sexta-feira, 29 de março de 2013

Palavras do Papa Francisco ao final da Via Cruz no Coliseu

Amados irmãos e irmãs,
Agradeço-vos por terdes participado, em tão grande número, neste momento de intensa oração. E agradeço também a todos aqueles que se uniram a nós através dos meios de comunicação, especialmente aos doentes e aos idosos.
Não quero acrescentar muitas palavras. Nesta noite, deve permanecer uma única palavra, que é a própria Cruz. A Cruz de Jesus é a Palavra com que Deus respondeu ao mal do mundo. Às vezes parece-nos que Deus não responda ao mal, que permaneça calado. Na realidade, Deus falou, respondeu, e a sua resposta é a Cruz de Cristo: uma Palavra que é amor, misericórdia,perdão. É também julgamento: Deus julga amando-nos. Se acolho o seu amor, estou salvo; se o recuso, estou condenado, não por Ele, mas por mim mesmo, porque Deus não condena, Ele unicamente ama e salva.
Amados irmãos, a palavra da Cruz é também a resposta dos cristãos ao mal que continua a agir em nós e ao nosso redor. Os cristãos devem responder ao mal com o bem, tomando sobre si a cruz, como Jesus. Nesta noite, ouvimos o testemunho dos nossos irmãos do Líbano: foram eles que prepararam estas belas meditações e preces. De coração lhes agradecemos por este serviço e sobretudo pelo testemunho que nos dão. Vimo-lo quando o Papa Bento foi ao Líbano: vimos a beleza e a força da comunhão dos cristãos naquela Nação e da amizade de tantos irmãos muçulmanos e muitos outros . Foi um sinal para todo o Médio Oriente e para o mundo inteiro: um sinal de esperança. Então continuemos esta Via-Sacra na vida de todos os dias. Caminhemos juntos pela senda da Cruz, caminhemos levando no coração esta Palavra de amor e de perdão. Caminhemos esperando a Ressurreição de Jesus.


quinta-feira, 28 de março de 2013

The Art of Making Magazines(resenha)

Adoro ler revistas. Antes comprava nas bancas e tinha que esperar meses por algumas das minhas favoritas publicadas nos Estados Unidos, França e Reino Unido. Varias, que lia quando estava em Oxford, não se encontravam nas bancas brasileiras e tinha que recorrer a assinaturas e a espera, não raro, era ainda maior: o correio americano, por ex, é um desastre; com o brasileiro, felizmente, nunca tive problemas. Com o Ipad e o Kindle, finalmente, tenha acesso rapido a todas elas e um novo problema: arrumar tempo para ler todas. O artigo-resenha, abaixo é sobre este meu vicio e estou me controlando para não comprar o livro que seguramente somente poderei ler nas férias de julho.

If you're reading this, it's a safe bet you read magazines. Technically, you may even be reading one now—though I'm not sure if really qualifies. The ".com" might denote precisely what isn't Bookforum. I'm typing onto a computer screen; you're reading from one. No trees have been killed. Are we in a magazine? I'm asking because I don't honestly know.

For now, let's say we aren't. If a magazine still is what it's been for almost three centuries—an ink-on-paper "storehouse" of writing, published on a regular schedule—then the "media industrial revolution" (to use Tina Brown's awkward phrase) is surely in the process of rendering many of our magazines obsolete. Seen historically, The Art of Making Magazines—a collection of twelve lectures by esteemed editors, proofreaders, designers, and writers delivered over the last decade to graduate students at the Columbia School of Journalism—may have barely made its deadline. (Future versions might be titled something like The Lost Art of…)

The book jacket promises a "rare, behind-the-scenes look" at how magazines work, paired with guidance about "how to parlay an entry-level position into a masthead title." But I would promote this anthology a little differently.

Although it certainly offers outsiders a "peek" inside the industry, with practical gems and gossipy nuggets scattered throughout, the anthology's main contribution isn't literary voyeurism or career advice, but almost the reverse. By inviting prominent magazine-makers to step out from behind their desks and talk openly about concerns they share (or want to share) with their readers, editors Victor Navasky (Chair of the Columbia Journalism Review) and Evan Cornog (dean of the School of Communication at Hofstra University) have assembled a book that helps us reflect on what's actually a very public matter. By making what they call "not a how-to book, but… a how-to-think-about-it-book," they help us look at something we've probably been taking for granted: What is a magazine?

This question is often answered by describing the idiosyncrasies of print-magazine culture. If newspapers represent frenzied group-work and books are a slow, singular endeavor, then magazines offer a fertile middle ground. The late John Gregory Dunne starts the book's extended tribute to slower journalism by emphasizing what a great writer can bring to what might otherwise be mere reporting: an ability and inclination to address not just the who, what, where, when, and how—but the why.

