Institute of the Americas: XXVI La Jolla Energy Conference

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Since the early nineties, the Institute of the Americas at the University of California, San Diego campus has promoted an energy dialog bringing together top level executives, academics, consultants, hands on practitioners and journalists.  The exchange of information is always enlightening and the President and the staff of the Institute, especially Jeremy Martin, deserve kudos for promoting and organizing this important two-day meeting.

Here is the link to the event with the list of topics and of the distinguished speakers and panelists: https://www.iamericas.org/lajolla/

This year’s meeting could hardly have taken place at a better time.  The political economic crisis in Venezuela is ongoing, Brazil is in the midst of its second impeachment or presidential change in less than a year, Argentina’s new administration is seeking a more open and market oriented path for the use of its extensive oil/gas resources and suddenly, the small and often neglected Guyana is facing a surfeit of riches with the recent discovery of major offshore reserves.

The picture at the beginning of this text is of the panel: Brazil’s Energy Reset. On the left is Paulo Sotero, a journalist by trade and the Director of the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, D.C.  Seated with him are Rafael Ferreira of the state sponsored Energy Research Office and Andre Regra of Brazil’s regulatory ANP (Agencia Nacional do Petroleo).  Jay Thorseth, a Latin American Director for British Petroleum is between Andre and Rafael.

The perspectives from Brazil panel were quite representative of the other discussion at the Conference.  While each country has its particularities, representatives of the public sector, the private sector and academia or journalists showed unique perspectives.  Both Andre and Ricardo, for example, emphasized the reset of Brazil’s energy sector and hued pretty much to the government narrative.  Implicit in their presentations was the shift from a nationalistic PT (Brazilian Labor Party) perspective to greater market openness.  Both noted Brazil’s resumption of oil field auctions and the reduction of local content requirement that had previously put off many international investors and oil companies.  Jay Thorseth of BP, while polite and diplomatic, presented the private sector’s perspective, emphasizing the need for market realism.  Thorseth said governments need to favor foreign companies to be competitive and to access to capital, technology, knowledge and skills.  Auction and participation terms need to take into account Brazil’s need to be an attractive destination world-wide in terms of cost, profit and royalty payments.  If there are better deals elsewhere, then it is likely that the big oil companies or the so-called majors will favor these over a restricted Brazilian market.

Paulo Sotero started by remembering his previous writing on the major crisis and downfall of Brazil’s economic and political system.  This reminder, while obvious, became something of the elephant in the room.  Presenters with government ties were loath to recognize that their initiatives toward opening the energy sector depend not only on technocratic criteria but also on politics.  Thus, when Brazil’s President Temer departs, his replacement will reorder the chairs in the oil sector and in public companies like Petrobras and others in energy production and distribution.  Likewise in Mexico, President Pena Neto is in the last year of his term and essentially a lame duck.  If AMLO (Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador), a popular figure on Mexico’s left, is elected, Mexico’s energy reset will also certainly have a different orientation.   Representatives from Mexico’s public companies emphasized change in legislation in the hope of ongoing modernization and expansion of both oil and gas exploration and distribution in partnership with the private sector.  Optimistically speaking, resource nationalism is seemingly buried, but in Latin America it often rises phoenix like.  Private sector players must always be worried about institutional weakness as regulations and norms or the lack thereof thwart intentions.  Governments and businesses want to mobilize Latin America’s ample energy resources but this depends on the modernization, increased transparency, and durability of the rules of the game.  And these rules, in spite of promised advances, are still being negotiated.

The Conference provided a lot of detail on resources, processes, government action and private company plans.  The major discovery of oil in Guyana certainly will impact markets and already directly affects Venezuela and Brazil.

Finally, the presenters noted that even for traditional oil and gas players, alternative energy is now mainstream and has great significance and unlimited potential for development.  Nevertheless, petroleum and its derivatives will be the major source of energy for their economies for at least another generation.

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Nelson Xavier – Profissional

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Conheci o Nelson logo no inicio da década de 90 quando ele e minha cunhada foram viver juntos. Na época Nelson já era bem conhecido e tinha feito filmes de sucesso e sua presença na TV era corriqueira.

Embora há certo glamour, a vida de artista não é tão fácil como as pessoas podem imaginar. Ganha razoável quando trabalha mas normalmente a maioria dos artistas tem contratos temporários. Vive de filme a filme ou novela a novela ou peça a peça. Exige paciência, criatividade e sobretudo talento, dedicação e persistência. Muitos caem pelo caminho. Nelson iniciou sua carreira na década de 50 e usou sua arte para confrontar o regime militar no anos 60.

