Brazil

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Book Review: Decadent Developmentalism: The Political Economy of Democratic Brazil by Matthew M. Taylor

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 25/01/2021 - 11:03pm in

In Decadent Developmentalism: The Political Economy of Democratic Brazil, Matthew M. Taylor advances a comprehensive account of Brazil’s decades-long boom-and-bust development trajectory. Taylor pierces through the ideology of developmentalism to offer an institutional and policy examination of the country’s ‘low growth equilibrium’ in order to explain a series of disappointing developmental outcomes, including a social security system that concentrates income and labour market regulations that effectively divide society between privilege and exploitation, writes Mark S. Langevin.

Decadent Developmentalism: The Political Economy of Democratic Brazil. Matthew M. Taylor. Cambridge University Press. 2020.

Book cover of Decadent DevelopmentalismFind this book (affiliate link): amazon-logo

Decadent Developmentalism is as sober as it is provocative, offering an institutionalist analysis of Brazil’s decades-long boom-and-bust development trajectory. Thread by thread, Taylor weaves a tapestry of institutional and policy evaluations that explain how this exceptional nation has fallen short of its promise. The book sets out to explain the ‘low growth equilibrium’, or the sustained patterns of below-average economic growth, educational achievement, infrastructure investment and productivity – along with pervasive inequality – since the transition to democracy in 1985.

Taylor pulls from the comparative political economy literature to offer up an explanatory framework, anchored to the notion of ‘institutional complementarities’, revealing an incentive structure that leads firms and politicians to pursue strategies that are ‘individually first-best, but collectively suboptimal’. While the book is an ‘unabashedly single country study’, its theoretical contributions merit just as much attention as its examination of Brazilian political economy.

Decadent Developmentalism baits a much needed political debate in Brazil, after a lost decade marked by disappointing economic development, world-class corruption, the impeachment of former President Dilma Rousseff and the emergence of a populist-authoritarian movement headed by President Jair Bolsonaro. The title of the book may inflame partisan passions across Brazil’s political spectrum, but its contents represent a well-intentioned examination of those institutions that may be most responsible for Brazil’s developmental paralysis. The author conceptualises institutional complementarities and then applies the notion to an explanation of how they unfold to sustain and reinforce a perverse set of incentives for domestic firms and political factions. Taylor does not discard path-dependency and interest group-based explanations, but he seeks to encompass these theoretical approaches within his explanatory framework.

The book proceeds to detail the five primary domains through which institutional complementarities tend to sustain Brazil’s morass of economic disappointments and political corruption, as well as propel a few steps toward progress. These include: the developmental state; an autonomous government bureaucracy; weak regulatory control; coalitional presidentialism; and what Taylor theorises as the ‘developmental hierarchical market economy’ (DHME). These can be interpreted as attributes of standard variables in comparative political economy, but the author employs them to distinguish Brazil and offer a critique of the shortcomings of Brazil’s ‘neo-developmentalist’ paradigm. A quick glance at Figure 1.2 on page 13 shows the dozens of possible relations or complementarities that can be operationalised from these institutional spaces. Taylor treats each domain by dividing the book into two parts: the first part examines the complementarities within the economic sphere, and the second focuses on the state and its economic, legal and political underpinnings.

Night-time city traffic, Terminal Bandeira, São Paulo, Brazil

Taylor respects Brazil’s intellectual history by offering a rich discussion of the ‘developmental state’, thereby setting up his evaluation of its institutional and policy impacts on economic and social development. He critically examines the relations between firms and the government, with a focus on Brazilian private sector companies with close economic and political ties to the federal government, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and public sector pension funds. Taylor’s focus on Brazil’s ‘investor state’ reveals the institutional complementarities that allow private interests to become embedded within public institutions.

Much of his examination pivots on ‘cross-shareholding’ and weak regulation wherein successive administrations, begged on by congressional leaders, have chosen to favour influential Brazilian enterprises with favourable public financing, often through the Brazilian Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES). Taylor illustrates the effect with repeated references to the Brazilian animal protein company JBS, whose owners successfully extracted a fortune in favorable BNDES financing to reach the commanding heights of the global market, but without providing much in return. The book accounts for the case of JBS, as well as the major construction firms that were implicated (and their executives convicted) in the Lava Jato corruption scandal, as the product of complementarities between the economy, the structure of firms and the institutional contours of the federal government, namely coalitional presidentialism and weak regulatory control. These cases also illustrate the segmentation found between firms (domestic versus transnational) and within the labour market (formal versus informal) to frame and sustain what Taylor calls the DHME that has failed to deliver since the promulgation of the 1988 constitution.

The book effectively diagnoses Brazil’s institutional maladies with precision and overwhelming evidence, even if the notion of institutional complementarities is underdeveloped as a comparable concept. While Taylor falls short of erecting a comparable analytical framework, he nonetheless offers a persuasive argument. In sum, the federal government’s propensity to force public finance in political directions and its poor regulatory performance cause suboptimal collective outcomes, including a social security system that concentrates income and labour market regulations that effectively divide society between privilege and exploitation.

In Chapter Six, ‘Rents, Control, and Reciprocity’, Taylor pinpoints the causal mechanisms that trigger the low growth equilibrium and the other elements that poison Brazil’s economic and social development. He applies his analysis across a diverse set of critical, or least illustrative, cases, including the Plano Brazil Maior stimulus programme, the Manaus Free Trade Zone, the INOVAR automotive manufacturing scheme and the ethanol fuel policy, demonstrating the willingness of successive governments to offer generous rents to firms without effective regulatory control or the type of strategic policy management needed to compel firms to become more productive and competitive. For Taylor, the persistence of ‘lackluster control’ stems from politics, the fragmented party system and its corollary, coalitional presidentialism, along with weak strategic coordination across executive branch agencies. More than any other element of the book, Chapter Six provides the most convincing argument that successive Brazilian governments have been ‘ineffective at the essentially political act of controlling the distribution of rents in ways that channel business energies in strategically productive long-term directions’ (192).

Taylor’s evaluation is both careful and conciliatory, but it leaves most of the problem at the doorsteps of Brazil’s political institutions and their feeble capacity to aggregate broad, national interests in the face of the competing private interests of Brazil’s wealthy and well-connected.

Although his book examines labour market segmentation, it does not fully account for the debilitating effects of informal, and often repressive, labour regimes upon developmental outcomes. The mere fact that around half of Brazilian workers labour in the informal sector, far from institutional protections including the constitutional rights to worker association and collective bargaining, explains much about a political system that cannot, or will not, offer strategic economic management and sustained income redistribution. Most Brazilians simply cannot afford to articulate their collective, broad-based interests in Brasília, leaving a well-organised plurality, composed of Brazilian business leaders and professional associations, to squabble over rents and dodge the demands of state-society reciprocity.

Decadent Developmentalism provides an impressive policy evaluation toolkit for understanding, and perhaps even eliminating, the incentives that propel private interests above national policy goals. Taylor’s book teaches us about good governance, but a majority of Brazilians still need to discover how best to articulate and safeguard their collective, national interests to secure formal employment, progressive taxation and equal protection under the law.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics. The LSE RB blog may receive a small commission if you choose to make a purchase through the above Amazon affiliate link. This is entirely independent of the coverage of the book on LSE Review of Books.

Image Credit: Photo by Vanessa Bumbeers on Unsplash.

 


Internationalism series – Experiences in South America

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 02/12/2020 - 6:17pm in

image/jpeg icon296992.jpg

We interviewed a comrade from Germany who has been following events and movements in South America. She works as a postal worker for DHL. The initial introduction to the series can be found here: https://letsgetrooted.wordpress.com/2020/09/05/working-class-internationalism-series/

Whatever we as small political groups do is one thing, the main question is what happens with the movement, where people mobilise themselves. The question is what we can learn from them.

read more

The Pandemic, “Flexible” Work, and Household Labor in Brazil (Interview)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 02/12/2020 - 6:43am in

[The following is an interview by Paula Quental of Lygia Sabbag Fares, one of my coauthors for this post on how home quarantine has impacted domestic violence. The interview originally appeared in Portuguese and is posted here with permission.]

 

Labor market deregulation is bad for all workers and even more perverse for women, says economist.

According to Lygia Sabbag Fares, a specialist in Labor Economics and Gender Studies, labor reform is a way for the powerful to transfer the burden of productive costs to workers. According to Dr. Fares, there is no indication that a more egalitarian division of domestic chores between men and women, a supposed “gain” from the pandemic, will be sustainable in the future.

by Paula Quental

The discourse in defense of work flexibility—including working hours with a bank of hours, part-time, work on weekends, and relay shifts, among other measures—usually touts the advantages for workers, especially for those (in general, women) who need to reconcile hours worked with domestic duties. This argument has gained momentum during the COVID-19 pandemic, considering the spread of the home office and a supposedly more equal division of domestic tasks between men and women.