Of course, the writer gets the byline, but they also get a lot of support. Robert Gottlieb notes that he strongly prefers a magazine's in-house copy editors, fact-checkers, and proofreaders to the freelance arrangements made in the book world. So much so that Gottlieb's favorite part of working at the New Yorker (which he edited from 1987-92) was an often crazy-making ritual wherein the legendary Eleanor Gould's proofs would be painstakingly reconciled with the copyeditor's proof, the checker's proof, the assigning editor's proof, the writer's proof, and the editor-in-chief's own proof. (Gottlieb refers to the process as a "fantasy of accuracy.") Glowing tributes to the New Yorker abound. In another chapter, Peter Canby, who now heads their famous fact-checking department, even proposes a "fact-checking theory of lit-crit," which states that original research plus rigorous interrogation of details and logic "not only gives the magazine its credibility, but also imparts a distinctive quality to the New Yorker prose."

Even so, this kind of editorial teamwork doesn't mean much if magazines don't maintain a unique and evolving connection with their readers. If books are bought out of singular interest and daily newspapers out of duty, then magazines establish a bond that has to be renewed—both literally and figuratively—on a regular basis. Editorial rituals therefore involve a constant courtship of subscribers, whose interests and standards magazines must at once share and subtly craft. At Seventeen, which is read by one in two teenage American girls, we learn that two full-time editors are tasked solely with responding to (often heartbreaking) letters from readers. A differently intimate arrangement presides at National Journal: Its 5,000 subscribers were apparently unfazed when annual rates jumped from $1,100 to $1,500—such is their commitment. Of course, this fealty goes both ways. On a commission for Playboy, Michael Kelly toured the country's burgeoning sex circuit, diligently describing the "sad men… engaged in a kind of dismal and pathetic pursuit," only to find out that the magazine had a specific word for such people: "our readers." Gourmet, for its part, faced crisis upon discovering that their enviably steady subscriber numbers actually meant they were fatally tied to an aging readership. (Ruth Reichl did her best, but they closed in 2009.)

Still other threats challenge the relationship between magazines and their readers. Chronicling the sad rise of the advertorial (where promotional material masquerades as reporting), Harper's publisher John MacArthur warns: "You should be greatly concerned by the notion that press freedom nowadays hangs not by a stout cord between publisher and reader, but rather by a more tenuous thread connecting advertisers and the media." And he would know: Pfizer withdrew "between $400,000 and a million dollars" worth of ads from Harper's because of an unflattering piece on depression medication. His magazine got by, but MacArthur is quick to point out that many others wouldn't survive such a blow. Nothing summarizes this predicament better than the grim binary of his chapter's title, "The Publisher's Role: Crusading Defender of the First Amendment or Advertising Salesman?"

Publishing regularly (and to any kind of standard) has always involved a complex alchemy, but the Internet's many free alternatives obviously endanger an already-delicate business model. Once an unchallenged means for establishing an invisible, implicit community of readers, magazines now compete with a vast proliferation of blogs, chat rooms, aggregators, subreddits, and social media. Several lecturers fret over the magazine's future in this environment, but if you believe Felix Dennis—who has made "hundreds of millions of dollars" publishing fifty magazines, most notably Maxim (a "lad mag") and The Week (a news aggregator)—the Internet is merely "the revenge of the reader." He assures his young listeners that "journalists, writers, and editors will still be employed at vastly inflated salaries" even when publishers, national distributors, and printing companies go under, because "talent, allied to craft, rules."

Neatly hidden in that "allied to craft," however, is the complex story this book's other contributors painstakingly unfold: how magazine writing is always allied to invaluable crafts like editing, fact-checking, design, fundraising, and marketing—and how that communal talent is, in turn, connected to a culture, and an economy, of paper.

Which brings us back to my original question: Are we currently in a magazine?

I think we're partly out of the cocoon, peeking around. Most magazines circa 2013 are both made of paper and not, so it's an awkward phase, with a lot of format confusion, content appropriation, and money problems. At the same time, it's a period of great innovation, with independent magazines, zines, and digital-only ventures getting more working space and often breathing life into the scene. This book leaves out those voices, but focusing on big magazines provides usefully broad hindsight on both the glories and limitations of the paper-bound age. As we navigate an ever-more-pixillated publishing landscape, we should work to preserve, and even improve, the best aspects of print culture. But when it comes to magazines, we'll also have to let a lot of it go, like last month's issue. It's bittersweet, to be sure, but such is the life of periodicals.

Dushko Petrovich


quarta-feira, 27 de março de 2013

Ato falho..