Sem duvida, Nelson sempre foi muito talentoso. Ele pode ser descrito como leading man, cangaceiro, assistente, diretor, gallant, estrela, mas o que mais percebo é sobretudo o Profissional. Lembro-me de quando os visitei em Santa Teresa. Nelson era um cara sistemático. Levantava cedo, tomava um café ligeiro e se metia no escritório. As vezes eu achava que ele estava fugindo das visitas mas, na realidade, era o trabalho. Uma vez, quando ele estava fazendo uma novela para a rede Globo e sabendo de seu passado “comunista”, provoquei bobamente, num certo esquerdismo infantil, quando ele estava treinando e declamando um dialogo. Ele ficou uma fera e me passou uma boa bronca. Disse ele, “Steve sou profissional, tenho talento mas o talento sozinho não basta. Tenho que trabalhar e quando trabalho, levo a serio. Quando você chama de “decoreba”, despreza meu trabalho. Meu esforço é de representar bem, de traduzir, transformar, produzir e projetar a personagem. Não é fácil e tenho que trabalhar.” E ai, eu encolhi diante de sua seriedade e o respeitei ainda mais.

Por infelicidade há mais de 10 anos, Nelson veio batalhando um câncer serio. Tinha que fazer quimioterapias e radioterapias. Coisas pesadas. Eu os visitei varias vezes nesses anos, e observei que Nelson ainda trabalhava bastante. Levava a doença e o tratamento como mais um desafio profissional, mesmo sendo muito doloroso.

Inteligente, intelectual e talentoso, Nelson foi grande em tudo o que fez. Como marido e pai amante de Via e Sofia, foi suporte com simplicidade, sabedoria e confiança. Seu exemplo deixou uma enorme herança profissional e pessoal.

Sua vasta coleção de filmes e trabalhos que já fazem parte do arquivo artístico nacional, e são provas de sua grande presença que não deixara de existir.

 

Excelente artigo do Bolivar Lamounier

Por Bolívar Lamounier

Indigência intelectual torna mais sombrio o futuro dos 14 milhões de desempregados

Estamos avançando no caminho da democracia, com mais transparência e instituições mais fortes, ou, ao contrário, sofrendo um retrocesso, com grave risco de uma recaída na corrupção e na violência?

As duas interpretações são cabíveis. Há indícios nas duas direções. A Lava Jato, por exemplo, é um avanço importante e, justamente por sê-lo, suscita reações contrárias, com empresas, partidos e até pessoas investidas em posições de autoridade fazendo de tudo para esvaziá-la e anular os seus efeitos. No terreno político, outro avanço inegável: hoje já ninguém contesta que as eleições são the only game in town – a única forma legítima de acesso ao poder –, mas não faltam tentativas de abastardá-las mediante o caixa 2, a publicidade enganosa, o coronelismo estatal em que o PT transformou o Bolsa Família, e por outros meios.

O que há, portanto, são dois processos simultâneos e contraditórios, ambos profundamente enraizados na realidade atual do País. Um, modernizador, apontando para a consolidação e o aprimoramento da democracia; o outro, reacionário, corporativista, empenhado em preservar privilégios injustificáveis e, no limite, nefasto para o regime democrático.

A “greve geral” – assim mesmo, entre aspas – de 28 de abril ressaltou os contornos da segunda tendência, reacionária e de duvidoso teor democrático. Se o objetivo das entidades que a convocaram fosse debater com seriedade as reformas, o lógico seria que patrocinassem eventos plurais, em recintos apropriados, propícios a discussões serenas. Ainda que o objetivo fosse apenas manifestar uma posição contrária, de forma unilateral, por que não mobilizaram o público para ouvir seus porta-vozes? A verdade é que as entidades organizadoras não fizeram uma coisa nem outra.

Partiram direto para a violência, incumbindo pequenos grupos de paralisar os transportes (às favas, portanto, os interessados no debate!), bloqueando vias públicas, obrigando o comércio a fechar suas portas e dando ensejo a não poucas depredações. Nas ruas percorridas, o que se viu não foi a solitária pedra do poema de Drummond, mas dezenas ou centenas de pedras, tocos de pau e outros objetos.

