um líder global em ciência, tecnologia e inovação", diz o texto. "De fato, toda nação pode se beneficiar com o fomento do conhecimento e da capacidade de sua força de trabalho."

O CsF vai fechar seu primeiro ano com 20 mil alunos de graduação, doutorado e pós-doutorado enviados para universidades estrangeiras de 30 países. Podem concorrer às bolsas estudantes que tenham concluído 20% de algum curso das áreas listadas no site do programa, focado nas disciplinas tecnológicas, exatas e biomédicas. Os alunos selecionados recebem seguro de saúde, uma 'mesada' e auxílio para instalação e material didático.

Os países que mais recebem estudantes do programa são Estados Unidos, com 3.898 bolsas concedidas; Portugal, com 2.775; e França, com 2.478. Portugal é também o país mais procurado: 12 mil pedidos foram feitos para universidades do País.

A preferência revela um dos desafios do programa: a língua. A maioria das universidades cadastradas ministra aulas em inglês e a dificuldade geral dos estudantes brasileiros com o idioma já vem sendo criticada por representantes de instituições estrangeiras envolvidas com o CsF. Na última chamada de bolsas, dois terços dos estudantes foram reprovados por falta de conhecimentos em inglês.

O físico Ivan Oliveira, do Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas Físicas (CBPF) e que tem alunos beneficiados no CsF, destaca esse entrave do programa. "Mandar 100 mil estudantes para o exterior, muitos sem preparo, é uma loucura, é jogar dinheiro fora", diz. "O que vai acontecer é que a maioria dos estudantes, principalmente os de graduação, não vai aproveitar nada porque não tem fluência na língua; ou então vai para Portugal." E completa: "Mas, desde as grandes navegações, Portugal deixou de ser uma potência tecnológica."

Na sua avaliação, o CsF foi lançado como estratégia política, sem uma reflexão mais aprofundada envolvendo a comunidade acadêmica. "Para mudar realmente o nível, é preciso primeiro investir na educação de base, para depois mandar os estudantes para as universidades top. Do jeito que está, o CsF só aumenta a desigualdade, pois só quem é de classe média e fez curso de inglês tem alguma chance de tirar proveito."

O problema da língua fez com que o governo anunciasse o investimento de R$ 21 milhões na criação o programa 'Inglês sem Fronteiras', que vai organizar núcleos de ensino de inglês nas universidades federais e promover testes de proficiência da língua entre os estudantes. Aqueles que mostrarem nível próximo do necessário para passar em provas de certificação, como o TOEFL, serão selecionados como prioritários para participar gratuitamente de cursos intensivos.

Fuga de cérebros - Outra questão preocupante por trás da iniciativa é a emigração de profissionais. A presidente da Sociedade Brasileira para o Progresso da Ciência (SBPC), Helena Nader, apoia o CsF, mas teme que os alunos, depois de qualificados em universidades estrangeiras, não retornem ao Brasil.

"O que me preocupa é que temos que ter uma garantia para a volta com qualidade desses profissionais, para que eles encontrem no Brasil condições para colocar em prática o que aprenderam no exterior", coloca Nader.

Oliveira também se preocupa com a captação de profissionais brasileiros. "Existe uma demanda nos países desenvolvidos pelos alunos que se destacam nas ciências duras", diz. "Os Estados Unidos drenam força especializada de países como o Brasil e acredito que os melhores estudantes não vão voltar. O CsF vai ser um mecanismo para financiar a mão de obra ultraespecializada brasileira para o exterior, só vai voltar para cá quem não for convidado para ficar por lá."

Humanas de fora - Outro ponto do CsF que vem sofrendo críticas é a ausência de bolsas para estudantes das ciências humanas e sociais. Quando o programa foi lançado, cerca de mil estudantes dessas áreas conseguiram bolsas inscrevendo-se na vagamente denominada 'Indústria criativa'. Mas o governo já sinalizou que a prática não poderá continuar.

No site do projeto, esse setor já está descrito como voltado "a produtos e processos para desenvolvimento tecnológico e inovação" e o mais recente edital do programa deixou claro que alunos de cursos de humanas e sociais não podem concorrer a bolsas.  Em resposta, alunos dessas áreas que já se preparavam para concorrer a bolsas entraram com uma ação no Ministério Público Federal pedindo que a atual chamada seja suspensa.

Estudantes indignados criaram no Facebook a página 'Ciência com fronteiras', que tem mais de 41 mil seguidores. No grupo, os alunos reivindicam: "O fato de alguns cursarem faculdades exatas ou biológicas não os torna melhores que nós. Vocês podem revolucionar as descobertas na saúde, na robótica, na ecologia e tudo quanto é mais ciência, mas não se esqueçam: nós revolucionamos o pensamento e, sem ele, nenhuma sociedade democrática se sustenta."

A assessoria de comunicação do CNPq responde que o novo edital do CsF só reforça a ideia original do programa, que tem ênfase tecnológica. O órgão ressalta ainda que "os estudantes de ciências humanas e sociais continuam sendo atendidos pelo CNPq com bolsas concedidas por outros programas institucionais", que agora estão até menos concorridas.

Reuniao da Unasul em Lima: 9 declaracoes

VI Reunião Ordinária do Conselho de Chefes de Estado e de Governo da UNASUL – Lima, Peru, 30 de novembro de 2012
Documentos Aprovados


I. DECLARAÇÃO DA VI REUNIÃO ORDINÁRIA DO CONSELHO DE CHEFES DE ESTADO E DE GOVERNO DA UNASUL.
II. DECLARACIÓN DEL CONSEJO DE MINISTRAS Y MINISTROS DE RELACIONES EXTERIORES SOBRE PALESTINA.
III. DECLARACIÓN SOBRE EL PROCESO DE PAZ EN COLOMBIA.
IV. DECLARACIÓN SOBRE SURAMÉRICA COMO ZONA DE PAZ.
V. COMUNICADO ESPECIAL DE APOYO A LA LUCHA CONTRA EL TERRORISMO EN TODAS SUS FORMAS Y MANIFESTACIONES.
VI. DECLARACIÓN CONJUNTA SOBRE EL QHAPAQÑAN – SISTEMA VIAL ANDINO.
VII. DECLARACIÓN ESPECIAL SOBRE LA CUESTIÓN DE LAS ISLAS MALVINAS.
VIII. DECLARACIÓN ESPECIAL SOBRE “2013 AÑO INTERNACIONAL DE LA QUINUA”.
IX. DECLARACIÓN ESPECIAL SOBRE EL USO TRADICIONAL DEL MASTICADO DE LA HOJA DE COCA.
(...)
IX. DECLARACIÓN ESPECIAL SOBRE EL USO TRADICIONAL DEL MASTICADO DE LA HOJA DE COCA