Dilma, na Africa, afirmou que "esse receituário que quer matar o doente em vez de acabar com a doença é meio complicado. Vou acabar com o crescimento? Isso está datado. É uma política superada". O mercado, em polvorosa, traduziu a declaração como sendo uma manifestação, pública, da oposição presidencial a elevação dos juros. Cá entre nós: ela por acaso disse alguma novidade? Ate os paralelipedos das ruas de Perdizes conhecem a tese dilmista, ou melhor, neo-desenvolvimentista: crescimento com um pouco de inflação é melhor que inflação baixa sem crescimento econômico. Por isto, como já comentamos, em outro post, o esforçado Tombini vai ter que gastar muita saliva pra convence-la que em uma economia com passado da brasileira, não se brinca com inflação. A Dilma, graduada pela UFRS sabia disto, mas parece que o período passado no Campo de Minas, a convenceu que é possivel reinventar a roda. Infelizmente, ela está errada. Não fosse a mudança - correta - no calculo do indice de inflação e o adiamento de alteração de algumas tarifas, a inflação já teria superado a meta.
O mercado, que antes apostava em alta de juros, agora acredita que ela se manterá inalterada. Sempre achei este palpite infeliz e fruto do desejo ou melhor expressão do autoengano que já se tornou uma tradição no mercado do grande bananão. Politico não comete suicidio político e por isto, por enquanto, nada indica que a Presidenta esta disposta a abrir mão de um grande mote de campanha: a Presidente que derrubou os juros.

terça-feira, 26 de março de 2013

Why Russia refused to bail out Cyprus

Bremmer detalha as razões que levaram a Russia a não socorrer Chipre. O argumento central é semelhante ao que apresentei em post esta semana, mas ele é mais otimista em relação ao futuro da relação entre a ilha e os russos.

First, it was Cyprus’s potential eurozone exit and the contagion that would cause. Next it was the prospect of a Moscow-led bailout that would transform Cyprus into a Russian beachhead. Then there was talk of revenge, with a former Kremlin adviser, Alexander Nekrassov, warning if there were a large levy on wealthy Russian depositors, “then, of course Moscow will be looking for ways to punish the EU.”
Such a levy has now come to pass. An 11th hour deal spearheaded by Germany has left Russia on the sidelines—and wealthy Russian depositors in Cyprus’s two largest banks holding much of the bag. By not leading the bailout, Russia had a lot to lose: with more foreign direct investment coming into Russia from Cyprus than from any other country, the island is Russia’s most important tax haven. The Cyprus bailout effectively ends Cyprus’s stint as a hub for Russian money—and leaves much of that money frozen via capital controls. There was plenty to gain by stepping in: in return for Russian assistance, Cyprus was offering access to offshore gas deposits or a warm-water port. (Russia’s main point of access to the Mediterranean sea is through ports in Syria — an investment that appears increasingly shaky.)
All of this underscores how unwilling Moscow was to lead. Indeed, Russia will continue to be far less likely to get involved than is widely assumed.
Economics explains some of this reluctance. Moscow is under real pressure, with a budgetary process that is only getting rockier, and rising unemployment. The notion of a Cyprus deal was never going to fly for the Kremlin, as it was largely perceived as throwing good money after bad. Rather, the Russians are — as the Chinese have been doing in Greece — waiting for select assets at a bargain price. It is a “buy low” approach and it is a safe bet that Cypriot assets will become more affordable.
There were also political motives staying Vladimir Putin’s hand. In his State of the Union address in December, Mr Putin emphasised his “deoffshorisation” program, declaring: “The offshore nature of Russia’s economy has become a household term. Experts call this escaping the jurisdiction. We need a comprehensive system of measures for the deoffshorization of our economy.” Against this backdrop, bailing out offshore accounts would have been quite awkward. The wealthy Russians who he would be bailing out are one of his most loyal constituencies: they are thorough Putinists, and the current political landscape offers them no other outlet for their allegiance. When it comes to broader domestic opinion, any other Russians who were actually paying attention to the issue likely approved of Mr Putin’s performance. He was vocal in his protests against any plan that would hit Russian depositors but when the time came, he walked away from the table.
But what about those Cypriot assets? They came with untenable strings attached. The Cypriot gas fields have unproven volumes and carry territorial disputes with Turkey, a headache Mr Putin does not need. A warm-water port in Cyprus could have led to a geopolitical spat with the EU, which he has every reason to avoid.
And it is that desire to avoid a deeper confrontation with the EU that makes any talk of Russian retribution at the EU’s expense highly unlikely. Yes, the relationship will be hurt -the Russian elite blames the EU for procrastinating before addressing the crisis and for shortchanging its interests — but the damage will be contained. As far as we can tell at this stage, the outcome could have been worse for Russia had all Cypriot banks been targeted, rather than just two. Russia’s largest trading partner remains the EU; Moscow is dependent on revenues from gas sales to Europe. The bottom line: Moscow has far more to lose than gain from aggressively reacting to the crisis. Mr Putin seems well aware of this, telling his government to begin talks on restructuring Russia’s €2.5bn loan to Cyprus.

Ian Bremmer

Fonte: FT

segunda-feira, 25 de março de 2013

Era uma vez uma lavanderia...

