The good of Brazil


Source: O Globo, 27/10/2004

By Merval Pereira

The phrase of publicist Duda Mendonça about cockfights? ? Does everyone know that this is my hobby? ? and the work of PT leaders such as the head of the Casa Civil, José Dirceu, trying to reduce to a personal case the episode of his arrest in a clandestine fighting rooster row in Jacarepaguá, in Rio de Janeiro. Or Senator Aloizio Mercadante, classing as a mere? Artist eccentricity? the unfortunate hobby of mistreating animals, all together sums up well the state of moral complacency in which the country is struggling, which generates the fraying of its social fabric and brings serious repercussions even on the economy.

In fact, everyone knew, including President Lula, that Duda Mendonça was a fan of cockfighting, and that he was proud of the titles his animals won. And nobody ever censored him. But that only testifies against those who insist that his arrest will not affect the government's official image. It is the same complacency with which Rio society has always treated bankers in the animal game. Either because of the same tranquility with which pirated products are bought on the street, or counterfeit software is used on the computer.

Is a dangerous leniency with illegal acts impregnating the Brazilian soul, which ends up having disastrous repercussions both in the daily life of ordinary people? who gives a bribe to the corner guard not to be fined and considers it a fact of life, if not a sign of cleverness? as in the country's economy.

Anthropologist Roberto da Matta, an expert on the Brazilian soul, says that a characteristic of our society - is to stay on the fence. And what is more difficult to get out is when, on the wrong side of the wall, is a friend of ours ?. He says that the family is the only Brazilian institution that works, and that it has no competitor:? If you fight with your friends, it's over ?, he stresses. This, according to him, would be a characteristic of a paradoxical society, which is modern but, at the same time, traditional.

The History of Brazil was made, for da Matta, reflecting a mulatto society, not in a racial sense, but in the sense that it uses the modernity of Western Europe, with values ​​that are valid for everyone, but at the same time? Do not abandon friends? . He recalls the phrase of a politician from the time of the Empire, in the transition to the Old Republic that said:? I resist everything, except the request of a friend ?.

In this climate conducive to all kinds of maracutaia, the recent complaint against the federal deputy of Rio André Luiz, of the PMDB, which boasts, in recorded conversation, of having influential friends in the Legislative Assembly of Rio. in front of a corruption scheme that proposed, in exchange for R $ 4 million, to free the bicheiro Carlos Cachoeira from the accusation of having corrupted the Planalto Palace advisor Waldomiro Diniz. The complaint of the magazine? See? had, among others, the merit of hastening the approval of the Assembly's CPI report, asking for their arrest.

It is not for nothing that Rio is pointed out as an example of a state where the parallel power of organized crime, in its various modalities, is taking root, just as in the past it was the Holy Spirit. The serious thing is that Rio may be where illegality is most embedded in power, but it is no exception. The country, thanks to the slowness of the judiciary and a perverse exchange of interests between judges, the political and economic elite? promiscuous relationship that was identified by UN Special Rapporteur Leandro Despouy? breathes a climate of impunity that encourages fraud of all kinds.

And it coexists with the explosive mixture of endemic corruption (a recent survey by the NGO Transparency International showed that we have had no effective public policies in this sector for seven years, which puts us as a country with a high degree of corruption), with a growing drug market. and more heavily armed.

The federal government, although it has not yet succeeded in carrying out the Single Security System to combat urban violence, especially that triggered by drug trafficking, has had good results in the Federal Police's punctual fight against corruption. And recently it created another interministerial council to coordinate a plan to combat piracy and smuggling. But first it will be necessary to define a national policy, since there are different ways of facing the issue within the government itself.

Take the case of intellectual property. On a recent trip to China, the Minister of Culture, Gilberto Gil, whose ministry is one of the seven members of the council, defended the flexibility of international policies, claiming that there is a? Strong economic issue? behind the fact that China and Brazil are among the countries that copy the most in the world. ? With the population earning so little, a book, a movie or a CD cannot be very expensive. And the industry needs to be convinced that the idea of ​​the technological world is universal ?, said Gil.

According to him, the new technologies are based on "spreading products and ideas in the fastest and cheapest way, and the industry needs to adapt to this, producing culture at lower prices and with inclusion policies". It is the same reasoning of those who consider that pirating computer programs has its "social side", as it allows users from the poor peripheries to update themselves technologically, reducing the digital divide. In this step, our country is already responsible for 9,5% of the worldwide piracy of audiovisual products and software.

The industry of counterfeiting, evasion, piracy, smuggling has transformed itself into a true "parallel state", which already dominates a third of the market and absorbs 40% of all the country's wealth, according to calculations by the Brazilian Institute of Ethics in Competition (Etco), an NGO that brings together companies from different sectors to combat unfair competition carried out either by tax evasion or by various forms of fraud.

The losses caused by the informal economy would be in the order of R $ 160 billion per year, and the areas most affected would be retail, civil construction and agriculture. According to Emerson Kapaz, president of Etco, studies show that if this informality were reduced by 20% in the next ten years, it would be possible to obtain a 1,5% annual increase in the country's per capita income in the same period.