Las Jefas y los Jefes de Estado y de Gobierno de la Unión de Naciones Suramericanas -UNASUR, en ocasión de la VI Reunión del Consejo de Jefas y Jefes de Estado y de Gobierno de la Unión;

RECORDANDO la Declaración Presidencial de Quito de la III Reunión Ordinaria del Consejo de Jefas y Jefes de Estado y de Gobierno de la Unión de Naciones Suramericanas – UNASUR, del 10 de agosto de 2009 y la Declaración de Georgetown, de la Reunión del Consejo de Jefas y Jefes de Estado y de Gobierno UNASUR, del 26 de noviembre de 2010;

CONSCIENTES de que uno de los objetivos establecidos en el Tratado Constitutivo de UNASUR es la promoción de la diversidad cultural y de las expresiones de la memoria y de los conocimientos y saberes de los pueblos de la región, para el fortalecimiento de sus identidades;

RECONOCEN que el uso tradicional del masticado (akulliku) de la Hoja de Coca es una manifestación cultural ancestral de los pueblos de Bolivia y del Perú que debe ser respetada por la Comunidad Internacional.

Lima, 30 de noviembre de 2012

100 Best Books of 2012 - The New York Times Review of Books

Vamos ver se eu já li algum: duvido...
Paulo Roberto de Almeida

100 Notable Books of 2012

The year’s notable fiction, poetry and nonfiction, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.
Julia Rothman