Esse modo de agir evidencia a importante mudança de ênfase havida na ideologia do PT e das organizações sindicais e dos movimentos sociais que ele satelitiza. Em seus primórdios, o pensamento petista podia ser apropriadamente descrito como um marxismo de sacristia.

O assembleísmo daqueles tempos falava em ética e martelava a tecla da “construção do socialismo”, evocando o cristianismo das catacumbas. No momento atual, a nota dominante é o recurso à ação direta, com o declarado intuito de causar transtorno às atividades diárias da sociedade. Para alcançar tal fim serve queimar pneus, apedrejar vidraças, etc; transmitir ameaças sem perder tempo com palavras. A esse modo de agir se pode apropriadamente denominar anarcossindicalismo, uma das modalidades ideológicas do pré-fascismo, classicamente exposta por Georges Sorel no livro Reflexões sobre a Violência, obra de 1908. Sorel queria “educar a burguesia”, fazendo-a deparar-se com o poder coletivo da classe operária. O que estamos começando a ver no Brasil é pior que isso, é uma violência cega, aleatória, que atinge muito mais duramente os pobres que os ricos. Ou será que foi para assustar a burguesia que queimaram nove ônibus no Rio de Janeiro?

Se, como antes assinalei, o objetivo da manifestação do dia 28 de abril fosse debater as reformas, os meios seriam outros, e dois pontos se destacariam obrigatoriamente na pauta: o imposto sindical e a reforma da Previdência. O imposto – um dia de trabalho que a força do Estado arranca de cada assalariado a fim de sustentar os sindicatos – é a pedra angular da organização sindical brasileira.

Complementa-o a chamada unicidade sindical, ou seja, o monopólio da representação de uma categoria numa dada base territorial, excluindo, portanto, a competição entre sindicatos (Constituição de 1988, artigo 8, II). Décadas atrás, passava por ignorante o advogado ou sociólogo que discorresse sobre a organização sindical brasileira sem indicar seu parentesco com o regime de Mussolini; citar a Carta del Lavoro era sinal de cultura. Mas foi para preservar tais excrescências que os manifestantes do dia 28 recorreram à peculiar retórica dos pneus queimando e do apedrejamento.

Semelhante ou até pior foi a posição assumida na ocasião pelo sindicalismo no tocante à reforma da Previdência Social. Pior porque a discussão de tal reforma deve obrigatoriamente partir de uma evidência incontornável, a mudança demográfica. A sociedade brasileira está ficando mais velha. Os nascimentos e a mortalidade infantil diminuem, os vivos vivem mais do que há 30 ou 40 anos.

Ora, se cada cidadão quer, como é justo que queira, ser garantido na velhice, é óbvio que precisa trabalhar e contribuir por mais tempo. Esse é o cerne da questão, o resto são as regras específicas da transição para o novo sistema, que o Congresso está analisando e negociando. Eis aqui, portanto, uma evidência meridiana: o foro adequado para a negociação é o Congresso, não as ruas. A linguagem apropriada é a do discurso parlamentar, não a do coquetel Molotov. Ameaçar ou tentar chantagear o Parlamento por meio da ação direta é uma insanidade que só pode mesmo vicejar na mentalidade anarcossindicalista.

Neste momento em que o Brasil precisa desesperadamente das reformas mencionadas a fim de superar a recessão e retomar o crescimento econômico, essa forma de indigência intelectual não “educa” ninguém. O que ela faz é tornar mais sombrio o futuro dos nossos 14 milhões de desempregados e dos pobres em geral.

*Cientista político, é sócio-diretor da Augurium Consultoria, membro das academias Paulista de Letras e Brasileira de Ciências, é autor do livro “Liberais e Antiliberais: a luta ideológica de nosso tempo” (Companhia das Letras, 2016)

O Estado de São Paulo

KD a Raiva?

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Anos a fio com uma repetição para além de cansativa, ocorrem atrocidades que causam repulsa.  Enquanto o Congresso e os políticos empenham-se em negociar proteção política em troca de reformas acontecem em toda parte as desgraças rotineiras.  Matam e mutilam Índios, degradam o meio ambiente, os assaltantes tomam com impunidade, as policias invadem, as milícias “protegem”, mulheres são assediadas e ameaçadas, as crianças morrem por balas “perdidas” e pessoas de “bem” insistem na continua rapinagem. Enquanto isso, o cidadão comum assiste de boca aberta e engole seco com o atendimento de qualquer serviço publico.  KD a raiva?