According to the economist Lygia Sabbag Fares—professor at the Escola Superior de Administração e Gestão Strong, certified by the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV), PhD in Economic Development and specialist in Labor Economics at Unicamp, holder of a master’s degree in Labor Policies and Globalization from the University of Kassel and the Berlin School of Economics and Law (Germany)—the reality is quite different from what the work flexibility enthusiasts believe. According to her studies, these processes “are driven by capital, with the objective of obtaining profits and externalizing costs, following the capitalist model of production under the aegis of neoliberalism”. The result is severe job insecurity, or greater pressure in the case of more competitive jobs, and in both situations, women are the most affected.

There is also no guarantee, according to her, that in the post-pandemic scenario, couples will still push to share domestic chores relating to their home and children. The net result of this period seems to be more negative than positive, considering the increase in domestic violence and divorce.

Read the following interview with the Brazilian professor, who has just received an invitation to teach at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, in the United States:

In an article published in March (co-authored with Gustavo Vieira da Silva), you warned about the risk of increased domestic violence during the quarantine period due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, has domestic violence increased in Brazil? Is it possible to see the data on the increase in the number of separations and divorces?

Regardless of the difficulty in measuring cases and possible underreporting due to the pandemic, it is possible to say that violence against women and girls increased during the period of social isolation. In April, the number of complaints of violence against women received on the 180 line grew by almost 40% compared to the same month of 2019, according to data from the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights (MMDH). According to the Public Security Forum, cases of femicide increased by 22% in 12 states in the same period. The lack of more recent data can be explained by the pandemic—the expected gap between their collection, production, and dissemination—but it is noteworthy that there is no official information on the website of the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights.

According to data from Jus Brazil, there was a 177% increase in demand for specialized law firms in Family Law and divorces, compared to the same period last year. Due to social isolation, the tension of remote work, or unemployment, living together can become challenging. However, it is important to note that these difficulties only become violence because of sexism, which unfortunately is openly supported by the president, his ministers, and advisers.

What has the federal government done to address the issue? Or, on the contrary, has the issue been made invisible through a demobilization of the few existing instruments to combat violence against women?

An article that I co-authored, still under review, entitled “Gendered impacts of COVID-19 in Brazil: a preliminary assessment”, addresses this issue. We believe the federal government is not concerned about gender mainstreaming, a concept defined by the United Nations in the 1990s that establishes the institutionalization and integration of gender equality norms and policies in countries and international organizations. We argue that in the 2000s, Brazil moved towards building a positive institutional and legal framework for the promotion of gender equality, with the creation of the National Secretariat of Policy for Women holding ministry status in 2003, the implementation of the Pro-Gender and Race Equality Program in 2005, the promulgation of the Maria da Penha Law in 2006, and with the creation of the Municipal Secretariat of Politics for Women of the city of São Paulo in 2013, where I had the honor to be director of the department of alternative income.

However, after 2015 begins a process to dismantle these institutions, which is made explicit in the misogynistic statements of the president; in the elimination of the Municipal Secretariat of Politics for Women of the city of São Paulo; in the reduction of the ministry status and the choice to place Damares Regina Alves as the current minister, as she is openly antifeminist, just to mention a few examples. In this sense, I believe that unfortunately it is possible to affirm that there is a demobilization, both in the discourse and in practice, of previous victories regarding gender and race equality, women’s rights, and the instruments to combat violence against women and girls.

What does the episode of the reaction of fundamentalist groups to a ten-year-old girl’s right to legal abortion show about the country’s current situation regarding the rights of women, children, and adolescents? Are we seeing an institutional setback or just the “empowerment” of reactionary voices?

Based on this specific case, given the girl was able to have the procedure, I believe that regardless of how fragile our institutions are, they still fulfill, as they did in the past, a fundamental role in maintaining, even if minimally, some rights in our country. However, I understand that the “empowerment” of reactionary voices, such as, for example, the criminal affront to the Child and Adolescent Statute, by activist Sara Winter, when publicly exposing the girl’s identity and calling for protests in front of the hospital, has perverse effects on our culture, in public opinion, and may have institutional effects in the future. The historical composition of the National Congress (heterosexual white males; representatives of a conservative elite) is at this moment even more worrisome, considering the increase of congressional blocs that support guns, agribusiness, and evangelical groups. The thought that those parliamentarians are the ones making the law, legitimized by these reactionary voices, is concerning.

In addition to the affirmation of conservative values, today in Brazil we are witnessing the dismantling of labor rights that were consolidated over decades. Many advocate work flexibility, saying, for example, that it allows for a more adequate arrangement of time to balance work, child care, etc. But your studies show that it is precisely women who are most harmed by these changes. Why is that?

As I discuss in my doctoral dissertation, the deregulation of work hours in Brazil has been a phenomenon observed since the 1990s. Despite the discourse that work flexibility would allow the reconciliation of productive and reproductive work, in my study I seek to demonstrate that the processes of work flexibility are driven by capital, with the objective of obtaining profits and externalizing costs, following the capitalist model of production under the aegis of neoliberalism. The most recurrent forms of flexible working hours are overtime, working on weekends, taking shifts, and part-time work. The impact of these arrangements is negative for workers in general and their impacts on women are even more perverse.

Analyzing women’s entrance in the labor market, it was possible to observe that, on the one hand, the jobs in which the hours are flexible or reduced and allow them to remain in the role of home caregivers are precarious and underpaid. On the other hand, better paid jobs demand long and antisocial hours, incompatible with care of the home and family. In other words, jobs that “offer” a certain flexibility of working hours, considering women as “responsible” for productive work, are generally jobs that offer lower income and social prestige. Jobs in more competitive sectors, historically done by men, allow opportunities for women, but they do not take into account the fact that reproductive work exists and that it is not shared, so women in those jobs are under greater pressure.

Some see the post-pandemic world with some optimism, believing that some lessons will be learned and could lead to behavioral changes. For example: men forced to stay at home started to contribute more to household chores and to relate more to their children. What observations do you make about this? Is there really a change underway?

I am developing a study on the topic, and my preliminary perceptions point out that it is not possible to generalize a higher male participation in domestic and care work. In some cases, a higher rate of male participation is observed, precisely because they spend more time at home, creating a better division of labor along gender lines, but there are many women reporting an even greater burden during the pandemic. Besides, when on-site work returns, it is possible that there will be a setback, even in families that have started to better distribute care work, because this issue, although seemingly domestic and personal, is structural.

Men (and more women) are expected to be fully available at work. In addition, the costs of reproducing the workforce, which previously fell only on women, now also affect some of the men. In this scenario, both men and women are under pressure to offer work flexibility. Therefore, it is important to consider that capital externalizes the costs of productive work with the flexible working day and continues to externalize labor force reproduction costs, perhaps in a somewhat less unequal fashion among some couples, but benefiting from this free work and transferring the burden to families.

Among the reasons that led Bolsa Família to be a program recognized worldwide is the fact that it gives autonomy and a certain power to women, who are the cardholders, in addition to helping reduce child and maternal mortality. In other words, it is a basic income program that has improved women’s lives. In your opinion, a basic income program like the one promised by Bolsonaro’s  government carries what risks for women, given it does not take into account gender issues?

When I was Director of the department of alternative income at the Municipal Secretariat of Policy for Women in the city of São Paulo, I worked in solidarity economy programs in the city hall. Low income women participated in these income generation programs, many of whom were victims of domestic violence. I have often heard stories about the importance of the Bolsa Família program as a minimum income that, by providing economic autonomy, allowed these women to leave abusive relationships and go away from home. One of them said “Now my husband is Lula, and I am not beaten anymore”. I believe that targeted cash transfer programs must be targeted at the most vulnerable people. In our society, the data show that women, and black women, are the most vulnerable. To remove basic autonomy from these women would be a great step backwards.

You were invited to teach at an American educational institution. I would like you to comment on what it is like today, under a far-right government, to dedicate yourself to a topic such as Labor Economics and Gender Studies? In order to deepen your line of studies, is it more prudent to leave the country?

In the article “A Feminist Perspective on the 2017 Labor Reform in Brazil: Impacts on Higher Education Faculty” written by Dr. Ana Luíza Matos de Oliveira and me, for a book called Female Voices from the Worksite [Lexington Books, 2020], we discussed the consequences of labor reform for university professors. The challenges of the academic career in Brazil are many and, as we pointed out in the article, working conditions since the 1990s have been very precarious in public and especially private universities.

