Growth requires facing culture of transgressions


Source: ETCO Magazine, No 18, January 2011

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It took 16 years to put the Brazilian economy on the path of monetary stability and improve income distribution. Now, when going up the ramp of the Planalto Palace, President Dilma has a great challenge ahead: to drop interest rates on financial investments to start a cycle of strong sustainable growth. After all, this is the stone on the road to strengthening economic activity and there is a great expectation that finally the cost of money will be at healthier levels, which will increase the demand for resources for long-term investments in the production of goods and services. services.

ETCO wants to contribute to the debate and considers it extremely relevant to put on the agenda of this new government the confrontation with the culture of transgressions to provide a good business environment, a fundamental pillar for the reduction

interest rates and to attract productive and non-productive investments
speculative. “The good business environment is strongly threatened by misconduct, such as tax evasion, informality, smuggling, piracy and other deviations that generate competition imbalances”, says ETCO President, professor André Franco Montoro Filho.

Think of a great Brazilian author. Hardly your work will not bring in
sometime a character that circulates free, light and loose in society at different times, a good people, but a violator of laws. What is worrying, however, is that this unreliable type that wanders the pages of great national works also circulates through the streets of this immense country, and with such naturalness that we often find it hard to believe that he is actually doing something wrong. Deviations in conduct are impregnated in Brazilian culture, such as Carnival and football, and often enter the family's routine without
the less they realize.

Take, for example, the good square Antunes Segada Bustamante, who with his good conversation gets a job as a government inspector. The character created by Lima Barreto in A game inspector, does not feel ashamed or hide his unorthodox behavior at work. On the contrary, it even boasts. The narrator tells us that a few days after Bustamante's appointment, he found him and, after greeting, asked:

How have you got on with the place?
Magnificently! I eat supper every night, see beautiful women and drink champagne all the way. All of this for free. It is not good? Bustamante is not alone either in fiction or in Brazilian reality. Even those who are indignant about some violations of the law, are condescending to others that do not stand out when
they themselves commit their sins.

In 2008, the culture of transgressions in Brazil was the subject of a thorough investigation by ETCO in partnership with the Fernando Henrique Cardoso Institute. The institute asked four renowned thinkers to answer, within their specialties: "Is overcoming this culture a condition for development?" Yes, answered the scholars who were gathered at the seminar “Culture of Transgressions - Lessons from History”, held in August
2008, on the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the Royal Family in Brazil. It was the starting point for debates and studies and the launch of the book Culture of transgressions in Brazil - Lessons from history, edited in partnership with the Fernando Henrique Cardoso Institute, which investigates the origin of practices that escape the sense of responsibility.

ETCO thus built a collection that is one of the rare sources of
information on the topic of transgressions, which has received little reflection from the country. The book was coordinated by ex-minister Marcílio Marques Moreira, President of the ETCO Advisory Council, and by ex-President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and brings a good overview of the various facets that shape transgressions, with the concern of trying to trace along the history of the country the origin and evolution of practices that escape the sense of responsibility.

The political and social scientists who were involved in this
ETCO's endeavor to create the necessary conditions for efficient therapies to appear to combat the culture of transgressions are certain that, although deviations in conduct have crossed centuries, it is possible to turn that game around. Creating norms and laws is not a problem for the Brazilian, it is not by chance that jurists and lawyers dominated the political elite during the entire period of national formation in the Empire and continue to exercise great influence until today. The difficult thing is to make sure that they are fulfilled.

Brazil is a major exporter of laws. Its Penal Code of 1830, for
example, it was copied by several countries, including Europeans. However, its biggest challenge is still the care in applying the laws. Laws are unceremoniously created. The 1988 Constitution itself, with 250 articles, 83 transitional provisions, was modified by dozens of amendments. The 1997 National Traffic Code is another good example. With his 341 articles he is exhaustive in defining rules and establishing punishments, generous in creating bureaucracies. However, it does not take account of law enforcement. It did not provide for the reform and signaling of roads, the training of highway police, agreements with the states, speeding up the judgment of resources.