Previous Years' Lists

2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005
Illustration by Julia Rothman
FICTION & POETRY
ALIF THE UNSEEN. By G. Willow Wilson. (Grove, $25.) A young hacker on the run in the Mideast is the protagonist of this imaginative first novel.
ALMOST NEVER. By Daniel Sada. Translated by Katherine Silver. (Graywolf, paper, $16.) In this glorious satire of machismo, a Mexican agronomist simultaneously pursues a prostitute and an upright woman.
AN AMERICAN SPY. By Olen Steinhauer. (Minotaur, $25.99.) In a novel vividly evoking the multilayered world of espionage, Steinhauer’s hero fights back when his C.I.A. unit is nearly destroyed.
ARCADIA. By Lauren Groff. (Voice/Hyperion, $25.99.) Groff’s lush and visual second novel begins at a rural commune, and links that utopian past to a dystopian, post-global-warming future.
AT LAST. By Edward St. Aubyn. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25.) The final and most meditative of St. Aubyn’s brilliant Patrick Melrose novels is full of precise observations and glistening turns of phrase.
BEAUTIFUL RUINS. By Jess Walter. (Harper/HarperCollins, $25.99.) Walter’s witty sixth novel, set largely in Hollywood, reveals an American landscape of vice, addiction, loss and disappointed hopes.
BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK. By Ben Fountain. (Ecco/HarperCollins, $25.99.) The survivors of a fierce firefight in Iraq are whisked stateside for a brief victory tour in this satirical novel.
BLASPHEMY. By Sherman Alexie. (Grove, $27.) The best stories in Alexie’s collection of new and selected works are moving and funny, bringing together the embittered critic and the yearning dreamer.
THE BOOK OF MISCHIEF: New and Selected Stories. By Steve Stern. (Graywolf, $26.) Jewish immigrant lives observed with effusive nostalgia.
BRING UP THE BODIES. By Hilary Mantel. (Macrae/Holt, $28.) Mantel’s sequel to “Wolf Hall” traces the fall of Anne Boleyn, and makes the familiar story fascinating and suspenseful again.
BUILDING STORIES. By Chris Ware. (Pantheon, $50.) A big, sturdy box containing hard-bound volumes, pamphlets and a tabloid houses Ware’s demanding, melancholy and magnificent graphic novel about the inhabitants of a Chicago building.
BY BLOOD. By Ellen Ullman. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27.) This smart, slippery novel is a narrative striptease, as a professor listens in on the sessions between the therapist next door and her patients.
CANADA. By Richard Ford. (Ecco/Har­perCollins, $27.99.) A boy whose parents rob a bank in Montana in 1960 takes refuge across the border in this mesmerizing novel, driven by fully realized characters and an accomplished prose style.
CARRY THE ONE. By Carol Anshaw. (Simon & Schuster, $25.) Anshaw pays close attention to the lives of a group of friends bound together by a fatal accident in this wry, humane novel, her fourth.
CITY OF BOHANE. By Kevin Barry. (Graywolf, $25.) Somewhere in Ireland in 2053, people are haunted by a “lost time,” when something calamitous happened, and hope to reclaim the past. Barry’s extraordinary, exuberant first novel is full of inventive language.
COLLECTED POEMS. By Jack Gilbert. (Knopf, $35.) In orderly free verse constructions, Gilbert deals plainly with grief, love, marriage, betrayal and lust.
DEAR LIFE: Stories. By Alice Munro. (Knopf, $26.95.) This volume offers further proof of Munro’s mastery, and shows her striking out in the direction of a new, late style that sums up her whole career.
THE DEVIL IN SILVER. By Victor LaValle. (Spiegel & Grau, $27.) LaValle’s culturally observant third novel is set in a shabby urban mental hospital.
ENCHANTMENTS. By Kathryn Harrison. (Random House, $27.) Harrison’s splendid and surprising novel of late imperial Russia centers on Rasputin’s daughter Masha and the hemophiliac ­czarevitch Alyosha.
FLIGHT BEHAVIOR. By Barbara Kingsolver. (Harper/HarperCollins, $28.99.) An Appalachian woman becomes involved in an effort to save monarch butterflies in this brave and majestic novel.
FOBBIT. By David Abrams. (Black Cat/Grove/Atlantic, paper, $15.) Clerks, cooks and lawyers at a forward operating base in Iraq populate this first novel.
THE FORGETTING TREE. By Tatjana Soli. (St. Martin’s, $25.99.) In Soli’s haunting second novel, a mysterious Caribbean woman cares for a cancer patient on an isolated California ranch.
GATHERING OF WATERS. By Bernice L. McFadden. (Akashic, $24.95.) Three generations of black women confront floods and murder in Mississippi.
GODS WITHOUT MEN. By Hari Kunzru. (Knopf, $26.95.) Related stories, spanning centuries and continents, and all tethered to a desert rock formation, emphasize interconnectivity across time and space in Kunzru’s relentlessly modern fourth novel.
HHhH. By Laurent Binet. Translated by Sam Taylor. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26.) This gripping novel examines both the killing of an SS general in Prague in 1942 and Binet’s experience in writing about it.
A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING. By Dave Eggers. (McSweeney’s, $25.) Eg­gers’s novel is a haunting and supremely readable parable of America in the global economy, a nostalgic lament for a time when life had stakes and people worked with their hands.
HOME. By Toni Morrison. (Knopf, $24.) A black Korean War veteran, discharged from an integrated Army into a segregated homeland, makes a reluctant journey back to Georgia in a novel engaged with themes that have long haunted Morrison.
HOPE: A TRAGEDY. By Shalom Auslander. (Riverhead, $26.95.) Hilarity alternates with pain in this novel about a Jewish man seeking peace in upstate New York who discovers Anne Frank in his ­attic.
HOW SHOULD A PERSON BE? By Sheila Heti. (Holt, $25.) The narrator (also named Sheila) and her friends try to answer the question in this novel’s title.
IN ONE PERSON. By John Irving. (Simon & Schuster, $28.) Irving’s funny, risky new novel about an aspiring writer struggling with his sexuality examines what happens when we face our desires honestly.
A LAND MORE KIND THAN HOME. By Wiley Cash. (Morrow/HarperCollins, $24.99.) An evil pastor dominates Cash’s mesmerizing first novel.
MARRIED LOVE: And Other Stories. By Tessa Hadley. (Harper Perennial, paper, $14.99.) Hadley’s understatedly beautiful collection is filled with exquisitely calibrated gradations and expressions of class.
NW. By Zadie Smith. (Penguin Press, $26.95.) The lives of two friends who grew up in a northwest London housing project diverge, illuminating questions of race, class, sexual identity and personal choice, in Smith’s energetic modernist novel.
ON THE SPECTRUM OF POSSIBLE DEATHS. By Lucia Perillo. (Copper Canyon, $22.) Taut, lucid poems filled with complex emotional reflection.
PURE. By Julianna Baggott. (Grand Central, $25.99.) Children battle for the planet’s redemption in this precisely written postapocalyptic adventure story.
THE RIGHT-HAND SHORE. By Christopher Tilghman. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27.) A dark, magisterial novel set on a Chesapeake Bay estate.
THE ROUND HOUSE. By Louise Erdrich. (Harper/HarperCollins, $27.99.) In this novel, an American Indian family faces the ramifications of a vicious crime.
SALVAGE THE BONES. By Jesmyn Ward. (Bloomsbury, $24.) A pregnant 15-year-old and her family await Hurricane Katrina in this lushly written novel.
SAN MIGUEL. By T. Coraghessan Boyle. (Viking, $27.95.) Two utopians from different eras establish private idylls on California’s desolate Channel Islands; this novel preserves their tantalizing dreams.
SHINE SHINE SHINE. By Lydia Netzer. (St. Martin’s, $24.99.) This thought-provoking debut novel presents a geeky astronaut and his pregnant wife.
SHOUT HER LOVELY NAME. By Natalie Serber. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24.) The stories in Serber’s first collection are smart and nuanced.
SILENT HOUSE. By Orhan Pamuk. Translated by Robert Finn. (Knopf, $26.95.) A family is a microcosm of a country on the verge of a coup in this intense, foreboding novel, first published in Turkey in 1983.
THE STARBOARD SEA. By Amber Dermont. (St. Martin’s, $24.99.) Dermont’s captivating debut novel, whose narrator is a boarding school student and a sailor, takes pleasure in the sea and in the exhilarating freedom of being young.
SWEET TOOTH. By Ian McEwan. (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, $26.95.) The true subject of this smart and tricky novel, set inside a cold war espionage operation, is the border between make-believe and reality.
SWIMMING HOME. By Deborah Levy. (Bloomsbury, paper, $14.) In this spare, disturbing and frequently funny novel, a troubled young woman tests the marriages of two couples.
TELEGRAPH AVENUE. By Michael Chabon. (Harper/HarperCollins, $27.99.) Chabon’s rich comic novel about fathers and sons in Berkeley and Oakland, Calif., juggles multiple plots and mounds of pop culture references in astonishing prose.
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY. By Colm Toibin. (Scribner, $19.99.) This beautiful work takes power from the surprises of its language and its almost shocking characterization of Mary, mother of Jesus.
THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE HER. By Junot Díaz. (Riverhead, $26.95.) The stories in this collection are about love, but they’re also about the undertow of family history and cultural mores, presented in Díaz’s exciting, irresistible and entertaining prose.
THREE STRONG WOMEN. By Marie NDiaye. Translated by John Fletcher. (Knopf, $25.95.) In loosely linked narratives, three women from Senegal struggle with fathers and husbands in France. This subtle, hypnotic novel won the Prix Goncourt in 2009.
TOBY’S ROOM. By Pat Barker. (Doubleday, $25.95.) This novel, a sequel to “Life Class,” delves further into the lives of an English family torn apart by World War I.
WATERGATE. By Thomas Mallon. (Pantheon, $26.95.) This novelistic re­imagining of the “third-rate burglary” proposes surprising motives for the break-in and the 18-minute gap, and has a sympathetic Nixon.
WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT ANNE FRANK: Stories. By Nathan Englander. (Knopf, $24.95.) Englander tackles large questions of morality and history in a masterly collection that manages to be both insightful and ­uproarious.
THE YELLOW BIRDS. By Kevin Powers. (Little, Brown, $24.99.) A young private and his platoon struggle through the war in Iraq but find no peace at home in this powerful and moving first novel about the frailty of man and the brutality of war.