O establishment político cipriota bem que tentou defender os interesses dos não residentes em detrimento dos interesses dos residentes. Passaram o pires, sem sucesso, em Moscou e com o rabo entre as pernas foram obrigados a aceitar a proposta original do FMI e do Governo Alemão que impõe perdas pesadas aos correntistas com montante acima dos 100.000 euros. O segundo maior banco será dividido em banco bom e banco pobre, com o primeiro sendo transferido para o maior banco, o Banco de Chipre, e o segundo, os depositos sem seguros( acima dos 100.000), cerca de 4.2 bilhões de euros congelados e provavelmente expropiados. Especula-se que boa parte dele é de propriedade dos russos. Os depositos sem seguros do Banco de Chipre também serão submetidos a um significativo hair cut, já que o 10 bi do bail out não poderá ser usado para recapitalizar o banco. Em outras palavras, os acionistas, proprietários de titulos e correntistas com valores não segurados serão os unicos responsaveis pela recapitalização do banco. Em linguagem sem firulas: uma porrada daquelas no sistema bancário de Chipre e fechamento definitivo da lavanderia favorita dos russos.

Se isto não fosse o suficiente. O lider do grupo de ministros de finanças da zona do euro, que negociou o acordo, mandou um duro recado para os outros paises da zona do euro com setor financeiro dezenas de vezes superior ao tamanho do seu PIB: coloquem a casa em ordem que o modelo usado em Chipre é o novo paradigma pra solucionar este tipo de problema em todos os paises da zona do euro. Em outras palavras, Chipre foi o porquinho da india e como o experimento parece ter sido um sucesso, será replicado, se necessário, em outros países.

O custo da brincadeira para os cipriotas deverá ser bem doloroso: contração brutal da economia nos próximos anos e busca desesperada por uma nova fonte de crescimento econômico, já que a lavanderia era a base de sua economia e mesmo em um cenário otimista em que ela seria transformada em um sistema financeiro moderno e bem regulamentado, não teria o tamanho necessário para sustentar a economia cipriota. O turismo poderia ser uma alternativa, mas com a perda imposta aos russos, é dificil imagina-los passando o verão na ilha. A exploração do gás oferece maiores possibilidades, mas antes tem que resolver problemas legais com outros candidatos a proprietários.

A situação, no momento, está sobre controle, mas ainda há pelo menos uma incognita: qual será a reação dos correntistas no momento que o controle de capitais, instituido pelo governo, for abolido? Fuga de capitais? Se isto ocorrer qual será o impacto sobre a Italia e a Espanha?

sexta-feira, 22 de março de 2013

Cyprus: A poor diagnosis, a bitter pill

Excelente trabalho de reportagem sobre a crise cipriota. A análise, contudo, poderia ser bem melhor.