Labor reform has the potential to contribute negatively, aggravating the hiring situation to work by the hour or as a contractor, low pay, generating more uncertainty, and precarious work. Furthermore, the lack of opportunities to work in public universities, given the cuts in funding and attacks on public universities promoted by this government, affect the few opportunities to work in the teach-research-extension triad, aggravating the situation of recent PhD graduates and young professors at the beginning of their careers.

Personally, given the conditions of the job market for private university professors in Brazil, I consider that I had a good opportunity to teach at a serious and committed college, but I missed being able to dedicate myself to research and extension. My fields of study, Labor Economics and mainly Gender Studies, are areas that are under-appreciated within mainstream Economics. In this sense, there seems to be more opportunities abroad. In this way, I am very honored with the opportunity to be able to take some of what I was able to learn from the excellent public higher education I obtained in Brazil, especially at the Institute of Economics of the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) where I completed my doctorate, and with the study group “Rethinking Development” of the Institute of Brazilian Studies (IEB) of the University of São Paulo (USP) and modestly contribute to disseminate the wealth of Brazilian economic and social thinking that I learned here. Even from abroad, I am committed to collaborating in the construction of a fairer Brazil, with more solidarity and opportunities for all.

 

The Pandemic, “Flexible” Work, and Household Labor in Brazil (Interview)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 02/12/2020 - 6:43am in

[The following is an interview by Paula Quental of Lygia Sabbag Fares, one of my coauthors for this post on how home quarantine has impacted domestic violence. The interview originally appeared in Portuguese and is posted here with permission.]

 

Labor market deregulation is bad for all workers and even more perverse for women, says economist.

According to Lygia Sabbag Fares, a specialist in Labor Economics and Gender Studies, labor reform is a way for the powerful to transfer the burden of productive costs to workers. According to Dr. Fares, there is no indication that a more egalitarian division of domestic chores between men and women, a supposed “gain” from the pandemic, will be sustainable in the future.

by Paula Quental

The discourse in defense of work flexibility—including working hours with a bank of hours, part-time, work on weekends, and relay shifts, among other measures—usually touts the advantages for workers, especially for those (in general, women) who need to reconcile hours worked with domestic duties. This argument has gained momentum during the COVID-19 pandemic, considering the spread of the home office and a supposedly more equal division of domestic tasks between men and women.

According to the economist Lygia Sabbag Fares—professor at the Escola Superior de Administração e Gestão Strong, certified by the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV), PhD in Economic Development and specialist in Labor Economics at Unicamp, holder of a master’s degree in Labor Policies and Globalization from the University of Kassel and the Berlin School of Economics and Law (Germany)—the reality is quite different from what the work flexibility enthusiasts believe. According to her studies, these processes “are driven by capital, with the objective of obtaining profits and externalizing costs, following the capitalist model of production under the aegis of neoliberalism”. The result is severe job insecurity, or greater pressure in the case of more competitive jobs, and in both situations, women are the most affected.

There is also no guarantee, according to her, that in the post-pandemic scenario, couples will still push to share domestic chores relating to their home and children. The net result of this period seems to be more negative than positive, considering the increase in domestic violence and divorce.

Read the following interview with the Brazilian professor, who has just received an invitation to teach at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, in the United States:

In an article published in March (co-authored with Gustavo Vieira da Silva), you warned about the risk of increased domestic violence during the quarantine period due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, has domestic violence increased in Brazil? Is it possible to see the data on the increase in the number of separations and divorces?

Regardless of the difficulty in measuring cases and possible underreporting due to the pandemic, it is possible to say that violence against women and girls increased during the period of social isolation. In April, the number of complaints of violence against women received on the 180 line grew by almost 40% compared to the same month of 2019, according to data from the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights (MMDH). According to the Public Security Forum, cases of femicide increased by 22% in 12 states in the same period. The lack of more recent data can be explained by the pandemic—the expected gap between their collection, production, and dissemination—but it is noteworthy that there is no official information on the website of the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights.

According to data from Jus Brazil, there was a 177% increase in demand for specialized law firms in Family Law and divorces, compared to the same period last year. Due to social isolation, the tension of remote work, or unemployment, living together can become challenging. However, it is important to note that these difficulties only become violence because of sexism, which unfortunately is openly supported by the president, his ministers, and advisers.

What has the federal government done to address the issue? Or, on the contrary, has the issue been made invisible through a demobilization of the few existing instruments to combat violence against women?

An article that I co-authored, still under review, entitled “Gendered impacts of COVID-19 in Brazil: a preliminary assessment”, addresses this issue. We believe the federal government is not concerned about gender mainstreaming, a concept defined by the United Nations in the 1990s that establishes the institutionalization and integration of gender equality norms and policies in countries and international organizations. We argue that in the 2000s, Brazil moved towards building a positive institutional and legal framework for the promotion of gender equality, with the creation of the National Secretariat of Policy for Women holding ministry status in 2003, the implementation of the Pro-Gender and Race Equality Program in 2005, the promulgation of the Maria da Penha Law in 2006, and with the creation of the Municipal Secretariat of Politics for Women of the city of São Paulo in 2013, where I had the honor to be director of the department of alternative income.

However, after 2015 begins a process to dismantle these institutions, which is made explicit in the misogynistic statements of the president; in the elimination of the Municipal Secretariat of Politics for Women of the city of São Paulo; in the reduction of the ministry status and the choice to place Damares Regina Alves as the current minister, as she is openly antifeminist, just to mention a few examples. In this sense, I believe that unfortunately it is possible to affirm that there is a demobilization, both in the discourse and in practice, of previous victories regarding gender and race equality, women’s rights, and the instruments to combat violence against women and girls.

What does the episode of the reaction of fundamentalist groups to a ten-year-old girl’s right to legal abortion show about the country’s current situation regarding the rights of women, children, and adolescents? Are we seeing an institutional setback or just the “empowerment” of reactionary voices?

Based on this specific case, given the girl was able to have the procedure, I believe that regardless of how fragile our institutions are, they still fulfill, as they did in the past, a fundamental role in maintaining, even if minimally, some rights in our country. However, I understand that the “empowerment” of reactionary voices, such as, for example, the criminal affront to the Child and Adolescent Statute, by activist Sara Winter, when publicly exposing the girl’s identity and calling for protests in front of the hospital, has perverse effects on our culture, in public opinion, and may have institutional effects in the future. The historical composition of the National Congress (heterosexual white males; representatives of a conservative elite) is at this moment even more worrisome, considering the increase of congressional blocs that support guns, agribusiness, and evangelical groups. The thought that those parliamentarians are the ones making the law, legitimized by these reactionary voices, is concerning.

In addition to the affirmation of conservative values, today in Brazil we are witnessing the dismantling of labor rights that were consolidated over decades. Many advocate work flexibility, saying, for example, that it allows for a more adequate arrangement of time to balance work, child care, etc. But your studies show that it is precisely women who are most harmed by these changes. Why is that?

As I discuss in my doctoral dissertation, the deregulation of work hours in Brazil has been a phenomenon observed since the 1990s. Despite the discourse that work flexibility would allow the reconciliation of productive and reproductive work, in my study I seek to demonstrate that the processes of work flexibility are driven by capital, with the objective of obtaining profits and externalizing costs, following the capitalist model of production under the aegis of neoliberalism. The most recurrent forms of flexible working hours are overtime, working on weekends, taking shifts, and part-time work. The impact of these arrangements is negative for workers in general and their impacts on women are even more perverse.

Analyzing women’s entrance in the labor market, it was possible to observe that, on the one hand, the jobs in which the hours are flexible or reduced and allow them to remain in the role of home caregivers are precarious and underpaid. On the other hand, better paid jobs demand long and antisocial hours, incompatible with care of the home and family. In other words, jobs that “offer” a certain flexibility of working hours, considering women as “responsible” for productive work, are generally jobs that offer lower income and social prestige. Jobs in more competitive sectors, historically done by men, allow opportunities for women, but they do not take into account the fact that reproductive work exists and that it is not shared, so women in those jobs are under greater pressure.

Some see the post-pandemic world with some optimism, believing that some lessons will be learned and could lead to behavioral changes. For example: men forced to stay at home started to contribute more to household chores and to relate more to their children. What observations do you make about this? Is there really a change underway?