NONFICTION
ALL WE KNOW: Three Lives. By Lisa Cohen. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $30.) The vanished world of midcentury upper-class lesbians is portrayed as beguiling, its inhabitants members of a stylish club.
AMERICAN TAPESTRY: The Story of the Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama. By Rachel L. Swarns. (Amistad/HarperCollins, $27.99.) A Times reporter’s deeply researched chronicle of several generations of Mrs. Obama’s family.
AMERICAN TRIUMVIRATE: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, and the Modern Age of Golf. By James Dodson. (Knopf, $28.95.) The author evokes an era when the game was more vivid and less corporate than it seems now.
ARE YOU MY MOTHER? A Comic Drama. By Alison Bechdel. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $22.) Bechdel’s engaging, original graphic memoir explores her troubled relationship with her distant mother.
BARACK OBAMA: The Story. By David Maraniss. (Simon & Schuster, $32.50.) This huge and absorbing new biography, full of previously unexplored detail, shows that Obama’s saga is more surprising and gripping than the version we’re familiar with.
BEHIND THE BEAUTIFUL FOREVERS: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. By Katherine Boo. (Random House, $27.) This extraordinary moral inquiry into life in an Indian slum shows the human costs exacted by a brutal social Darwinism.
BELZONI: The Giant Archaeologists Love to Hate. By Ivor Noël Hume. (University of Virginia, $34.95.) The fascinating tale of the 19th-century Italian monk, a “notorious tomb robber,” who gathered archaeological treasures in Egypt while crunching bones underfoot.
THE BLACK COUNT: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo. By Tom Reiss. (Crown, $27.) The first Alexandre Dumas, a mixed-race general of the French Revolution, is the subject of this imaginative biography.
BREASTS: A Natural and Unnatural History. By Florence Williams. (Norton, $25.95.) Williams’s environmental call to arms deplores chemicals in breast milk and the vogue for silicone implants.
COMING APART: The State of White America, 1960-2010. By Charles Murray. (Crown Forum, $27.) The author of “The Bell Curve” warns that the white working class has abandoned the “founding virtues.”
DARWIN’S GHOSTS: The Secret History of Evolution. By Rebecca Stott. (Spiegel & Grau, $27.) Stott’s lively, original history of evolutionary ideas flows easily across continents and centuries.
FAR FROM THE TREE: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity. By Andrew Solomon. (Scribner, $37.50.) This passionate and affecting work about what it means to be a parent is based on interviews with families of “exceptional” children.
FLAGRANT CONDUCT. The Story of Lawrence v. Texas: How a Bedroom Arrest Decriminalized Gay Americans. By Dale Carpenter. (Norton, $29.95.) Carpenter stirringly describes the 2003 Supreme Court decision that overturned the Texas sodomy law.
THE FOLLY OF FOOLS: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life. By Robert Trivers. (Basic Books, $28.) An intriguing argument that deceit is a beneficial evolutionary “deep feature” of life.
THE GREY ALBUM: On the Blackness of Blackness. By Kevin Young. (Graywolf, paper, $25.) A poet’s lively account of the central place of the trickster figure in black American culture could have been called “How Blacks Invented America.”
HAITI: The Aftershocks of History. By Laurent Dubois. (Metropolitan/Holt, $32.) Foreign meddling, the lack of a democratic tradition, a humiliating American occupation and cold-war support of a brutal dictator all figure in a scholar’s well-written analysis.
HOW CHILDREN SUCCEED: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character. By Paul Tough. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27.) Noncognitive skills like persistence and self-control are more crucial to success than sheer brainpower, Tough maintains.
HOW MUSIC WORKS. By David Byrne. (McSweeney’s, $32.) This guidebook also explores the eccentric rock star’s personal and professional experience.
IRON CURTAIN: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956. By Anne Applebaum. (Doubleday, $35.) An overwhelming and convincing account of the Soviet push to colonize Eastern Europe after World War II.
KAYAK MORNING: Reflections on Love, Grief, and Small Boats. By Roger Rosenblatt. (Ecco/HarperCollins, paper, $13.99.) This thoughtful meditation on the evolution of grief over time asks the big questions.
LINCOLN’S CODE: The Laws of War in American History. By John Fabian Witt. (Free Press, $32.) A tension between humanitarianism and righteousness has shaped America’s rules of warfare.
LITTLE AMERICA: The War Within the War for Afghanistan. By Rajiv Chandrasekaran. (Knopf, $27.95.) A beautifully written and deeply reported account of America’s troubled involvement in ­Afghanistan.
MEMOIR OF A DEBULKED WOMAN: Enduring Ovarian Cancer. By Susan Gubar. (Norton, $24.95.) A feminist scholar recounts her experience and criticizes the medical treatment of a frightening disease in a voice that is straightforward and incredibly brave.
MY POETS. By Maureen N. McLane. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25.) Part memoir and part criticism, this friendly book includes essays on poets canonical and contemporary, as well as lineated poem-games.
THE OBAMAS. By Jodi Kantor. (Little, Brown, $29.99.) Michelle Obama sets the tone and tempo of the current White House, Kantor argues in this admiring account, full of colorful insider anecdotes.
ODDLY NORMAL: One Family’s Struggle to Help Their Teenage Son Come to Terms With His Sexuality. By John Schwartz. (Gotham, $26.) A Times reporter’s deeply affecting account of his son’s coming out also reviews research on the experience of LGBT kids.
ON A FARTHER SHORE: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson. By William Souder. (Crown, $30.) An absorbing biography of the pioneering environmental writer on the 50th anniversary of “Silent Spring.”
ON SAUDI ARABIA: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines — and Future. By Karen Elliott House. (Knopf, $28.95.) A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist unveils this inscrutable country, comparing its calcified regime to the Soviet Union in its final days.
THE ONE: The Life and Music of James Brown. By RJ Smith. (Gotham, $27.50.) Smith argues that Brown was the most significant modern American musician in terms of style, messaging, rhythm and originality.
THE PASSAGE OF POWER: The Years of Lyndon Johnson. By Robert A. Caro. (Knopf, $35.) The fourth volume of Caro’s magisterial work spans the five years that end shortly after Kennedy’s assassination, as Johnson prepares to push for a civil rights act.
THE PATRIARCH: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy. By David Nasaw. (Penguin Press, $40.) This riveting history captures the sweep of Kennedy’s life — as Wall Street speculator, moviemaker, ambassador and dynastic founder.
PEOPLE WHO EAT DARKNESS: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished From the Streets of Tokyo — and the Evil That Swallowed Her Up. By Richard Lloyd Parry. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, paper, $16.) An evenhanded investigation of a murder.
RED BRICK, BLACK MOUNTAIN, WHITE CLAY: Reflections on Art, Family, and Survival. By Christopher Benfey. (Penguin Press, $25.95.) Mixing memoir, family saga, travelogue and cultural ­history.
RULE AND RUIN. The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party: From Eisenhower to the Tea Party. By Geoffrey Kabaservice. (Oxford University, $29.95.) Pragmatic Republicanism was hardier than we remember, Kabaservice argues.
SAUL STEINBERG: A Biography. By Deirdre Bair. (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, $40.) A gripping and revelatory biography of the eminent cartoonist.
SHOOTING VICTORIA: Madness, Mayhem, and the Rebirth of the British Monarchy. By Paul Thomas Murphy. (Pegasus, $35.) An uninhibited and learned account of the attempts on the life of Queen Victoria, which only increased her popularity.
SHORT NIGHTS OF THE SHADOW CATCHER: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis. By Timothy Egan. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28.) A deft portrait of the man who made memorable photographs of American ­Indians.
THE SOCIAL CONQUEST OF EARTH. By Edward O. Wilson. (Norton, $27.95.) The evolutionary biologist explores the strange kinship between humans and some insects.
SOMETIMES THERE IS A VOID: Memoirs of an Outsider. By Zakes Mda. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $35.) The South African novelist and playwright absorbingly illuminates his wide, worldly life.
SPILLOVER: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic. By David Quammen. (Norton, $28.95.) Quammen’s meaty, sprawling book chronicles his globe-trotting scientific adventures and warns against animal microbes spilling over into people.
THE TASTE OF WAR: World War II and the Battle for Food. By Lizzie Colling­ham. (Penguin Press, $36.) Collingham argues that food needs contributed to the war’s origins, strategy, outcome and aftermath.
THOMAS JEFFERSON: The Art of Power. By Jon Meacham. (Random House, $35.) This readable and well-researched life celebrates Jefferson’s skills as a practical politician, unafraid to wield power even when it conflicted with his small-government views.
VICTORY: The Triumphant Gay Revolution. By Linda Hirshman. (Harper/Har­perCollins, $27.99.) Written with knowing finesse, this expansive history of gay rights from the early 20th century to the present draws on archives and interviews.
WHEN GOD TALKS BACK: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship With God. By T. M. Luhrmann. (Knopf, $28.95.) Evangelicals believe that God speaks to them personally because they hone the skill of prayer, this insightful study argues.
WHY BE HAPPY WHEN YOU COULD BE NORMAL? By Jeanette Winterson. (Grove, $25.) Winterson’s unconventional and winning memoir wrings humor from adversity as it describes her upbringing by a wildly deranged mother.
WHY DOES THE WORLD EXIST? An Existential Detective Story. By Jim Holt. (Liveright/Norton, $27.95.) An elegant and witty writer converses with philosophers and cosmologists who ponder why there is something rather than nothing.

