Our (very late) September / October 2021 issue is finally out! We have common cover articles on Brazil’s economic and political crisis; one of them, by James M. Cypher and Guillermo Foladori, “Brazil’s Ten-Year Downward Spiral”, is published here. The table of contents for the issue is here. And here is p. 2 editorial note:
Crisis or collapse?
There was talk in early September of an attempted coup in Brazil – or at least some sort of insurgency like the U.S. Capitol coup on January 6 – when President Jair Bolsonaro called on his supporters to gather, one million strong, on September 7th. Independence Day in Brasilia and march in front of the Supreme Court. The attempt failed by far, with a crowd of around 100,000 Bolsonaro protesters, and with many more counter-protesters and no breaches of the Supreme Court building, according to the Brasil Wire website (brasilwire.com). Our joint cover articles in this issue show why the political and economic situation in Brazil and the fortunes of its President’s regime appear so volatile.
James M. Cypher and Guillermo Foladori trace the 10-year downward spiral of the Brazilian economy from the peak of pro-poor policies of the Workers’ Party (PT) to falling economic indicators and the ravages of Covid- 19 under Bolsonaro. Neoliberal austerity and the power of the oligarchic agricultural lobby are the main culprits, as well as Bolsonaro’s “”[e]unruly, incompetent and impulsive leadership ”. Whether his deviations from the advice of his neoliberal economy minister, Paulo Guedes, stop the downward economic spiral and which factions of the ruling class continue to support him, may determine whether he remains in power, legally or not.
Meanwhile, Débora Nunes tells the story of Ford’s departure from Brazil after more than a century of exploitation, and what it shows of the multisectoral deindustrialisation the country has experienced. Right-wing commentators want to blame the flight of capital on the so-called “Brazilian cost” – the alleged burden of regulations, taxes, high wages and overly generous benefits. Yet under post-PT regimes that cut taxes, regulations, wages, and benefits, deindustrialization accelerated. It seems that whatever its rhetoric about stimulating growth, the main effects of neoliberalism are destructive and redistributive, from the bottom up.
The themes of growing inequality, the concentration of economic power, and right-wing seizures will sound familiar to American readers. In this issue, our columnists John Miller and Arthur MacEwan discuss the inequalities and concentration of power at the heart of the US economy. Miller covers ProPublica’s recent report on tax evasion at the top of the income ladder, and how the injustice of the tax code, shaped by the very rich, allows billionaires to shelter and escape. increase their wealth. MacEwan explains why people aren’t more upset by the country’s vast inequalities, even when they are aware of it. The main problem is the acceptance of the myths of fair markets and social mobility. So beyond raising taxes on the rich, we need to debunk these myths and show people how vast inequalities perpetuate the issues they care about, like our tattered and expensive healthcare system, the climate change and inequalities in education.
Ever-growing inequality has helped consolidate and focus corporate control over the US economy. The financial sector is a perfect example. The third feature article in this issue, written by public banking activist Rick Girling, describes an alternative approach to banking that can “challenge the control of unelected and irresponsible investment bank executives over the financial system. from the country “.
Save this date!
On Tuesday, October 26 at 8:00 p.m. EDT, Dollars & Sense will host a screening and panel discussion of Mary Filippo’s film “My Mis-Education in 3 Graphics”.
The film, which was commented on by Tim Koechlin in our November / December 2020 issue, “… documents the filmmaker’s dark and humorous journey through the breathtaking constructions of the traditional economy.” The event will be held online and will include a question-and-answer session with the filmmaker and panelists.
For more information on the film, visit my-mis-education-in-3-graphics.org. For more information on the event and how to attend, visit dollarsandsense.org/mymiseducation.