É verdade que há casos de prisões de políticos e empresários por corrupção mas tem se a percepção que o tratamento desigual perante a justiça permanece e muitos corruptos aparentemente gozam de boas vidas em casa.  KD a raiva?

Propaga-se a cordialidade do brasileiro.  Mas talvez é melhor observar que a acomodação e passividade são ainda mais característicos.  A população queda perplexa, passiva e atônita diante dos acontecimentos.  Aceita-se com fatalidade que o governo é corrupto, que a policia é violenta, que desigualdade, machismo e racismo são parte da realidade que não vai mudar. E ainda ha gente que clama pela volta da ditadura militar, mas por frustração e menos por ira.  KD a raiva?

Volta-se para a família, para a igreja, para a torcida ou mesmo para um movimento que ofereça um beneficio ou ao menos uma promessa de melhora ou sentimento de valorização individual.  Mas sem raiva e com acomodação.  Dar muro em ponta de faca não faz bem.  Arriscar contra a maré não faz sentido quando o emprego é precário ou inexistente e o dinheiro está curto.  A opressão da escassez quase absoluta e a passividade induzida favorecem o status quo.  Assim também a falta de interesse pela educação publica de primeiro e segundo grau.   A falta de conteúdo e a aprendizagem apenas para passar levam também ao não questionamento.  KD a raiva?

Não é que o brasileiro não tenha raiva.  O marido bate na mulher, a mãe castiga as crianças e os meninos usam a raiva para bullying e intimidação.  Desafortunadamente as pessoas não encontram como: 1) compreender a raiva; 2) lidar com a raiva de forma produtiva; e 3) canalizar a raiva através de uma participação social.  Sem consenso fica difícil compreender.  A frustração resulta no atavismo e botar para quebrar numa rejeição sem resultado.  E se não há resultados e mudança, por que participar?  E assim a não participação acaba favorecendo os de cima e as coisas mudam só para ficar no mesmo.  KD a raiva?

Quando pergunto: KD a Raiva? Umas pessoas respondem que estão com vergonha, mas não com raiva.  Outros respondem que a raiva é da direita, ou seja, acham que a revolta contra a corrupção é coisa de um lado só.  Por trás, existe o pensamento que os pobres, os homossexuais ou os “diferentes” representam uma ameaça de alguma forma.  Os negros, as minorias sexuais e ate os religiosos se sentem perseguidos.  E todos recorrem para o estado paternal e patronal para verbas e socorro.  E aí continua todo mundo “bestializado” como bem descreveu meu mestre Prof. Jose Murilo de Carvalho.

KD a raiva?  KD a bendita raiva?

Hamilton – Musicial Drama and Brazil at the Edge

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Hamilton is the biggest hit musical in New York in quite awhile and I was lucky to get seats.  The story is a modern reinterpretation of the life of Alexander Hamilton told in rap with mainly Latin and black actors instead of the typical white guys that traditionally portray the US Founding Fathers.  The play ends with a member of the traditional elite, Aaron Burr, killing the upstart Hamilton in a duel.  However, Hamilton’s legacy prevails and the story with its idealism, ambition, demands for respect and show of hateful polarization obviously resonates today.  The author Lin Manuel Miranda, a genius playwright and immigrant, like Hamilton, wonderfully bridges the contemporary and historic with a delightful musical telling.

After watching the performance, the question that comes to mind has to do with Brazil’s elites and the ability to recreate a nation currently in deep crisis.  Among Brazil’s political class it seems almost impossible to identify anyone with stature.  (Perhaps the same could be said about the US.)  But, Brazil finds itself standing on a crumbling cliff with little time to back off.  Cumulatively over the past 10 to 15 years, the judiciary, police, the press and civil society have uncovered corruption that metastasized and now consumes the body politic.  Corruption, in and of itself, is a manifestation or symptom of a deeper malady.  And as ex-President Fernando Henrique Cardoso has said: the current political and party structure is finished.   The evil is really the ingrained weakness and passivity of civil society and the sad state of institutions charged with governing the country.  Unfortunately, people simply accept abuse as the norm and have gotten used to precarious state services and the lack of education, health and security.  In this, the Brazilian system has failed and society, in its notorious accommodation, has not adequately responded.