Escorregando na Manteiga: o crescimento fabuloso dos keynesianos jabuticabais...


 

Para Mantega, PIB de Serviços foi surpresa, mas País está em recuperação

Ministro projetou uma expansão de 1% da economia no quarto trimestre deste ano

O Estado de S.Paulo, 30 de novembro de 2012 | 12h 18
SÃO PAULO - O ministro da Fazenda, Guido Mantega, afirmou nesta sexta-feira que o país está em trajetória de recuperação da economia, apesar de o governo esperar mais, e que essa recuperação será mais forte no trimestre corrente. O ministro apontou que o resultado do crescimento de julho a setembro não foi previsto por ninguém, inclusive pelo governo. O ministro previu na semana passada que o País registraria uma expansão ao redor de 1,2% no período. "Foi um resultado abaixo do esperado, mas a economia está em expansão", reiterou.
Os últimos indicadores, disse o ministro, já apontam para uma reação da economia. Ele projeta expansão de 1% do PIB no quarto trimestre e mantém a previsão de crescimento da ordem de 4% em 2013. "Posso afirmar que a economia está em trajetória de aquecimento", disse.
O ministro afirmou ainda que o governo deverá continuar com a adoção de medidas para estimular a economia. "Vamos continuar com a desoneração da folha de pagamento em 2013", destacou. De acordo com Mantega, novas ações oficiais devem ser anunciadas na próxima semana. Entre elas, estaria a redução de juros para financiamentos. O ministro não deu mais detalhes sobre estas medidas.
PSI
Há especialistas que cogitam que o Programa de Sustentação do Investimento (PSI) poderá ter mudanças em breve. Nesse programa, o BNDES concede financiamentos para a compra de máquinas e equipamentos com taxas nominais diminuídas 2,5% ao ano, o que significa que a taxa real é negativa.
Mantega disse também que a surpresa foi o desempenho do setor de serviços. De acordo com que ele, um dos motivos que levaram à frustração das expectativas em relação ao PIB foi o governo e os analistas terem olhado mais para o setor agropecuário, que registrou queda forte no segundo trimestre, e menos para o setor de serviços. "Olhamos mais para a agricultura e menos para o setor de serviços", disse o ministro, ao se referir à variação zero do segmento dos serviços.
O ministro não soube explicar o baixo desempenho do consumo do governo. "O consumo do governo foi fraco. Ainda não sabemos exatamente o que aconteceu", explicou.
Investimento
Mantega afirmou que a recuperação da Formação Bruta de Capital Fixo é mais lenta neste ano, mas dá sinais de retomada no quarto trimestre. "As vendas de caminhões apresentaram bom desempenho a partir de outubro e isso é uma indicação positiva de que os investimentos estão avançando", afirmou. O ministro ressaltou que o Produto Interno Bruto está em processo de aceleração, embora reconheça que teria ficado mais satisfeito se o País tivesse registrado uma expansão maior que os 0,6% no terceiro trimestre na margem.
Mantega afirmou que a indústria de transformação "está ganhando velocidade e vai continuar nessa trajetória" nos próximos trimestres. O ministro destacou que o setor está apresentando bom nível de recuperação, devido a medidas de estímulo adotadas pelo o Poder Executivo, como as desonerações tributárias.
Ele destacou que a indústria da construção civil também apresentou resultado positivo no terceiro trimestre e o setor está em plena retomada. "A surpresa do terceiro trimestre foi o desempenho de serviços, que responde por mais de 60% do PIB", comentou. E isso, segundo ele, foi um reflexo da redução dos spreads das operações financeiras, o que levou os bancos a reduzirem as concessões de crédito.
(Com Agência Estado e Reuters)

O preco da republiqueta dos companheiros: nao e' doce...