After days of anger and worry about the safety of their savings, hundreds of Cypriot protesters gathered outside the parliament in Nicosia on Tuesday. They waved Russian flags and shouted “out with the troika” – a reference to the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank, the reviled threesome responsible for negotiating eurozone bailouts.
The EU leaders who had spent all night in talks to produce Cyprus’s ill-fated bailout plan – a plan that would have been paid for in part by a levy on ordinary citizens’ bank deposits – had seen much worse. In Athens, there had been riots and tear gas.
Yet despite three years of battling one crisis after another, the officials had still managed to misread the situation. They were wrong about Cyprus and its brand of politics.
They thought the island had elected another Antonis Samaras, the centre-right prime minister of Greece who became a champion of his country’s tough austerity-laden bailout when he was elected last June. But this was no Greece.
Instead, they were dealing with Nicos Anastasiades, a lawyer and career politician who had assumed the country’s presidency just two weeks earlier. Like many in Cyprus, he has ties to Russian interests – his family law practice has two Russian billionaires on its books. And other members of the Cypriot governing class felt pressure to protect the country’s banking sector, which counts Russians among its most important customers.
Failing to grasp the depth of such ties would prove a fatal blind spot. “The discussion in Cyprus was not about small savers,” says a senior German official. “It was about people who fly in Lear jets.”
By the end of the week there would be 13 private jets belonging to Russian owners of Cypriot companies parked at Larnaca international airport, ready to decamp with millions held in the two main banks. Cyprus has long been a popular tax haven for Russian businessmen, legitimate and not.
During the bailout talks that had begun the previous Friday night, Mr Anastasiades had threatened to storm out of the meeting with the IMF, EU and other officials at least twice. At one point he declared: “My country is not going to commit suicide,” recalls a person in the room.
And yet officials thought they could still make clear to the Cypriots what was at stake if he did not strike a deal. Jörg Asmussen, an ECB executive board member, matter-of-factly explained that if Mr Anastasiades decided to leave without a deal, the ECB would be forced to cut off the emergency low-cost loans that were keeping alive Laiki Bank, Cyprus’s second largest and its most troubled. If Laiki failed, Mr Asmussen said, Bank of Cyprus, the country’s largest financial institution, would likely go down with it. All savings in the island’s banks would be wiped out.
It was with that “pistol to the head” that Mr Anastasiades and his team would return to an uncertain fate in Nicosia. Just before the parliamentary vote on Tuesday, after eurozone officials urged the Cypriot government to modify the bank levy so it would fall exclusively on deposits above €100,000, EU officials had convinced themselves that Mr Anastasiades would not put his country at risk to protect wealthy holders of big bank accounts.
“I was thinking until an hour before it actually happened: it’s all a bluff,” a senior eurozone official who had been part of the negotiations says of the posturing by Mr Anastasiades. “He’ll turn around and instruct his party to vote for it after all. He wouldn’t be going to vote if he hadn’t made sure the desired outcome was there.”
More importantly, officials assumed Mr Anastasiades, having just three days earlier signed up to the deal – which controversially included seizing the €5.8bn from Cypriot bank accounts – would use his recent victory at the polls as political capital to ram the package through.
“Right up to the morning or midday, we thought: ‘It’s a presidential system’,” says another senior eurozone official who had negotiated directly with Mr Anastasiades. “He only puts a bill [before parliament] if it’s going to pass. We thought he’d take some time to negotiate with other parties. The moment we knew he was going to a vote, we knew it was over.”
This error of judgment could have vital consequences for the eurozone. Cyprus’s rejection of the deal has resurrected fears that the three-year-old eurozone crisis, dormant for more than seven months, is on the verge of spinning back out of control.
Although Cyprus only burst into world consciousness this week, its financial crisis has festered since the island was first cut off from international financial markets two years ago. Confidants of Angela Merkel said late last year that when she was asked about her biggest concerns in the eurozone, the German chancellor – despite upheaval in Italy and Spain – had given a one-word answer: Cyprus.
“Conceptually and policy-wise, this is more challenging than the Greek package,” says one senior EU official. “The size of the country does not correspond with the size of the problem.”
. . .
Senior US officials have quietly urged the IMF to backtrack from its hardline stance over “bailing-in” – or forcing losses on – Cypriot account holders. Eurozone officials acknowledge they have been planning for a possible Cypriot exit from the single currency. Leaders openly admit they have no idea where the solution lies.
“There are a lot of people in Europe who are just scared [and] would happily throw some money at the problem to make it go away for a few weeks,” says one official directly involved in the talks. “But the other possibility is they leave [the euro].”
In many ways, Cyprus presented the worst parts of other eurozone bailouts combined. Its banking collapse was on the scale of Ireland’s, and it entered the crisis with debt levels as high as Portugal’s. Like Greece, its economy was dysfunctional, reliant almost exclusively on its outsized financial sector for economic activity.