I am developing a study on the topic, and my preliminary perceptions point out that it is not possible to generalize a higher male participation in domestic and care work. In some cases, a higher rate of male participation is observed, precisely because they spend more time at home, creating a better division of labor along gender lines, but there are many women reporting an even greater burden during the pandemic. Besides, when on-site work returns, it is possible that there will be a setback, even in families that have started to better distribute care work, because this issue, although seemingly domestic and personal, is structural.

Men (and more women) are expected to be fully available at work. In addition, the costs of reproducing the workforce, which previously fell only on women, now also affect some of the men. In this scenario, both men and women are under pressure to offer work flexibility. Therefore, it is important to consider that capital externalizes the costs of productive work with the flexible working day and continues to externalize labor force reproduction costs, perhaps in a somewhat less unequal fashion among some couples, but benefiting from this free work and transferring the burden to families.

Among the reasons that led Bolsa Família to be a program recognized worldwide is the fact that it gives autonomy and a certain power to women, who are the cardholders, in addition to helping reduce child and maternal mortality. In other words, it is a basic income program that has improved women’s lives. In your opinion, a basic income program like the one promised by Bolsonaro’s  government carries what risks for women, given it does not take into account gender issues?

When I was Director of the department of alternative income at the Municipal Secretariat of Policy for Women in the city of São Paulo, I worked in solidarity economy programs in the city hall. Low income women participated in these income generation programs, many of whom were victims of domestic violence. I have often heard stories about the importance of the Bolsa Família program as a minimum income that, by providing economic autonomy, allowed these women to leave abusive relationships and go away from home. One of them said “Now my husband is Lula, and I am not beaten anymore”. I believe that targeted cash transfer programs must be targeted at the most vulnerable people. In our society, the data show that women, and black women, are the most vulnerable. To remove basic autonomy from these women would be a great step backwards.

You were invited to teach at an American educational institution. I would like you to comment on what it is like today, under a far-right government, to dedicate yourself to a topic such as Labor Economics and Gender Studies? In order to deepen your line of studies, is it more prudent to leave the country?

In the article “A Feminist Perspective on the 2017 Labor Reform in Brazil: Impacts on Higher Education Faculty” written by Dr. Ana Luíza Matos de Oliveira and me, for a book called Female Voices from the Worksite [Lexington Books, 2020], we discussed the consequences of labor reform for university professors. The challenges of the academic career in Brazil are many and, as we pointed out in the article, working conditions since the 1990s have been very precarious in public and especially private universities.

Labor reform has the potential to contribute negatively, aggravating the hiring situation to work by the hour or as a contractor, low pay, generating more uncertainty, and precarious work. Furthermore, the lack of opportunities to work in public universities, given the cuts in funding and attacks on public universities promoted by this government, affect the few opportunities to work in the teach-research-extension triad, aggravating the situation of recent PhD graduates and young professors at the beginning of their careers.

Personally, given the conditions of the job market for private university professors in Brazil, I consider that I had a good opportunity to teach at a serious and committed college, but I missed being able to dedicate myself to research and extension. My fields of study, Labor Economics and mainly Gender Studies, are areas that are under-appreciated within mainstream Economics. In this sense, there seems to be more opportunities abroad. In this way, I am very honored with the opportunity to be able to take some of what I was able to learn from the excellent public higher education I obtained in Brazil, especially at the Institute of Economics of the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) where I completed my doctorate, and with the study group “Rethinking Development” of the Institute of Brazilian Studies (IEB) of the University of São Paulo (USP) and modestly contribute to disseminate the wealth of Brazilian economic and social thinking that I learned here. Even from abroad, I am committed to collaborating in the construction of a fairer Brazil, with more solidarity and opportunities for all.

 

New article: Digital CCS in Brazil

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 17/11/2020 - 3:59pm in

Mumbuca e-dinheiro and the challenges of requirements, codes and data digital community currency governance Luiz Arthur S. Faria*, Fernando G. Severo**, Henrique L. Cukierman***, Eduardo H. Diniz**** *Fundação Getúlio Vargas and Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, luizart@gmail.com ** Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, severo@cos.ufrj.br *** Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, […]

Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro Plot to Get Brazilians Killed

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 30/10/2020 - 2:41pm in

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Brazil

It’s not normal for a president of the United States to make plans with the president of an allied country that is likely to get tens of thousands of people in that country killed. But we’re not talking about ordinary presidents, we’re talking about Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro.

The goal of the Trump-Bolsonaro plot was to keep Brazil from getting access to a vaccine developed in China. China is apparently somewhat ahead of the United States in developing an effective vaccine. While the pharmaceutical companies in the United States have approached a vaccine by developing a new RNA method, the leading Chinese companies have pursued an old-fashioned dead virus approach.

This allowed these companies to move more quickly with their testing and get to the final Phase 3 stage of clinical trials before the U.S. companies. They also went the route of picking countries with high infection rates, like Brazil, to conduct their trials. A high infection rate makes it easier to determine how effective a vaccine is in preventing infections.

Now that Sinovac, one of the leading Chinese companies, is concluding its trials, it is negotiating large sales of the vaccine to Brazil. Joao Doria, the governor of Sao Paulo, had negotiated a major purchase for the people in his state. Bolsonaro has sought to nix the deal.

According to a press account, Bolsonaro made this decision after meeting with Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien. Trump apparently would consider it a setback in his contest with China for global stature if Brazil were to adopt a vaccine developed by a Chinese company.

Brazil ranks second to the United States in total deaths from the pandemic and is seeing close to 400 deaths a day. This means a delay in getting a vaccine of even a month can mean over 10,000 additional deaths. If the delay is longer, as seems likely, the number of needless deaths would increase accordingly.

Bolsonaro’s claim is that he doesn’t want his country to be “anyone’s guinea pig.” But this is hardly the issue. Large-scale purchases of the Sinovac vaccine would come only after Brazil’s regulatory authority had determined that the vaccine was safe and effective. Bolsonaro’s move was purely an effort to satisfy his friend Donald Trump. He apparently has no more respect for the lives of the people in Brazil than Trump does for people in the United States.  

The post Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro Plot to Get Brazilians Killed appeared first on Center for Economic and Policy Research.


Times Editorial Lets Slip Joe Biden’s Latin America Policy: More Obama-Style Coups

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 29/10/2020 - 6:28am in

With less than a week to go, polling shows Democratic candidate Joe Biden to hold a 7.1 point average lead on incumbent president Donald Trump. Thus, thoughts of what his foreign policy would look like have come to the fore. Yesterday, The New York Times published a long piece discussing the 77-year-old’s plans for Latin America. The Times was hopeful, noting that Biden would seek to “repudiate” Trump’s “hardball approach” to the region, which has caused a great deal of harm, rallying round shared goals of combating climate change.

Yet buried deep in the article is perhaps the most eye-opening sentence:

Mr. Biden’s advisers say they would seek to revive the anti-corruption campaign that set off political earthquakes across the Americas starting in 2014, but largely stalled in recent years.”

What the authors are referring to is a continent-wide campaign to unseat progressive leaders that ended in the jailing of Brazilian president Lula da Silva, the impeachment of his successor Dilma Rousseff, and the rise of the far-right authoritarian Jair Bolsonaro. The so-called Operation Car Wash (“Lava Jato” in Portuguese) was ostensibly an attempt to root out corruption at all levels of society. Yet leaked documents and recordings have shown that, from the beginning, it was a naked powerplay attempt by Brazil’s rich elite to retake control of society from the progressive Workers’ Party administrations through legal means.

This supposed anti-corruption purge was presided over by Judge Sergio Moro, who presented himself as a neutral actor working in the people’s interest. But an investigation by The Intercept showed that Moro was, in fact, in constant contact with the prosecution, instructing them on how to proceed to impeach Lula. Once Lula was imprisoned and barred from running in the 2018 election (despite being the overwhelming favorite to win), Moro took a job as justice minister in Bolsonaro’s cabinet. The case against the two Workers’ Party presidents was weak, to say the least, with many of those leading the prosecution themselves under investigation for more serious corruption cases.

Earlier this year, The Intercept also revealed how intimately (and illegally) involved the Obama and Trump administrations were in Lava Jato. The U.S. Department of Justice was operating in secret from the Brazilian government, working closely with the prosecution, training, coaching and advising them on how best to proceed.

The National Security Agency (NSA) under Obama-Biden also bugged the phones of 29 top Brazilian officials, including President Dilma and many of her staff. This, despite Brazil being an official ally of the United States.

Yet since Lula’s election in 2002, Brazil had also been a thorn in the side of Washington, acting as a barrier to American regime change operations against leftist governments in the region. Lula, a self-described socialist and anti-imperialist, forged close ties with leaders like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Cuba’s Castro brothers, while also refusing to support a U.S.-backed right-wing secessionist movement in Eastern Bolivia aimed at undermining President Evo Morales.