Início do conteúdo'Mel na chupeta'
29 de novembro de 2012 | 23h 55
Editorial O Estado de S.Paulo
É um novelo de desfaçatez este que se desenrola a partir da Operação Porto Seguro, da Polícia Federal (PF). A sem-cerimônia com que se comportaram os já famosos "bebês de Rosemary", isto é, os funcionários apadrinhados por Rosemary Noronha, a antiga chefe de gabinete da Presidência da República em São Paulo, seria, de si, suficiente para causar estupor. "Eles não paravam de cometer crimes. É o tempo inteiro, é o modus operandi deles, está na vida deles, eles só fazem isso o tempo inteiro", disse a procuradora Suzana Fairbanks, referindo-se aos irmãos Paulo Rodrigues Vieira, da Agência Nacional de Águas; Rubens Carlos Vieira, da Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil; e Marcelo Rodrigues Vieira, empresário, todos presos sob acusação de integrar uma quadrilha que comercializava facilidades no governo federal. À corrupção desenfreada, porém, some-se o "descuido" - digamos assim - do ministro da Advocacia-Geral da União (AGU), Luís Inácio Adams, que tinha como seu adjunto o agora notório José Weber Holanda Alves, mesmo sabendo que esse servidor público, agora afastado de suas funções por suas relações com a máfia dos pareceres, havia sido investigado por grossas irregularidades no INSS, onde trabalhava como procurador-geral.
Adams diz agora que não tem mais "confiança profissional" em seu ex-adjunto, mas acha que o "ser humano Weber" vai "esclarecer tudo" e que "as pessoas muitas vezes fazem opções erradas, e a vida traz esses percalços". O advogado-geral conhece Weber há dez anos, tempo suficiente para saber que o nome dele aparece em ao menos cinco casos de irregularidades no INSS e que o amigo foi objeto de sindicância da Controladoria-Geral da União em 2008 porque seu patrimônio foi considerado desproporcional à sua renda. Ele era suspeito de participar de esquema com contratos do INSS com a Fundação Universidade de Brasília. Weber barrou a investigação na Justiça Federal. Mas a equipe da AGU recorreu e, em outubro de 2011, um advogado da União salientou que "as responsabilidades (de Weber) são caracterizadoras de infração administrativa". Apesar disso, nessa mesma época, Adams não viu nenhum inconveniente em dar a Weber cada vez mais espaço e representatividade na AGU.
Agora, sabe-se que o prestigiado Weber nem mesmo precisava redigir pareceres para a quadrilha - eles vinham prontos. Em um dos casos, Paulo Vieira, apontado pela PF como chefe do esquema, mandou para o então advogado-geral adjunto o parecer em que a AGU facilita o reconhecimento da utilidade pública, para fins privados, de um projeto do ex-senador Gilberto Miranda para a construção de um complexo portuário de R$ 2 bilhões em Santos. Em 30 de outubro passado, Paulo Vieira enviou a Weber um e-mail com a redação do parecer, bem explicadinho: "Segue em anexo nova minuta, que ao que me parece atende às preocupações do parecerista. Todas as modificações estão em vermelho para facilitar a análise da questão", escreveu Paulo. A prática de preparar antecipadamente os pareceres era corriqueira. Numa conversa com Miranda, Paulo diz que é fácil dar andamento aos processos, "principalmente se levar pronto, principalmente se levar mel na chupeta".
Esse ambiente nada republicano obviamente não resulta apenas de desvios de caráter. A cultura do oportunismo corrupto é fruto principalmente do inchaço da máquina estatal, por meio da criação desenfreada de cargos e ministérios e sua distribuição de acordo com critérios exclusivamente políticos. Quanto maior o Estado, maior é a sua permeabilidade aos malfeitos. Mesmo diante de um escândalo cuja essência é o descontrole administrativo, porém, o governo petista não parece nem um pouco inclinado a conter seu ímpeto estatista - ou de "partidarizar" o Estado. Acaba de passar na Comissão de Constituição e Justiça do Senado um projeto de lei que cria 90 cargos de confiança nos órgãos da Presidência da República. Para o Executivo, trata-se de um imperativo para o "melhoramento" do funcionamento da Presidência. Mas, como se vê agora, pode servir também para produzir escândalos.

Poesia na prisao: um projeto de vida? (Qatar)

Lawyer: Qatari poet gets life for 'insulting' emir


DOHA, Qatar (AP) — A Qatari poet was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for an Arab Spring-inspired verse that officials claim insulted Qatar's emir and encouraged the overthrow of the nation's ruling system, his defense attorney said.
It was the latest blow from a widening clampdown on perceived dissent across the Gulf Arab states.
The verdict in a state security court is certain to bring a fresh outpouring of denunciations by rights groups, which have repeatedly called for the release of poet, Muhammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami. It also marks another example of tough measures by judicial and security officials in the Gulf against possible challenges to their rule since the Arab Spring revolts began last year.
The poet's lawyer, Najib al-Nuaimi, said he planned to appeal.
"This judge made the whole trial secret," said al-Nuaimi. "Muhammad was not allowed to defend himself, and I was not allowed to plead or defend in court. I told the judge that I need to defend my client in front of an open court, and he stopped me."
Al-Ajami was jailed in November 2011, months after an Internet video was posted of him reciting "Tunisian Jasmine," a poem lauding that country's popular uprising, which touched off the Arab Spring rebellions across the Middle East. In the poem, he said, "We are all Tunisia in the face of repressive" authorities and criticized Arab governments that restrict freedoms.
Qatari officials charged al-Ajami with "insulting" the Gulf nation's ruler and "inciting to overthrow the ruling system." The latter charge could have brought a death sentence.
Al-Nuaimi said al-Ajami, a third-year student of literature at Cairo University, has been held in solitary confinement since his arrest.
Gulf regimes have stepped up crackdowns on a range of perceived threats to their rule, including Islamist groups and social media activists. Earlier this month, Kuwait arrested four people on charges of insulting the emir with Twitter posts, and the United Arab Emirates imposed sweeping new Internet regulations that allow arrests for a wide list of offensives, including insulting leaders or calling for demonstrations.
Last year, Bahrain issued a royal pardon for some protest-linked suspects, including a 20-year-old woman sentenced to a year in prison for reciting poetry critical of the government's effort to crush a Shiite-led uprising against the Sunni monarchy.

Brazil and India compared with each other ??? My God !!! (only in the mess...)

Parece que o autor deste livro acha que o Brasil se parece mais com a Índia do que com qualquer outro país, ou vice-versa (faz diferença). Não creio, ou pelo menos não quero crer: a Índia é uma coisa (I beg your pardon) caótica fazem mais ou menos 4 mil anos, e aparentemente vai demorar mais uns 4 mil anos para deixar de ser um caos.
Acredito que o Brasil deve diminuir sua caótica situação doméstica em menos tempo do que isso: talvez só mais uns 150 anos...
Paulo Roberto de Almeida


Learn more about Breakout Nations at Amazon.com

Globalist Bookshelf > Global Economy
The India-Brazil Axis
 

By Ruchir Sharma | The Globalist, Saturday, August 11, 2012
 
There has been plenty of talk in recent years about the parallels and contrasts that mark the India-China relationship. But Ruchir Sharma, author of "Breakout Nations" and a managing director of Morgan Stanley Investment Management, points out that Brazil — although half a world away — shows many more real-life parallels to India than China does.