“Delusional legalism”, was defined by the historian José Murilo de
Carvalho the heavy Code. A flurry of articles that proved unable to prevent the killing in traffic, as anthropologist Roberto DaMatta demonstrated. According to him, traffic is a good example of how some institutions and people can undertake the crossing to the other side of morality, without anything happening to them. On the contrary, this passage would be something established, expected and encouraged by society itself.

Political scientist Bolívar Lamounier seeks to elucidate the relationship
between transgression and the market economy, but calls into question the role of the middle class as an agent for revising values ​​and political support that can put a brake on the escalation of transgression. "I am convinced that the increase in transgression in Brazil is an inevitable correspondent of the modernization process is the downside of a good currency: the price you pay for a dynamic, modern and democratic society."

Jurist Joaquim Falcão, who completed the list of scholars called by ETCO to radiograph the culture of transgressions in Brazil and its impact on the good business environment, drew attention to the euphemisms. "Economists call informal employment what, in fact, is illegal employment," says Falcão. There are tens of millions of workers excluded from legislation, control and social security and labor benefits. “Which democratic state of law resists this situation? What legitimacy will there be in laws that potentially outlaw millions of Brazilians on a daily basis ”, asks Falcão.

When ETCO started its investigation into the culture of transgressions,
promoting debates and studies from 2008, Brazil was in full swing, with a real euphoria in the financial markets and big bets for economic growth. But then came the greatest crisis of the century, triggered by American mortgages that swept across the planet. Brazil was not immune to the effects of the crisis.

The sharp drop in economic activity was the fuel that fueled, for example, the increase in notebook smuggling in the country. Along with the fear of unemployment and loss of income for companies and individuals, ethical behavior has been seriously shaken. At such times, there is a growing temptation to adopt illegal practices, such as evading taxes, hiring employees without a formal contract, not respecting contracts or consuming products of dubious origin.

Brazil managed to combat the crisis, showing that the countercyclical action,
with tax relief it has the power to oil the economic gear.

It ended the decade with very encouraging macroeconomic numbers. However, the set of good news is not enough to strengthen the country. “The economy is doing well, but the rest is not”, summarized former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, during the launch of the book Cultura das transgressões - Visões do presente, a new edition of the collection of reflections by the intellectuals gathered by the ETCO Institute and that two years have prepared studies and debates on the topic. The book puts into question the role of a slow Justice that allows to postpone decisions in the culture of impunity and as a sower of corruption.

This second book is part of the collection being created by ETCO as a bibliographic source for the study of the culture of transgressions in Brazil.

In the first book, a compilation of texts with the lessons of history, in this second a map of the current situation and in the third volume what awaits us tomorrow, its risks and challenges. With this trilogy of the Culture of Transgressions, ETCO delivers to Brazilian society a compendium of the main scholars on the Culture of Transgressions in the world.

For Ambassador Marcílio Marques Moreira, it is necessary to maintain constant vigilance in the defense of ethical content in government and business actions.

"The process of building a reputation is long and painful, but the process of deconstruction may be short," says the ambassador. Ethics presumes choice of values. It is not imposed. Regardless of laws. But it is fundamental for the strengthening of democracy, which is based on trust in institutions.

André Montoro says that impunity, the result of a slow Justice and that
it allows postponing decisions, it favors corruption. The book poses this discussion and opens the way for critical reflection, which helps us to find ways to strengthen trust in people and institutions. Thus, even in these almost two decades of great economic advances, President Dilma Rousseff receives from her predecessor a country with a deeply dichotomous reality: the country operates in a sophisticated and advanced system in some aspects, but in others it is still subordinated to institutional systems heavy and backward.

Between one and the other, a society that benefits from progress
economy while trying to legally survive the leaps by jumping from branch to branch.