Lula later drew Washington’s ire by independently brokering a nuclear deal with Iran that undermined Obama’s claims that Tehran would never agree to one, hence the need for sanctions.

And so, while The Times report presents Bolsonaro as an adversary of Biden, his rise was directly facilitated by the Obama administration’s policies in Latin America.

Biden’s advisors have also laid out their plans for Central America, which include a $750 million package tied to privatization drives and austerity measures that might perpetuate the very economic and political conditions that led migrants to flee in the first place. His team also doubled down on his commitment to regime change in Venezuela, although, like Trump, he appears to be growing weary of U.S.-backed figure Juan Guaidó.

Figures both on the right and the left are presenting Biden as a progressive champion. Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro described the Democrats as “the party of Bernie Sanders,” claiming that Biden is a “facade for [leftist] radicalism.” In equally questionable fashion, Rep. Ilhan Omar also claimed that she expected a leftward shift from Biden after the election. Biden, however, is currently considering a number of Republicans for senior positions in his administration, while sidelining Sanders and even Elizabeth Warren, despite their widespread popular support among the party’s rank and file. In reality, Biden has always represented the right-wing of the Democratic Party, and his policy on Latin America is little different, bearing more similarities than differences with the Trump administration’s.

Feature photo | Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to the media after voting at the Carvel State Office Building, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. Andrew Harnik | AP

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post Times Editorial Lets Slip Joe Biden’s Latin America Policy: More Obama-Style Coups appeared first on MintPress News.

Boicote à vacina chinesa é o maior atentado de Bolsonaro contra a saúde pública

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 25/10/2020 - 3:03pm in

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Brazil

Bolsonaro-Vacina1

Ilustração: The Intercept Brasil

Primeiro, o presidente da República disse que não obrigaria ninguém tomar vacina contra a covid-19, apesar de ter assinado um decreto que torna a vacinação compulsória. Ele pretendia antagonizar o governador João Doria, que afirmou que a vacina seria obrigatória em São Paulo. Depois, suspendeu o protocolo firmado entre seu ministro da Saúde e o Instituto Butantan para a compra de 46 milhões de doses da vacina criada pelos chineses. Passou então a fazer ataques contra a vacina sem base em nenhum dado científico, colocando uma nuvem de dúvidas sobre a população quanto a sua segurança. Na prática, Bolsonaro boicota a saúde da população com base em um preconceito estúpido contra os chineses.

Essa empreitada para boicotar a vacina talvez tenha sido o crime de responsabilidade mais evidente já cometido pelo presidente. Mais evidente e mais vil. Foi provavelmente o mais baixo degrau moral que um presidente já chegou. Estamos diante um atentado contra a saúde pública que, se confirmado, matará milhares de brasileiros.

A fama de genocida vai ganhando justificativas irrefutáveis. Essa é só mais uma ação de um presidente que enfrentou a pandemia se baseando unicamente em critérios ideológicos, rejeitando a ciência e, consequentemente, empurrando seu povo para a morte. O “efeito Bolsonaro” foi comprovado por uma pesquisa da Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, a UFRJ, que concluiu que, quanto mais bolsonarista uma cidade, maior o número de pessoas infectadas com a covid-19. Os pesquisadores afirmam que para cada 10 pontos percentuais a mais de votos para Bolsonaro, há um aumento de 12% no número de mortos pela doença. A politicagem barata de Bolsonaro, calcada nas paranoias anticiência da extrema direita, mata cidadãos brasileiros. Essa já não é mais uma questão de opinião. É um fato.

Esta talvez tenha sido a semana em que Bolsonaro contou mais mentiras — e olha que ele estabeleceu um padrão altíssimo no volume de mentiras durante o mandato. Primeiro, passou a questionar a falta de comprovação científica da vacina. Sim, o garoto-propaganda da cloroquina, cuja ineficácia para o tratamento contra a covid já foi fartamente comprovada, decidiu agora se fiar na ciência. Registre-se que os EUA chegaram a doar 2 milhões de doses de cloroquina para o Brasil e, logo em seguida, suspenderam seu uso para o tratamento da covid. A obsessão pelo remédio era tanto que um ex-assessor de Bolsonaro, Arthur Weintraub, sugeriu que os opositores da cloroquina deveriam ser julgados como os nazistas foram pelo Tribunal de Nuremberg.

“Não se justifica um bilionário aporte financeiro num medicamento que sequer ultrapassou sua fase de testagem”, afirmou Bolsonaro. Acontece que isso nunca foi um problema, já que ele destinou quase R$ 2 bilhões para a vacina de Oxford, que está no mesmo patamar de testagem da vacina criada pelos chineses e, pasmem, será fabricada com insumos farmacêuticos chineses. “Não acredito que vacina chinesa transmita segurança pela sua origem”, destilando mais uma vez seu preconceito contra os chineses. É com essa desconfiança, referenciada unicamente por mentiras espalhadas nas redes sociais, que o presidente trata o nosso principal parceiro comercial.

Essa volta à baila do preconceito contra os chineses coincide com a visita de um conselheiro de Donald Trump ao Brasil, cuja principal missão foi a de impulsionar uma campanha anti-China por aqui. Uma de suas ações foi tentar barrar a empresa chinesa Huawei do mercado de 5G por supostamente não oferecer garantias de segurança e privacidade. Portanto, os novos ataques contra a China matam dois coelhos com uma cajadada só: ataca Doria, considerado por ele seu principal rival na sucessão presidencial, e balança o rabinho para Trump — uma subserviência que é a marca da política internacional bolsonarista e que até agora não nos trouxe nada de positivo, muito pelo contrário.

Precisamos falar sobre a postura do presidente da Câmara Rodrigo Maia que, até aqui, vem normalizando o projeto bolsonarista de destruição do estado e da saúde dos brasileiros. Apesar de passar meses batendo boca com o presidente pela imprensa no auge das ameaças golpistas, o DEM, seu partido, seguiu passando pano para Bolsonaro. É o terceiro partido mais fiel ao bolsonarismo nas votações da Câmara, ficando atrás apenas de partidos de extrema direita como PSL e Patriota.

Além disso, Maia sentou sobre todos os vários pedidos de impeachment não por acreditar que não haveria votos suficientes para aprová-lo, mas, por não achar que o presidente tenha cometido crimes de responsabilidade, como disse no Roda Viva. A afirmação é uma afronta à nossa inteligência e à democracia. O que não falta para Bolsonaro são crimes de responsabilidade com provas irrefutáveis. Nem parece que estamos no país que outro dia derrubou uma presidenta por pedaladas fiscais com o apoio de Maia e seu partido.

A postura conciliatória de Maia não tem nada de republicana. Bolsonaro passou atacando instituições e impôs uma agenda genocida ao país com a chegada da pandemia. As declarações do presidente da Câmara o tornam um garantidor do bolsonarismo e ajudam a normalizá-lo. O país viveu quase dois anos assistindo às maiores barbaridades antidemocráticas da história do Planalto enquanto o chefe da Câmara tratava de colocar panos quentes. Essa postura conciliatória seria louvável se não estivéssemos lidando com um presidente com uma postura facínora, disposto a empurrar milhares de brasileiros para a cova — uma tragédia que terá as digitais do presidente da Câmara. O bolsonarismo virou o novo normal com a contribuição generosa de Maia.

A cobertura da grande imprensa tem sido cada vez mais lamentável. Depois de exaltar nas manchetes a conversão de Bolsonaro à moderação — algo que nunca aconteceu de fato —, agora trata a discussão em torno da vacina como uma disputa política normal entre dois rivais políticos. A obsessão pelo “doisladismo” que assola o jornalismo pode nos levar aos lugares mais obscuros.

Vimos por todo canto do noticiário manchetes destacando a “disputa” e a “guerra”entre os políticos em torno da vacina. “Como disputa entre Bolsonaro e Doria pode atrasar vacina”, “Em guerra da vacina, Bolsonaro ataca Doria“, “Como disputa entre Bolsonaro e Doria pode atrasar imunização dos brasileiros“. Lendo essas manchetes, fica a sensação que temos dois adversários políticos brigando por seus próprios interesses quando, obviamente, não é esse o ponto central. Trata-se de uma questão de saúde pública, em que o presidente renega a ciência e coloca a população em risco. Esse é o fato grave a ser destacado. Doria, claro, faz seu marketing em cima da coisa, mas, de fato, está cumprindo o que lhe cabe como governador para trazer a vacina.