ndia has its reasons for self-confidence. By many indicators, from the number of TV sets in the hands of consumers to the number of cars on the road, to the large and increasingly young population, India does indeed look much like China of the 1990s.
Culturally and politically, India has far more in common with the chaos and confusion of modern Brazil than with command-and-control China.
Back then, China was poised to supplant Thailand as the world's fastest-growing economy. But to assemble a true composite picture of India that would argue that India looks just like 1990s China, one has to leave out many of the less flattering images. Moreover, China is not the only possible model for India to consider. It turns out that, culturally and politically, India has far more in common with the chaos and confusion of modern Brazil than with the command-and-control environment that defines China.
While China has summoned the willpower to produce a new round of landmark economic reforms every four or five years for some decades now, the once-dynamic reform cycle stopped in Brazil back in the 1970s.
After that, the dynamism and optimism the world associated with the then-very modern buildings of Brasilia, its new capital city, began to languish. Brazil became self-absorbed and, before long, fell off the list of up-and-coming economies and entered the abyss of having to contend with one of the worst bouts of hyperinflation the world had ever seen.
Both India and Brazil are "high-context" societies, a term popularized by the anthropologist Edward Hall. It describes cultures in which people are colorful, noisy, quick to make promises that cannot always be relied on, and a bit too casual about meeting times and deadlines.
These societies also tend to be particularly family-oriented, with tight relationships even beyond the immediate family, based on close ties that are built over long periods of time. In an environment this familiar, there is a lot that goes unsaid — or is said very briefly — because values are deeply shared.
By the same token, much is implicitly understood from context. The spoken word is often flowery and vague. Apologies are long and formal. In that regard, Indians and Brazilians are a lot more like Italians than, say, Germans.
Both India and Brazil are "high-context" societies in which people are colorful, noisy, quick to make promises that cannot always be relied on, and a bit too casual.
High-context societies believe deeply in tradition, history and favoring the in-group, whether it is one's own family or business circle. They are vulnerable to corruption. If this description sounds questionable to businessmen or tourists who know Brazil and India as open, familiar and straightforward, think again. It could very well be that what you have experienced is only the low-context facade adopted by the outward-facing elites who need to deal with foreigners. Sure, everyone is welcome at Brazil's Carnival or an Indian wedding, and they may even be made to feel like an insider. But the reality is that it takes decades to become a real part of these cultures.
India's Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, is fond of remarking that whatever can be said about his country, the exact opposite is also true. There is something to this — India is rife with contradictions, no doubt.
But his remark also represents a convenient form of high-context analysis. It is a way of avoiding overt confrontation with hard facts — or with the side of India that could drag it down.

A passage to India

Of course, Brazil and India are far from the only high-context cultures. This kind of social interaction is typical in much of Asia and Latin America. Yet I am convinced that there is a particular bond between Brazil and India. I feel it all the time when I visit these countries. The parallels range from the late dining habits and colorful personalities to casual informality and cultural choices.
Attesting to this is that fact that the most popular soap opera in Brazil in recent time has been "A Passage to India." This is a Brazilian-Indian love story, filmed in the Indian cities of Agra and Jodhpur, and in which Brazilian actors play the Indian roles and pass easily for North Indians. To Indians who have seen it, the show is right on the mark in terms of look, mood and even lighting.
At the same time, Indians and Brazilians are only very loosely aware of their connection, if at all. And yet the mutual admiration and emulation society works in some very ephemeral ways.
High-context societies believe deeply in tradition, history and favoring the in-group, whether one's own family or business circle. They are also vulnerable to corruption.
Consider Google's purchase in 2002 of a California-based social networking site called Orkut. Google was keen to compete with Myspace and Facebook in Orkut's 48 languages. The site fizzled out in just about every country — except for in India and Brazil, which together generate more than 80% of Orkut's traffic. Evidently, something about the site's look, feel and features hits that Indo-Brazilian chord of brotherhood.
Social media habits and preferences aside, there is also a distinct Indo-Brazilian connection in politics. This is visible in the desire for state protection from life's risks — social welfare for the nation as one big in-group — to a degree that is rarely found in other high-context societies, such as China and Chile.
The political elites of India and Brazil share a deep fondness for welfare-state liberalism. In addition, both countries' populations demand high levels of income support — even though their economies do not yet generate the necessary revenue to support a welfare state.
Per capita income is about $12,000 in Brazil and only $1,400 in India. Brazil offered what was probably the emerging world's most generous, yet strategically placed and effective welfare program — the Bolsa Familia income supports.
Not to be outdone, India's governing Congress Party has lately turned to generous spending in an effort to recover the political backing it lost in recent decades to an array of regional parties. In 2005, it pushed through the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), which guarantees the rural poor a hundred days of public-sector employment each year, at an annual cost to the Indian Treasury of nearly $10 billion.
It was easy enough for India to increase spending in the midst of a global boom, but the spending has continued to rise in the post-crisis period. Inspired by the popularity of the employment guarantees, the government now plans to spend the same amount extending food subsidies to the poor.
There is also a distinct Indo-Brazilian connection in politics in the desire for state protection from life's risks in the form of social welfare.
If the government continues down this path, India may meet the same fate as Brazil in the late 1970s, when excessive government spending set off hyperinflation and crowded out private investment, ending the country's economic boom. One of the key mistakes made in Brazil at the time was indexing public-sector wages to inflation, which can trigger a wage-price spiral. India's central bank has voiced its fears of a similar price spiral as the wages guaranteed by MGNREGA (an inept acronym to be sure) pushed rural wage inflation up to 15% in 2011.
Furthermore, under the current regime of drift in India, crony capitalism has become a real worry. Widespread corruption is an old problem, but the situation has now reached a stage where the decisive factor in any business deal is the right government connection.
When I made this observation in a September 2010 Newsweek International cover story titled "India's Fatal Flaw," I was treated as a party spoiler. Top government officials in India told me that such cronyism is just a normal step in development, citing the example of the robber barons in 19th-century America.
Since 2010, the issue has exploded in a series of high-profile scandals, ranging from rigged sales of wireless spectrum to the shoddy construction of facilities for the Commonwealth Games that India hosted that year.
India's place in Transparency International's annual corruption perception index fell to 88 out of 178 nations in 2010. That was down from 74 in 2007. (A lower rank indicates higher official corruption.) India is approaching the point that Latin America and parts of East Asia reached in the 1990s.
That was also the point in those countries when a backlash started to build against continued economic reforms — because any opening up of the economy was tragically, but not without reason, seen to favor just a select few. That delayed true growth strategies, which were very much needed to benefit the population at large, for well over a decade in many places.
India may meet the same fate as Brazil in the late 1970s, when excessive government spending set off hyperinflation, ending the country's economic boom.
In India, similar stirrings of deep middle-class discontent about the direction (read: true beneficiaries) of economic reform appeared in 2011. That was when many urban Indians started to rally behind social activist Anna Hazare, who morphed quickly from being a hunger striker protesting corruption to the leader of a civil movement capable of paralyzing Parliament and damaging business confidence. No other large economy has so many stars aligned in its favor as does India, from its demographic profile to its entrepreneurial energy and, perhaps most important, an annual per capita income that is only one-fourth of China's.
But destiny can never be taken for granted. India's policymakers cannot assume that demographics will triumph and that problems such as rising crony capitalism and increased welfare spending are just sideshows instead of major challenges. These are, after all, exactly the factors that have prematurely choked growth in other emerging markets.