Hamilton and his cohorts fought to their death over honor, revolutionary ideals. The resulting hatred from the war of independence was deeply rooted.  Although Brazil has rarely fought anything, there is certainly a feeling of polarization.  The divisions are wide ranging between the haves and have nots. They involve race and the lack of most everything starting with basic education.  Brazil’s murder rates and the incidence of violence are comparable to civil war-torn countries; but still, Brazilians invariably portray themselves as optimists even if they are forced to deal with frustration.

Brazilian voters favor politicians who promise them gains from the state in the form of favors. Patrimonialism, paternalism, bureaucracy, state intervention, nationalization and appeal to national pride have all restricted and constrained the development of the market and the free flow of capital and labor.  Only private property holders and the privileged rentiers defend ownership tenaciously.

Brazil’s political and economic elite – both national or international – have always avoided competition and sought monopoly or oligopolistic control.  Owning the state, being embedded in the state or having the state guarantee prerequisites has always been the name of the game.  This is true even among the so-called “forças produtivas” (forces of production).  Sao Paulo’s industrial caste, organized as FIESP, continues to be a protectionist bastion even as it supports street demonstrations with patriotic shirts and plastic ducks against corruption.  Success, achievement and protection and defense of privilege pass through the state.

To work in Brazil, as an employer or as an employee is to partner with the state. Reform is expected to come from the state and in a top down fashion. In Brazil’s brand of crony state capitalism, it is hardly ironic to witness, 74-year-old President Temer, retired in his mid-fifties with a fat pension, to be the current leader of social security reform.   Civil society, in general, resists change but not so much because it is not needed.  Instead, resistance comes from the fear of loss of favors and benefits, no matter how precarious, with no promise of something better coming from above.  The fear, easily played upon, is that reform and a move away from a patrimonial state will only make things worse.  There is a tremendous and understandable dread of market forces and Brazilian society has never accepted a protestant work ethic.  And because the playing field has always been tilted toward the elite, why would it?

Brazil increasingly looks like a premodern mafia-run state where family based businesses and interconnecting oligopolies control the system of rewards and distribution including how parties form and how individuals get elected.  The revelation of the growth and depth of corruption seems to prove this.  However, this is not the whole story and there is hope and some reason for optimism.  Even after tanking for nearly three years, Brazil is still among the world’s top 10 economies.  It has resources, size, complexity, and sophistication.  It remains to be seen if an accord can be reached so to revive and achieve levels of wealth and production of which the country is capable.   To turn the corner and prevail, Brazil needs a constitutional reordering and this is becoming increasingly clear as a result of the current crisis and the more or less orderly and legal way it is working out.  Brazil may and likely will continue to muddle along.  However, it will not follow Venezuela’s path to populist authoritarian dictatorship.  Elections will be held next year and there is increasing consensus of the need for continuing the legal proceedings of the Lava Jato, the ongoing corruption probe started at Petrobras but which now involves virtually all levels of politics and business.  Brazil’s major obstacle is to continue the reforms that are haltingly moving along and to decide that it really wants to be a democratic and capitalist country.  Certainly, in this aspiration, there is room and need for the left and redistributive policy.   But society, as a whole, needs to recognize that the current model of crony state capitalism is broken beyond repair.

The generation born since the Plano Real was implemented (1994) is coming of age and increasingly recognizes, more clearly than their parents and grandparents, that it cannot rely on the state to provide employment and investment.   Idealistic, reform minded and egalitarian, Brazilian youth want to express and showcase their potential, their start-ups and talents. Perhaps, the Hamilton’s author, Lin Manuel Miranda, offers in rap and hip hop an example.  As a youth Miranda migrated from Puerto Rico to New York where with hard work, intelligence, patience and sharpness he created a personal success story with national repercussion.  Brazil, no less than New York, is a land of opportunity.  Although the moment seems to be one of despair where everything is falling apart, now may also be the time for rebuilding and a fresh start of a new generation.

Here is a link to the music on YouTube: [FULL LYRICS] “Hamilton: An American Musical” by Lin-Manuel …

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L’etat c’est moi – Elites & State in Brazil

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Brazil has gone from colony to empire to republic to authoritarian rule and now to a young, unstable and messy democracy.  While each stage has had its own historical uniqueness, each stage has seen the disproportionate weight of the state and related bureaucracy.  The extractive nature of the colonial economy, the centuries of slavery and the frustrated attempts at industrialization in the 19th century and the geo-political dependency of the country in the 20th century all reinforced the preponderance of the state over civil society as Brazil’s elites jockeyed more to preserve privilege instead of creating a vision or even a plan for the country.