O emprenho por tratar tudo com isenção e equilíbrio, mesmo que isso afete a precisão da informação, transformou um assunto da maior gravidade em uma mera disputa de cabo de guerra. É claro que existe um embate político por trás, como há em tudo, mas ele é irrelevante quando temos um presidente da República fazendo o diabo para sabotar uma vacina por motivos puramente ideológicos. Esse doisladismo atende aos interesses de Bolsonaro. Tudo o que ele quer é transformar a questão em uma “guerra”, uma “disputa” política. Esse tipo de cobertura tira o foco do caráter genocida do boicote do presidente à vacina.

A boa notícia é que a Anvisa liberou a importação da matéria-prima utilizada na fabricação da vacina chinesa no Brasil, mesmo depois das declarações de Bolsonaro. Dois dias antes, ele afirmou que o presidente da Agência não teria pressa em liberar a vacina. Vamos ver até onde vai o plano do presidente em boicotar a saúde do povo. A ideologia bolsonarista é uma máquina de fabricar cadáveres.

The post Boicote à vacina chinesa é o maior atentado de Bolsonaro contra a saúde pública appeared first on The Intercept.

Você não vai acreditar como Folha e Globo faturam com propaganda enganosa disfarçada de notícia

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 06/09/2020 - 3:02pm in

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Brazil

Ilustração: Rodrigo Bento/The Intercept Brasil

Ao final de textos publicados em sites de jornalismo, é comum os leitores se depararem com uma fileira de pequenos anúncios sensacionalistas disfarçados de conteúdo jornalístico. Os títulos são sempre apelativos — conhecidos como clickbaits —, feitos com o único objetivo de fazer o visitante clicar. Esses anúncios geralmente giram em torno de dicas de saúde, novidades sobre celebridades e maneiras fáceis de enriquecer. Quando o leitor clica, é levado para sites desconhecidos de baixíssima qualidade, que oferecem algum produto duvidoso. O problema não são apenas as chamadas sensacionalistas, mas o conteúdo dos textos. Vários deles são falsos. Leitores de sites jornalísticos sérios estão a um clique de distância de fake news.

Esse modelo de veiculação automática de anúncios em grandes sites vem sendo criticado nos Estados Unidos pelo menos desde 2016. Editores de alguns dos principais veículos americanos passaram a questionar os efeitos desse modelo de anúncios sobre a credibilidade das suas marcas. As revistas Slate e a The New Yorker decidiram interromper a exibição desses anúncios em seus sites. Um artigo sobre misoginia de Trump na Slate, por exemplo, era acompanhado de uma chamada para a seguinte notícia “10 celebridades que perderam seus corpos sarados”. Abaixo da manchete, fotos mostrando o antes e depois do corpo de uma mulher famosa completam a baixaria. Na campanha de 2016, esses espaços patrocinados também foram usados para espalhar mentiras sobre a candidata democrata Hillary Clinton.

Taboola e Outbrain são as duas grandes empresas que dominam esse mercado dos anúncios clickbait. Fundadas em Israel, elas cresceram nos EUA e têm se espalhado pelo mundo. Oferecem aos sites de jornalismo uma solução que automatiza o conteúdo sugerido e reconhece o interesse do leitor a partir de pistas contextuais, como o histórico de navegação, por exemplo. Assim, a todo momento o leitor recebe indicações de conteúdo do próprio site, o que faz com que ele permaneça consumindo notícias por mais tempo. Até aí, tudo bem. O problema é que, em troca desse serviço, Taboola e Outbrain incluem nessas páginas propagandas travestidas de notícias. Os anunciantes pagam para inserir essas chamadas nos sites associados, que também ganham uma fatia dessa grana. As duas empresas estão prestes a concluir uma fusão para dominar de vez o mercado dos clickbaits.

No Brasil, essas empresas chegaram com força. Um jornalista de dados com quem conversei, que preferiu não se identificar, vem acompanhando os links patrocinados do Taboola e Outbrain no rodapé dos grandes sites há algum tempo. Foi ele quem me passou boa parte das informações que guiaram esse texto. Em um levantamento sobre páginas de fake news, o jornalista identificou que as mentiras relacionadas à saúde eram bem mais volumosas que as relacionadas à política. Percebeu também que os links patrocinados no pé das notícias tinham se transformado em uma espécie de “fakeoduto”.

Boa parte dos veículos de grande imprensa brasileira aderiu a esse modelo de anúncios. Os sites da Folha de S. Paulo e do jornal O Globo, os principais jornais do país, estão associados respectivamente ao Outbrain e ao Taboola. Quando o visitante continua a descer a barra de rolagem após a leitura de uma notícia, se depara com um quadro com esses anúncios sensacionalistas misturados com links para notícias do próprio jornal. Apesar de haver uma tarja minúscula indicando ser conteúdo patrocinado, a diagramação dá a entender que as manchetes sensacionalistas dos anúncios são conteúdos produzidos pelo jornal. Esses anúncios estão presentes em todas as páginas da Folha e do Globo que visitei.

Prints das capas da Folha de S. Paulo mostram como os anúncios aparecem disfarçados de notícias com manchetes sensacionalistas.

Foto: Reprodução

Foto: Reprodução

Perceba nas imagens acima como os anúncios sensacionalistas e as notícias da Folha aparecem misturados no mesmo quadro. Uma notícia do caderno Saúde do jornal figura no mesmo enquadramento de propagandas sensacionalistas para remédios naturais sem eficácia comprovada. Em uma notícia sobre o Brasil ter ultrapassado 4 milhões de infectados pelo coronavírus, o leitor dá de cara com esse tipo de propaganda sensacionalista ao final do texto. Alguns desses clickbaits têm um claro cunho machista, como o “estimulante natural que virou febre no Brasil” ilustrado com uma foto de mulher.

Uma outra “notícia” patrocinada intitulada “Médico Alerta: Pressão alta é um fator de risco. Se você toma Losartana, tente isso” também aparece em meio a outras chamadas do caderno de Saúde da Folha. A losartana é uma droga utilizada no tratamento de hipertensão. Se o leitor clicar nessa notícia, o sistema do Outbrain o levará para o domínio doutornature.com. O texto promete apresentar uma receita natural para a hipertensão, mas começa a enrolar o leitor nos mesmos moldes dos programas de João Kleber. Para acessar a receita milagrosa, é necessário assistir a um vídeo que, entre outras bobagens, afirma que existe uma solução natural para a hipertensão “melhor que dieta e exercícios” e que “já foi citada até na Bíblia”.

É um vídeo hospedado no YouTube, mas a configuração da página do anunciante não permite que você pule para o final, obrigando o visitante a vê-lo inteiro se quiser conhecer o milagre prometido. Toda a narração leva a acreditar que receberá dicas grátis para a cura da hipertensão. Depois de muita enrolação, o vídeo conta que a folha de oliveira é a substância mágica, chamada pelo narrador de “um plano de Deus”. Além da pressão alta, o narrador afirma de maneira categórica que a folha ajuda a combater o diabetes, a emagrecer, te mantém jovem, energizado e mais um sem número de benefícios para a saúde.

De fato, há pesquisas indicando que a folha de oliveira ajuda no controle da hipertensão, mas está longe de ter o efeito milagroso repetido. Depois de 20 minutos, o narrador sugere que você compre esse milagre em cápsulas: o remédio Nature Olive, que você poderá comprar em uma promoção exclusiva no link a seguir. No Reclame Aqui, há mais de 500 reclamações contra a Doutor Nature. Há relatos de todo tipo: remédios que estão fazendo mal, cobranças indevidas no cartão de crédito e atrasos na entrega.

Nesta semana, no final de uma coluna da Mônica Bergamo, encontrei a chamada “Insônia: novo fitoterápico faz dormir sem causar dependência”. O link aparece como se fosse uma notícia qualquer, exceto pelo fato de haver um aviso com letras miúdas avisando que se trata de uma notícia patrocinada. Você clica nele, e o Outbrain te leva para o site topsaudavel.com.

O nome do domínio já exala a picaretagem que vem a seguir. Trata-se de uma propaganda de um remédio milagroso para a insônia disfarçado de artigo escrito por um médico especialista em distúrbios de sono. Depois de muita enrolação, o nome do remédio aparece no quinto parágrafo, e o tal médico afirma: “funciona melhor que a maioria dos tarjas-pretas que eu conheço”. Sim, o doutor garoto-propaganda diz de forma categórica que o tal fitoterápico é mais eficaz que remédios tarja-preta. “Tenho receitado Relaxxia a todos os pacientes que me procuram com problemas de insônia e ansiedade, e os resultados são surpreendentes: 97% deles tem o problema resolvido com Relaxxia, e praticamente não preciso mais receitar tarjas-pretas para ninguém!”