Editor's note: This article is adapted from Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles (W.W. Norton & Co.) by Ruchir Sharma. Published by arrangement with the author. Copyright © 2012 by Ruchir Sharma.

Brazil's Strategy for Economic and Social Sustainability -Brazil's Strategy for Economic and Social Sustainabilityds

 

Photo credit: Vepar5/Shutterstock.com

Globalist Perspective > Global Economy
Brazil's Strategy for Economic and Social Sustainability
 

By Carlos Ivan Simonsen Leal | Friday, November 30, 2012
 
Brazil's economic history provides a valuable lesson for policymakers hoping to solve global problems such as climate change. For decades, writes Carlos Ivan Simonsen Leal, Brazil's leaders refused to deal with the country's runaway public finances, leading to one economic crisis after another. Do world leaders want to risk the same with the global environment?

n Brazil, the mood is very different from Europe. We don't have a recession, we have mild growth. Of course, we don't have the same high standards of living as either Europe or the United States.
Only those countries that are laying the groundwork for global cooperation at home are making a positive contribution to solving the problems at hand.
But the crucial thing we have learned over the last 25 years of managing our economy — and especially from the periods when we mismanaged it — is this: Whenever you don't face up to the problems you have, they will end up bigger than they are. For many years, we made the political decision to avoid the issue of public deficits. And so we had a series of hyperinflations — not one bout with it, but an entire series. This, of course, halted the growth of our country.
That was a hard lesson. The first thing the new president, Dilma Rousseff, upon being inaugurated in January 2011 was to rein in fiscal expenditures. This, of course, coincided with a global economic slump. It is therefore no surprise that Brazil's growth slowed from 7.5% to around 2.5% to 3%.
Our new president has also come under pressure from some of her own party's core constituencies — in particular, public-sector unions — to raise wages well in excess of current inflation. President Rousseff could have taken the easy path and said, "Well, let me raise wages by 5%, 7% or even 10%, while inflation is 4%."
One might have expected her to give in to that demand — she is a socialist, after all. But she did not do that. She resisted.
The impression that I get from what is happening in some other parts of the world is that political leaders do not have the courage to resist the excessive demands of the public sector. It is conveniently forgotten that someone always has to pay the bills.
The European Union started out with countries that had very good credit positions and that could raise debt quite easily in the markets. Now, Europe faces a crisis whose root is not only financial, but concerns the ability to compete.
There are clear downsides to the European consensus that growth shouldn't be measured just in terms of increases in GDP. One also has to be aware that if GDP basically "grows" at 0% for ten years, while other parts of the world are experiencing 5% or 9% growth in GDP, then one will become increasingly irrelevant.
What is happening in some other parts of the world is that political leaders do not have the courage to resist the excessive demands of the public sector.
This is a very basic but often forgotten point about the direct linkages of fiscal discipline, economic performance, and a society's long-term future. He who seeks to avoid facing the hard choices will have to face even harder, even less pleasant choices down the road. We in Brazil have accumulated too much experience of seeking to avoid many hard choices. If there is one positive aspect of this, however, it is that we now have a surprisingly broad-based consensus that we should no longer engage in such short-sighted and ultimately self-defeating strategies.
At the present time, we are halfway between making most of the hard choices we need to make - and not doing so. Of course, an inclination to make half-decisions is the nature of things everywhere. We try to avoid the worst scenarios and then play according to those constraints.
But the important matter is that we have to be ready to discuss the consequences of our partial inaction. If we do not do so, then things can become unmanageable quickly.
This is especially true when it comes to matters such as the environment, trade (including protectionism), monetary policy, income distribution and access to energy.
On each of these big agenda items, we are dealing with a dynamic process. We will have to choose between short-term and the long-term goals. Ultimately, the nature of politicians and the citizenry alike is to try and delay those decisions.
The political and economic reality, especially in an integrating world economy, is if you don't make your choices, they will be made for you. They will arrive at your doorstep whether you want them to or not.
The dynamic nature of this process is very interesting. You may be a loser in the short run, and you may be winning in the long run. There is a problem of credibility in the game.
But if we have processes that entail faith and credibility among players, it is much easier. If we don't have those, it will be much more difficult.
Given the strong competition for access of markets and natural resources, we are inclined not to devote resources to anything but making gains in those arenas.
What is even more interesting with regard to this dynamic process is that the domestic inclination to procrastinate may be dealt with by virtue of the fact that the process is ever more international in character. Take the issue of the environment. No doubt we are facing a very difficult situation. The evidence is indisputable that we cannot proceed for another 20 years doing what we have been doing — unless we want to really compromise the world for the rest of time.
The choice we face is between gambling our very existence on living in a world under climactic conditions that we have never known or not. The rational choice would be not to do that.
On the other hand, given the very strong geopolitical competition that is going on for access of markets and access to natural resources, we are inclined not to devote any resources to anything but making gains in those arenas.
Someone has to start playing the card of comparative gain rather than playing the card of non-cooperation. Other nations have to join this game and realize that this non-maximization is the best path.
We have to be smart enough to think of what could happen to the world a few years from now if we don't change course. Are we going to continue on a path the consequences of which are going to be very difficult to repair within ten years?
In my view, the best approach is to focus on two or three topics that represent the most important constraints on everyone, whether it is trade, labor mobility, technology transfer or the protection of our environment.
If at least we could do that, much would be gained. Solutions, preferably market-based, will come soon afterwards. To be sure, each region and each country will have its own solutions according to its own politics, but the world as a whole will become more maneuverable.
The way in which we are currently trying to proceed — by trying to interact on everything — is bound to make progress on anything impossible.
Each region and each country will have its own solutions according to its own politics, but the world as a whole will become more maneuverable.
The biggest price of entry to the global game, though, may be just this: That only those countries that are laying the groundwork for global cooperation and progress at home are making a positive contribution to solving the problems at hand. The reason why they would be willing to do this is not to make any concessions to other nations, but to improve their own lot, their national standard of living, as measured in terms of quality of life.
Measured against that mark, we Brazilians feel that we are moving in the right direction and are making a positive global contribution. We have learned the core lesson from our not-so-distant past.
The border between being lax on dealing with pressing realities and falling into the trap of self-delusion is very thin.














This essay was adapted from a presentation given by the author at the 2012 Salzburg Trilogue.

Hosted by the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the Salzburg Trilogue facilitates international cultural dialogue by bringing together recognized public figures to consider matters of current importance.
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