As if that toxic mixture were not enough, leaders had to deal with another very large wild card: the Kremlin. As far back as November 2011, Olli Rehn, the EU’s top economic official, had first privately suggested the option of a bailout to the finance minister of the previous Cypriot leader, Demetris Christofias. The president late that year won a €2.5bn loan from Moscow to put off the day of reckoning with Brussels.
This time, EU and IMF leaders wanted to be sure things were different. On the sidelines of the Group of 20 finance ministers’ meeting last month in Moscow, a high-ranking group met secretly with Anton Siluanov, the Russian finance minister, to sound him out on Cyprus. They wanted the Kremlin to help Nicosia by restructuring their €2.5bn loan – extending its repayments and lowering its interest rate – but they also wanted to know whether the Russians wanted to take over either Laiki or Bank of Cyprus.
An additional loan was of no help, the delegation told Mr Siluanov, since it would simply add to Cyprus’s debt level, and getting Nicosia’s sovereign debt down to 100 per cent of gross domestic product by 2020 had become a core reason for keeping the size of the bailout to €10bn. But a Russian takeover of Laiki, which had long been rumoured, was a different matter, since it would give Russian investors an ownership stake without adding to Cyprus’s debt levels.
However, according to one person in the room, Mr Siluanov was clear: he was willing to renegotiate the €2.5bn loan, but there was no interest in giving Nicosia more aid or in urging Russian banks to take over Laiki.
Just to be doubly sure, days before Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutchman who chairs the committee of all 17 eurozone finance ministers, convened his counterparts in Brussels to bang out a deal on Friday night, he asked Mr Rehn to call Mr Siluanov once more. “Our Russian colleagues were very explicit: ‘We don’t want one of those banks’,” says one official.
The back channels to the Kremlin would prove useful when, after the bailout package was rejected on Tuesday, Michael Sarris, the Cypriot finance minister, flew to Moscow in an attempt to secure an alternative to the EU-IMF programme. One eurozone official says even as Mr Sarris was locked in back-to-back meetings and prime minister Dmitry Medvedev was publicly railing against EU leaders, accusing them of acting like “an elephant in a china shop”, he had received word from Russian officials that no help would be in the offing.
In fact, the biggest dispute was within the troika itself. The IMF, convinced it would not repeat the mistakes of the Greek bailout, was determined to have a programme that kept Cyprus’s debt manageable and cut its bloated banking system down to size.
Backed by Berlin, it proposed what came to be known as the “bail-in” or “Icelandic Solution” – to merge Laiki and Bank of Cyprus; create a new bank with all insured deposits under €100,000 and capitalised with Cypriot government and bailout funding; and put everything else in a “bad bank”. That meant large depositors, including many Russians, would have their holdings put into the bad bank and cut by anywhere from 20 to 40 per cent. But it also meant cutting the bailout’s €17bn price tag in half.
The European Commission, backed by Mr Asmussen of the ECB and Thomas Wieser, the Austrian who heads a committee of eurozone finance ministry deputies that sets the course of all bailout debates, was worried that the hit on large depositors would cause more problems than it solved, panicking investors, sparking a bank run and devastating the Cypriot economy.
The fighting between the IMF and the commission became nasty in the run-up to Friday’s meeting. The Commission, says one participant in the stand-off, was viewed by Berlin as “always spending other people’s money”. The IMF, on the other hand, was using “a small island economy as a test ground”, says a member of the rival camp. “The positions became locked at some point,” says another official involved.
In an effort to derail the IMF and German plan, the commission side devised the idea of the levy, which it felt would be less onerous than the “full bail-in”, particularly if Berlin could be persuaded to accept other forms of revenue, such as new taxes and pension fund contributions, as ways to reduce the €17bn price tag.
But the stand-off between the IMF and the commission continued. Mr Dijsselbloem decided that he had to call the eurogroup into session to finalise a deal.
“They had been farting around for months,” says one person sympathetic to Mr Dijsselbloem. “They would never, ever come together. We had to light a stick of dynamite and say: it’s burning.” As the all-night talks wore on, the bail-in and levy camps dug in. Wolfgang Schäuble, the blunt German finance minister, infuriated the Cypriots by his dogged pursuit of upfront savings; nearly everyone was put off by Mr Anastasiades’ emotional reactions and the strain in his relationship with the respected Mr Sarris.
Early in the evening, Mr Schäuble gave in on the levy. It was Mr Anastasiades, with some urging from Mr Rehn to keep the top rate below 10 per cent to prevent massive capital outflow, who set the rates.
. . .
Despite the subsequent outrage, and Mr Anastasiades’ disavowal of the deal, the doors are rapidly closing on Nicosia. First, the ECB said it would cut its lifeline of emergency loans on Monday if a deal were not reached by then.
Then the Kremlin announced what officials already knew privately: it was not coming to the rescue. Finally, the troika said on Friday that the Cypriot counter-offer – an amalgam of previous ideas with others that had been already rejected – was insufficient. Mr Anastasiades seemed to be back where he began the week: accept the deal struck last weekend or face the decimation of his banks and, in all likelihood, a euro exit.
“In contingency planning, every option is always there,” one eurozone official who has been in regular contact with Nicosia says when asked if Cyprus could leave the euro. “I do not believe it will happen, but if they do not have a programme by Monday morning agreed with us …”
His voice trailed off, unwilling to express the consequences of failure.