Slavery, poverty, lack of education, lack of leadership, and an insular and insecure elite contribute to the weakness of Brazilian civil society.  By controlling the state, different governments have tended to the left or right but have been universal in using the state apparatus to co-opt and anticipate popular demands.  By providing a basic minimum of services and a narrative of hope to meet expectations, this top-heavy system has survived and grown.

The “worker” governments led by Lula, Rouseff and the PT (Workers’ Party) started with the ideal of  “capturing” the state apparatus to bring equality and a change in the relationship between the elites and the masses and between workers and owners.  Initially well intentioned, the PT succumbed to an ideology of taking power at any cost and to the Brazilian culture where power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  With the PT in control of the government, the already oversized apparatus became more bloated.  And while Lula’s signature program was Bolsa Familia, his major achievement was growing the economy while reducing inequality. Though Lula takes credit, much of the progress was due more to reaping the rewards of a stable currency and a favorable foreign trade scenario driven by China’s imports.   Lula was lucky for a while. But “Economic Take off” under the PT policies proved unsustainable.  Government expenses went through the ceiling as party expediency expanded state bureaus and allowed corruption to drive tremendous inefficiencies, while lining the pockets of a newly arrived elite.

In Brazil, as long as the economy can generate enough surplus to keep the state working and growing, no one complains.  Everyone is used to going to some state agency to seek or defend a right, a benefit, and a favor.  This habit is reflected in the “jeitinho” and the cordiality of society.  Access through friends, associates, godfathers, patrons, and “senhores de bem” has long smoothed and compensated conflicts and inequalities.  Unfortunately perhaps, as Brazil grew in size and economic activity, cordiality had to decline.  With a population of 200 million and a $2 trillion economy, access to the state apparatus through patronage and cordiality outstrips the capacity for providing sinecures.   Basic services in education, infra-structure, security and public health decline as a bloated bureaucracy becomes inefficient and hurts the workings of the market place through misallocation of capital, land and labor.  The state weighs down the economy.

Although the current recession was partially driven by the slow down in China and the drop of commodity prices, it is mainly the result of a lack of savings and productive investment by both the private and public sectors.  The public sector cannot afford to invest after paying pension and basic expenses, which are constitutionally set.  The private sector is in turn strangled by high interest rates driven by instability, risk and government borrowing.  Moreover, the government’s lack of resources further drives the increase of an already disproportionate tax burden that hits the poorest harder than the rich.  In the last generation or so, cordiality became promiscuous. Concupiscence was ultimately reflected in the corruption of construction companies and government interacting in what can be described, without exaggeration as a “swingers club bacchanal”.

To criticize the state in Brazil invites condemnation as being a neo-liberal, the infamous moniker hung upon the PSDB and other parties to Brazil’s center and right.  But these parties themselves are no strangers to corrupt comingling.  The problem is really in the origin, reinforcement and enhancement over the successive governmental orderings of the state. Corruption and the statist mentality thus touches all groups left, right and center.

If everyone depends on the state, this stunts civil society and negatively impacts the role of the citizen.  It is interesting to witness that “grass roots” social movements such as the MST and MBL depend not on individuals for support but rather NGO’s that are supported by the government, international coalitions and/or elite party machinery.  Since access to the patron is reduced or increasingly limited, those who benefit seek to protect themselves typically as a caste and lobby entrenched in the state.  The current struggle over pension reform exemplifies the problem.  Those in the military, the federal bureaucracy, and the state administrations understand that they have “acquired rights” and argue that these rights are untouchable through constitutional protection.

Cristiano Romero recently described the situation: “Nobody should doubt the strength of public-sector special interests in Brazil. Many civil servants do not see the government as the representation of a politically organized society; they, the workers, are the state. It belongs to them. Like at many other state-run companies, employees think they “own” them.” (Valor Econômico 27 Mar 2017)

It would be nice to believe that new technologies such as social media unlock a greater role for action independent of the state.  Still interaction on social media will be insufficient if it is not associated with a material base.  Private and individual initiative (with state support?) in the market must generate value and surplus, which in turn can be partially redirected to reforming the political structure.  The problem is overcoming the structure currently in place and those who maintain the status quo.  From this perspective, the problem is not just the current government.  Instead, the problem goes much deeper than “Fora Temer” and is, perhaps, unsolvable in the short term.