Culture of Transgressions in Brazil


Source: ACRJ (online), 26/06/2008

Bolivar Lamounier, André Franco Montoro Filho, Marcílio Marques Moreira, Nelson Janot, Merval Pereira and Joaquim Falcão

Bolivar Lamounier, André Franco Montoro Filho, Marcílio Marques Moreira, Nelson Janot, Merval Pereira and Joaquim FalcãoThe Commercial Association of Rio de Janeiro held, on June 19, the Ethics Forum and the launch of the book “Culture of Transgressions in Brazil - Lessons da História ”(Editora Saraiva), published by the Brazilian Institute of Ethics in Competition (ETCO) in partnership with the Fernando Henrique Cardoso Institute (iFHC). 

The work was prepared based on a seminar, held in August 2007 at iFHC, where the central issue was the culture of transgressions in Brazil. Result of a seminar dedicated to the theme, the book brings together texts by four experts, scholars of the country's social, political and cultural issues - Bolívar Lamounier, Joaquim Falcão, José Murilo de Carvalho and Roberto DaMatta.

Under the coordination of ex-minister Marcílio Marques Moreira and ex-president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, and with a presentation by the economist and president of ETCO, André Franco Montoro Filho, the book brings an overview of various facets that shape transgressions, with the concern to try to trace, throughout the history of the country, the origin and evolution of practices that escape the sense of responsibilities and obligations, both in the public and private spheres.

The president of the ACRJ Ethics Council, Nelson Janot Marinho, said that the topic deserves further reflection, despite the fact that the practice of behavior follows laws and regulations, in addition to codes of conduct. “The urgency of the need to bring such a complex and diffuse subject to the light of the debate, makes reading this book essential”.

According to ambassador Marcílio Marques Moreira, the slowness in taking care of ethical deviations is something that permeates Brazilian society. "We need to put the issue on the table and analyze all the variables that influence this type of behavior," he said.

"The lack of ethics that derives from the culture of transgressions threatens Brazilian democracy and undermines our economic growth," said ETCO President André Montoro.

Political scientist Bolívar Lamounier, one of the authors of the book, tries to establish a relationship between transgression and the market economy. His article questions the possibility of the middle class playing the role of an agent for revising values ​​and political support that drives the market economy, and that can stop the escalation of transgression. "I am convinced that the increase in transgression in Brazil is an inevitable correspondent of the modernization process, the price that is paid for a dynamic, modern and democratic society". According to him, the other side of the issue is the accumulated delay in the institutional field, in the construction of values ​​and standards of sociability comparable to those of more developed countries.

Joaquim Falcão, director of the FGV-Rio School of Law, introduces in his text the notion of “collectivized transgressions”, in which the repeated practice of individual transgressions ends up exceeding the limit of the unit to gain the form of the collective. He defends the diversification of legislation in the form of pluralization of legal acts according to the most complex and differentiated aspects that guide social relations today. "The country is subordinated to a heavy and backward institutional system".