Peter Spiegel, Kerin Hope and Quentin Peel

Fonte: FT

quinta-feira, 21 de março de 2013

Berlin is right to say no gain without pain

Leitura interessante, ainda que pessimista da crise cipriota. Ele tem toda razão em relação a dificuldade alemã em evitar o papel de vilão nas crises da zona do euro,apesar de , na maioria, das vezes adotar a posição com melhor fundamento econômico. ...

he Germans are as right on Cyprus as they were on the rest of the eurozone’s “peripheral countries”: no discipline, no help. Yet as so often before, they manage to land themselves in the wrong. The reason is not necessarily Teutonic clumsiness in the manner of Kaiser Wilhelm, who always pushed the wrong buttons in Europe from 1890 onward. The big and mighty always get into trouble, just by being what they are.
Nobody really knows who did what to whom over the weekend, when the Cyprus deal – which envisaged bank customers on the island parting with 6 to 10 per cent of their deposits – was cooked up.
Forget reports that it was the Cypriots themselves who said all depositors should take a hit. Never mind that Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, had originally swung the biggest hatchet, demanding to lop off 30, even 40 per cent in excess of €100,000. But they all agree that the Germans are to blame, fingering Wolfgang Schäuble, Berlin’s finance minister, as the villain of the piece.
“He put enormous pressure” on the Cyprus president, reported an anonymous participant; “it was really ugly”. What Mr Schäuble reaped was not pretty, either. First, the parliament rejected the deal without a single opposing vote. Then, a miraculous metamorphosis unfolded. Cyprus, that cesspool of profligacy and haven for tax-dodging Russian oligarchs, was recast overnight as the home of pitiable pensioners and savers. Third, the Russians waded in, with President Vladimir Putin castigating the levy as “unfair, unprofessional and dangerous”. Watch the Bosphorus for approaching Russian warships.
How will it all end? As Yogi Berra put it: “It’s déjà vu all over again.” The European game goes like this: Angela Merkel draws lines in the sand; then she vacates them, breaks a few treaties, and lets the European Central Bank take over, though Mario Draghi, its president, is demonstratively dragging his heels.
Germany is trapped. If it does not relent there is the risk that Nicosia declares a default, possibly bolting from the euro. That in itself may not count for much. Cyprus is a tiny sliver of the EU economy. But think of the ramifications. Millions of panicked savers start a run on their banks from Lisbon to Athens, bringing down an edifice that has been barely propped up by ECB and the various European bailout funds, unleashing a broad-scale attack by the markets. Auf Wiedersehen, euro.
If Berlin opens the sluice gates it rewards moral hazard – plenty of it in the case of Cyprus. The country’s banking sector is eight times the size of its gross domestic product. Having invested the bulk of their deposits in Greek bonds, the island’s banks took the biggest hit – as percentage of GDP – when Athens imposed a haircut on bondholders. The banks had to beg for government help.
Nor was the Greek gambit the only problem. As in Spain, cheap money had inflated a huge property bubble.
Governments in Spain, Portugal and Greece, but also in Italy and France, having seen that Cyprus has been saved will pause painful and unpopular budget-cutting and market reforms. They will calculate that if little Cyprus got away with it then so can they given their critical mass.
As a result, the worst angst of the Germans will come true: the enshrinement of a dysfunctional currency area that was folly to begin with. How could “Club Med” and “Club North” ever mesh – the former spendthrift and uncompetitive, the latter reformist and efficient. It hasn’t, the euro crisis shows.
In the run-up to currency union, the Germans thought they could coax Club Med into fiscal and microeconomic probity. Those hopes have been dashed. But Berlin – and its small band of followers from Vienna to Helsinki – must prevail, unless they resign themselves to bleeding for the greater good forever. Understandably, the Germans loathe being asked to choose between losing the euro or their hard-earned riches.
Hence a Merkel-Schäuble policy that wields the whip while handing out carrots. This year the old game comes with a new risk, called “general elections”. So don’t count on excessive generosity until the autumn, after the German election.
Among voters, fear is being compounded by anger. “Why should we lavish our money on the wayward if they vilify us as latter-day Nazis?” the vox populi growls, adding: “Hang tough, Frau Merkel.” Ever so attuned to the country’s mood, the chancellor will be a bit keener to go to the brink this year.
It is tough to be Germany – the country in the middle that has always been too strong for Europe, but too weak to dominate it. But the power rivalry within the continent, after 60 years of closer union, is insipidly peaceful.
So tabloid attacks on Berlin, evoking yesterday’s demons, are off the mark. For the biggest game has changed. There is a world of difference between the Europe of Kaiser Wilhelm and Frau Merkel, between Panzer armies and currency reserves. Compared to the last 500 years, this is sheer bliss – give or take a few haircuts.

Josef Joffe

Fonte: FT

The writer is editor of Die Zeit and a fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University

quarta-feira, 20 de março de 2013

Esperando pelos russos...

Nada mais patetico que o comportamento cipriota: recusaram a proposta da troica e agora batem na porta dos russos, esperando que eles cumpram o papel do cavaleiro branco que resgataria a donzela do malfeitor alemão e de seus aliados que insistem em pedir a contribuição dos correntistas cipriotas para o bail e out e, pior ainda, em fechar a lavanderia russa. A igreja ortodoxa, maior proprietária de terras na ilha e com participação minoritaria no terceiro banco cipriota, colocou seus bens a disposição do governo para usa-los como garantia de empréstimos para salvar os bancos da patria ameaçada. Ela o faz, naturalmente, com as melhores das intenções, mas parece não perceber que a proposta original da troica era tributar somente as contas acima de 100.000. A tributação de contas abaixo deste valor era uma demanda dos políticos cipriotas, mais preocupados em proteger os não residentes - leia-se russos - que os correntistas residentes.Esta é a grande ironia da infeliz opera bufa em cartaz nesta agradável ilha dividida entre gregos e turcos: a defesa dos interesses estrangeiros e dos seus aliados políticos , em detrimento dos interesses da maioria dos cipriotas que não tem nada com o peixe.