Ao final do artigo, sem o doutor ter contado qual a composição e o princípio ativo do medicamento, uma mensagem piscando lhe oferece um “DESCONTO EXCLUSIVO” de 40% na compra do medicamento. Só depois descobre-se do que é feito o milagre: a cápsula do Relaxxia é um combinado de extratos de ervas naturais como camomila, maracujá, passiflora e melissa. Ou seja, tudo isso para chegarmos no chazinho da vovó, que realmente ajuda, mas não resolve o problema de quem sofre com insônias crônicas. Apesar da convicção do médico vendedor, ainda faltam estudos científicos de peso atestando a eficácia da maioria desses fitoterápicos. O milagre vendido não existe.

Propaganda de remédio contra a insônia aparece em formato de notícia na capa da Folha de S. Paulo.

Foto: Reprodução

É para esse lugar que um leitor da Folha menos cuidadoso pode ser levado. Essa fake news lucrativa está a um clique de uma notícia do maior jornal do país. É a desinformação sendo vendida em um espaço no qual se espera encontrar informação de qualidade. Os sites de jornalismo estão, na prática, faturando com as propagandas de empresas que vendem seus produtos através de sensacionalismo barato e mentiroso. Entenderam o tamanho do drama?

No site do jornal O Globo, a empresa Taboola é quem indica os sites aos leitores. Dentro do quadro criado pela Taboola, há uma promiscuidade entre os anúncios sensacionalistas disfarçados de conteúdo jornalísticos e os conteúdos do próprio jornal. A confusão é proposital para gerar cliques para os anunciantes. Será que todos os brasileiros conseguem facilmente identificar o que é notícia do O Globo e o que é propaganda nessa imagem abaixo? Eu tenho certeza que não.

Foto: Reprodução

O creme para varizes recomendado acima também não funciona. É mentira que a tal fórmula “some com as varizes”. Segundo médicos, todo o creme contra varizes no mercado tem apenas um efeito cosmético tímido, não serve como tratamento. Não há nenhum estudo científico comprovando a sua eficácia. O leitor do O Globo está exposto a esse tipo de armadilha.

Em outra página do jornal, mais um milagre: uma medicação que promete secar a gordura que é chamada de “bariátrica em cápsula”.

Manchete sensacionalista é uma propaganda em formato de notícia.

Foto: Reprodução

Nas diretrizes do site da Outbrain, há uma lista de tipos de anúncios que são proibidos pela empresa:

“Sites que intencionalmente buscam levar o leitor a acreditar em algo que não é verdade”.

“Conteúdo desenvolvido para levar o leitor a acreditar que ele está lendo um conteúdo editorial legítimo ou notícias baseadas em fatos”.

“Conteúdo que possa ser um anúncio habilmente disfarçado (com pouco ou nenhum valor oferecido ao leitor), uma propaganda ou uma farsa”.

Bom, basta você passear por esses sites (desative o bloqueador de anúncios do seu navegador) para verificar que praticamente todos os anúncios exibidos pela plataforma violam essas diretrizes.

Procurada para se explicar, a empresa afirma que há três filtros de checagem: primeiro há um filtro automático que bloqueia palavras e imagens impróprias. Depois, os anúncios aprovados seguem para um time de revisores para garantir o cumprimento das diretrizes. E, por fim, a empresa afirma que as empresas associadas à plataforma, como Globo e Folha, têm total autonomia para criar seus próprios filtros e bloqueios de acordo com as suas diretrizes editoriais e comerciais.

Essa rigorosa filtragem deixou passar os anúncios enganosos que você leu neste texto. Globo e Folha têm total autonomia para criar seus próprios filtros, segundo a Outbrain. Ou seja, todos os envolvidos parecem ter consciência de que estão divulgando conteúdo duvidoso na internet.

A Outbrain ressalta “que todos os produtos anunciados estão regulamentados pelos órgãos competentes, e toda a documentação é exigida do anunciante para que a veiculação seja feita”. Sim, o creme para varizes citado aqui, por exemplo, é aprovado pela Anvisa e vendido legalmente. A enganação está em vendê-lo como remédio milagroso para o tratamento de varizes.

A Folha reconhece que “normalmente os anúncios são chamativos e destacam propriedades milagrosas”, mas completa: “no fim das contas são suplementos e similares que estão à venda nas lojas do ramo”.
O jornal afirma que “os anunciantes da rede sempre têm registro na Anvisa e as regras quanto às páginas de destino obedecem ao manual da empresa”.

A empresa defendeu os anunciantes, dizendo que eles “estão sempre comprometidos a ouvir e trabalham para acatar. Quando temos uma solicitação de remoção e restrição total, também sempre realizam rapidamente”. Ou seja, já que os produtos foram regulamentados pela Anvisa, a Folha não vê problema em faturar com o sensacionalismo desses anúncios. Então ficamos assim: a cápsula feita com um combinado de chazinhos da vovó pode aparecer no site do jornal prometendo ser o remédio definitivo para insônia. Basta que ele tenha sido aprovado pela Anvisa. Então tá.

Taboola e Globo não responderam às perguntas enviadas por e-mail até o fechamento da coluna – o texto será atualizado caso as respostas cheguem após a publicação.

Numa época em que as fake news atrapalham o trabalho dos jornalistas e ameaçam a democracia, empresas de jornalismo oferecem aos seus leitores espaços publicitários repletos de …. fake news. Com que moral essas grandes empresas de jornalismo fazem campanhas para combater as mentiras? Do que adianta lutar contra as fake news se parte da receita dessas empresas de jornalismo é proveniente de anúncios sensacionalistas de produtos que não funcionam?

Praticamente todos os grandes sites de jornalismo no Brasil estão navegando nessas águas turvas. Revista Veja, El País e Estadão também se beneficiam desse modelo de anúncios. Nós sabemos que bom jornalismo requer recursos, mas flertar com a desinformação não me parece um preço justo a se pagar. A grande imprensa brasileira precisa se desvencilhar desses esqueletos no armário se quiser manter o mínimo de credibilidade junto aos leitores.

The post Você não vai acreditar como Folha e Globo faturam com propaganda enganosa disfarçada de notícia appeared first on The Intercept.

Snowflakes Hither, Yonder and In the Tropics: Ungentrifying Journalism from Brazil to Ecuador

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 18/08/2020 - 4:02am in

In October 2019, Ecuador’s president Lenin Moreno announced a new round of austerity measures. As the cost of gasoline, diesel, transport and food skyrocketed in the wake of his announcement, the national strike quickly transformed into mass protests. I was in the heart of Ecuador’s capital, Quito, as riot police, tanks, untold amounts of tear gas, and the full gamut of the security apparatus was deployed against demonstrators.

Eleven days later, with an official death toll of eight people and almost 1,200 arrested, the government rescinded. The Kichwa, Shuar, Secoya, the full breadth of the 14 indigenous nations, including Afro-Ecuadoreans, the poor and working class — the people had won this round. And I, to the best of my knowledge, had become the sole person of African-descent to provide an international report of the events.

 

Segregated media reports from Brazil

The once popular hashtag, #NewsroomsSoWhite, carries a good measure of this malign. In Brazil, home to the second largest African-descendent population in the world behind Nigeria, gentrified, global-north newsmakers have spread like wild mushrooms after a downpour. Among this bunch, we count the Intercept-Brasil, Jacobin-Brasil, El Pais, and Le Monde Diplomatique. CNN Brasil launched this year.

In one report, CNN Brasil’s Shasta Darlington — a white woman — opens her coverage with video footage of black youths flashing guns and selling drugs in a Rio de Janeiro favela. It’s curious inasmuch as its striking resemblance to Adriana Diaz’s CBS News “On Assignment” report “The Guns of Chicago.” The general message: black youths are armed, shirtless, virulent, sorted into gangs, and pathetically dangerous. Popular, value-neutral consumption is its aim. No examination of Brazil being one of the most socially stratified countries on earth. No mention of a decades-long exodus of souls from the country’s northeast region, fleeing both drought and economic depravation in search of green pastures in the marvelous city and São Paulo. No subsequent comparative report on Operação Calabar, a 2017 investigation which led to the arrest of 80 Rio de Janeiro military police for selling automatic rifles and munitions to drug-traffickers.

If uncareful, one might mistake Darlington’s report for a promo hyping the ongoing militarization of Rio de Janeiro. Why not? As a 6-year-old girl in Quito’s Carolina Park told me one day, “Todos los negritos son ladrones” (All niggas are thieves). Unsure, and absolutely sure of my aural faculty, I hardened my face and asked, “What did you say?” Squaring me eye to eye, her sassy gull was anything but circumspect—“Todos los negritos son ladrones.” Indeed, Darlington’s reporting is as opaque as it is disaggregating, a notorious case study on segregated international news coverage and its belittling of global perspectives.

Meanwhile, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald has tasked himself with defending “Brazilian democracy.” Whatever that means. For us who speak Portuguese, it does mean having to endure his robotic enunciation of an otherwise beautiful language. Not that Tupí-Guaraní is of any less stature or beauty. “We don’t speak Portuguese, we sing it,” an artisan in the Pelourinho, Salvador’s historic centre, once told me.

Greenwald’s coverage has garnered ire from Brazil’s right-wing, even a few swings from Augusto Nunes. His commitment to unveiling how Sergio Moro conspired with other top officials to convict Brazil’s most popular and successful president, Luíz Inácio Lula da Silva, is unquestionable. As bounty, Bolsonaro handpicked Moro to serve as his Minister of Justice days after “winning” the presidency. After having been removed from the UN’s hunger list and millions lifted out of poverty during Lula’s presidency, Brazil was taking a sharp turn to an ungainful future.

Notwithstanding Greenwald’s defense of Lula, it cannot be ignored that his work dwells in a silo of privilege. In the current, polarized tug-of-war mouthing left-this, right-that, support fascism or democracy—dare the imagination recall a single day when Brazil held the status of democracy—voices ruminating as outliers wither away. The binaries at work don’t register their signals.

“Brazil has blacks too?” is a quote attributed to former U.S. president George W. Bush. However, Greenwald too seems to have forgotten that he lives in a country where black people are not only the majority, but have the agency and skills to hold their own in international journalism. This fact is not so much as an afterthought for the bevy of progressive media powers operating in the tropics: the mammoth machine of mainstream and western media at-large tells us who is articulate enough, indeed worldly, mindful, and honest enough to saddle the demands required of international journalism. In its view, people of color, in general, and black people, in particular, lack the wherewithal to assume this role.

Unfortunately, progressive Brazilian news outlets fare no better. The editorial board and international correspondents at Brasil 24/7, Carta Capital, Brasil de Fato, and Pragmatismo Político, to name a few, indicate that their staff is as exclusionary as Bolsonaro’s cabinet members, an issue they hotly opposed. Placing a mirror before his ministers merely reflects the callous, monolithic state of journalism.

 

Racial democracy vs reality

Last year (2019) the Rio de Janeiro police force set a new record. At least 1,546 people were killed by law enforcement. I emphasize at least because the body count, according to the Instituto de Segurança Pública, is comprised from January to October 2019. Black youths comprised the majority of victims. Does eight-year-old Ágatha Félix ring a bell? Shot in the back, killed by policemen who invaded the Complexo do Alemão favelas on the 20th of September 2019, Rio de Janeiro’s governor, Wilson Witzel, publicly blamed her murder on people who “smoke marijuana.” Daniel Lozoya, a member of Rio de Janeiro’s Public Defenders Office commented “the more the state kills, the more it strikes…young black youths in favelas.”

In 2017, Brazil broke another record. Government figures recorded 63,880 homicides, a number far exceeding annual casualties in countries at war. Despite this bloodbath, the country pampers itself to the inculpable PR tune of racial democracy. Heralded into the public imagination at the turn of the nineteenth century, racial democracy implies that miscegenation between Indigenous people, Africans and Europeans rendered a society free of institutional and picayune racism. Conceptually part and parcel of maintaining Brazil’s hyper-stratified society, it has systematically excluded and kept black people at the dirt end of the socioeconomic totem pole. In modern politics, the few exceptions—Marielle Franco, Talíria Petrone, Benedita da Silva, Áurea Carolina—only validate the rule. Exceptions are even slimmer in international media.


Two boys draw a depiction of the police shooting of 13-year-old girl during a shootout with alleged traffickers in Rio de Janeiro. Leo Correa | AP

In September 2018, Geysson Santos took to the mic of Hip-Hop Sem Maquiagem (Hip-Hop Without Makeup), a podcast hosted by Allison Tiago and produced from the periphery of São Paulo that routinely interviews black activists. He spared no bones in dismantling Brazil’s siloed leadership class and racial democracy. “The role the left purports to do,” Santos stressed, “falls short because they distance themselves from periphery communities.” He pointed out that traditional left-wing political parties have emerged, primarily, from university student movements or workers’ unions. Be they right or left-wing, the directorial makeup of both organizations remain dominated and controlled by Brazil’s privileged white minority.

Santos emphasized that because of their demographic makeup, traditional left-wing and progressive political parties distance themselves from the very communities they wish to salve. In his assessment, these political parties “don’t reflect our image and our day-to-day militancy… I believe vices exist… and it’s difficult for us, those from periphery communities, to take active roles in them… the way Brazil’s left was formed, even the foundation of Brazil itself, established through extreme racism and bureaucracy. So, it becomes a battleground within the left-wing and progressive camps just to discuss issues involving our youth, the genocide perpetrated against our black youth.” As a result, he concluded, “other structures are organized.”

Consigned to the periphery, forced to build “other structures” as Santos eluded to, independent black media outlets in Brazil have amassed significant followings on their websites and social media platforms. Still, news outlets like Alma Preta, Correio Nagȏ, Notícias Pretas, Hip-Hop Sem Maquiagem, CULTNE Acervo, and others lack the hard resources and, consequently, structural reach so readily available to their competitors and self-proclaimed allies. This includes, but not limited to, no funds, not even a pittance of an honorarium for working writers and staff members; research; on-the-ground and investigative reporting; travel; food; and other essentials of the trade. Unlike The Intercept, co-founded by Greenwald and funded by tech billionaire Pierre Omidyar (eBay founder), the aforementioned media outlets operate on shoestring to zero budgets. Meanwhile, salaries at The Intercept “dwarf those at other center-left, non-profit outlets,” according to a 2019 report published by Columbia Journalism Review. In 2015, Greenwald took home $518,000 and, in 2017, The Intercept, which is classified as a public charity, paid $9.3 million in salaries. In fact, “its largesse may force the non-profit side of the company to abandon its IRS charitable status and reclassify itself as a private foundation.”

 

International media for whose sake?

Before packing my bags and heading to Ecuador a black man asked me, “Are there black people in Ecuador?” This gentleman, an entrepreneur, was older than I and his query aroused great curiosity, to say the least. A few seconds passed. He had combined a sense of innocent naivety in posing his question. I finally responded. The question remains etched firmly in my mind. “Are there black people in Ecuador?”

Media is an extension of pedagogic work. Both are of strategic importance to any people, community, nation. Black and brown people, however, have been and continue to be marginalized in front of and behind the western news lens. It must be well understood that staking our understanding of the world around us on such media outlets, immobilizes, more often than not, the agency demanded of international solidarity. From Fox News to The Intercept Brazil, CNN to Brazil 24/7, right to left-wing and back again, this echo chamber of whiteness has rendered the narratives of black and brown people even more invisible.

Lack of diversity in media is by no means a natural phenomenon. It is not a creationist blip that white bodies must scientifically make right. The responsibility rests in our hands, you and me, to assume the reigns of our stories in order to broaden global perspectives. In doing so we, believe it or not, extend a hand of brother and sisterhood in international diplomacy and relations. If we are remissed, driven solely by careerism, oblivious to the zeal of bonafide world citizens, we will not know that more than one million Afro-Ecuadoreans exist. Most live in the northern province of Esmeraldas and Valle del Chota, as segregated from mainstream Ecuadorean society as a young black man in the Complexo do Alemão favelas in Rio de Janeiro. Ultimately, our knowledge of world events and affairs will remain dependent on and, consequently, stifled by media segregation.

A version of this article was previously published at Model View Culture

Feature photo | Bandeirantes television news reporter, Ernani Alves, right, reacts after his colleague Gelson Domingos was shot during a police operation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Agencia O Globo | Fernando Quevedo via AP

Julian Cola is a translator (Brazilian-Portuguese to English). A former staff writer at the pan-Latin American news outlet, teleSUR, his articles and essays also appear in Africa is a Country, Black Agenda Report, Truthout, Counterpunch and elsewhere.

The post Snowflakes Hither, Yonder and In the Tropics: Ungentrifying Journalism from Brazil to Ecuador appeared first on MintPress News.

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