Os russos estão bravos e compararam o imposto sobre os depositos bancários à política de expropriação do imperio sovietico. Exagero retórico, naturalmente, que procura ganhar tempo enquanto se procura uma solução que mantenha Chipre na zona do euro e proteja os interesses russos. É um fato que é exatamente por fazer parte do exclusivo clube europeu que a ilha é tão atraente para os russos, que a usam como lavanderia enquanto desfrutam do seu clima sempre agradável e de suas praias. A saida da zona do euro é uma solução que não lhes interessa e por isto qualquer proposta de socorro tem que ser negociada, também, com a poderosa alemanha e aliados que sabidamente estão aproveitando a oportunidade para forçar Chipre a aceitar uma relação menos intima com os russos. Em outras palavras, como já ocorreu outras vezes, é um problema econômico, cuja solução passa, necessariamente pela esfera política, nesta caso da grande política europeia.

Enquanto se espera por uma solução negociada ate o dia 28 de março, quando se reune o conselho do ECB, única autoridade com poder de cortar a Assistencia de Liquidez de Emergencia, o mercado continua a sinalizar que por enquanto não há risco de contaminação da Italia e da Espanha, como podemos inferir a partir da queda nos yield dos titulos de 10 anos nesta terça feira:o primeiro fechou em 4.64% e o segundo em 4.98%.

terça-feira, 19 de março de 2013

A opera bufa cipriota...

Como era esperado o Parlamento cipriota rejeitou a proposta de imposto sobre os depositos bancários: 36 votos contrários da oposição, 19 abstenções dos deputados do partido do Presidente de Chipre e 1 ausente à votação. Em outras palavras, todo o Parlamento, composto de 56 deputados, se manifestou contrário a proposta da troica. A reação do mercado foi negativa, porém relativamente contida, o que indica que, por enquanto, ainda prevalece a leitura que a proposta foi pensada exclusivamente para Chipre. O yield dos titulos italianos e espanhois de 10 anos subiram, e o do titulo alemão caiu atingindo valores negativos.O primeiro havia fechado sexta em 4.60% e hoje foi negociado a 4.73%. Já o segundo subiu de 4.92% para 5.04%, bem abaixo, dos valores alcançados durante a crise do bail out grego.

Recusada a proposta, inicia-se o conhecido processo de negociação lento e complicado que tornou-se a marca registrada da política da zona do euro. Uma solução de compromisso será, obviamente, encontrada, mas antes há questões praticas que devem ser resolvidas: o que fazer com os dois maiores bancos gregos que sobrevivem por obra e graça da liquidez providenciada pelo Bacen de Chipre? O ECB vai encerra-la e deixa-los quebrar e com isto dar o pontapé inicial no processo que levará a inevitável saída de Chipre da zona do euro? A resposta, me parece, ser não. Afinal é obrigação do ECB zelar pelo euro e a quebra dos bancos cipriotas dificilmente deixaria de contaminar a Italia e a Espanha. É exatamente por apostar que a ameaça do ECB, ou melhor da Alemanha, é um blefe que o parlamento cipriota optou por rechaçar a proposta da troica.

A solução a ser encontrada deverá, naturalmente, encontrar um outro meio para levantar os 5.8 bilhões do bail out, sem o quais ele não é sustentável economicamente e muito menos politicamente, já que dificilmente o Parlamento alemão aprovaria um pacote sem a contribuição dos cipriotas ou de seus amigos fora da zona do euro. Em outras palavras, ninguem está disposto a usar recursos publicos para salvar os correntistas russos. Eles devem, obrigatoriamente dar a sua contribuição via imposto sobre depositos bancários ou convencer uma empresa/banco russo a injetar recursos nos dois bancos.

Situação complicada , sem dúvida, mas que enquanto não contaminar Italia e Espanha não deverá causar grandes estragos.Resta agora esperar pela reação do mercado nesta quarta-feira e pelas negociações entre a troica e o governo cipriota.

segunda-feira, 18 de março de 2013


A semana começa com mais um capitulo da emocionante novela "a crise da zona do euro": a inclusão no bail out de Chipre de um imposto sobre os depositos bancários que pune os correntistas e gerou corrida aos bancos, alem de irritar profundamente os russos. O feriado bancário ate quinta-feira mantem sobre controle, por enquanto, a corrida; mas não resolve o problema russo. É mais ou menos obvio que o imposto é uma medida eleitoral para agradar ao eleitorado alemão que não está nenhum pouco disposto a salvar mais um país da zona do euro e muito menos ainda quanto se sabe que os correntista são em sua grande maioria russos. É por isto que a reação do mercado ao longo do dia passou de negativa para indiferennça contida. Inicialmente imaginava-se que o modelo adotado em Chipre pudesse tornar se o novo padrão a ser usado em outros bail out, porém logo ficou claro que era um caso isolado de forte cunho eleitoral e que dificilmente seria aplicado no caso de um hipotetico bail out da Italia e da Espanha.
A medida é interessane e muito bem vinda, mas requer algumas mudanças para evitar que o correntista morador de Chipre seja punido injustamente. É isto que esta sendo negociado no momento: taxas diferentes para pequenos, medios e grandes correntistas.

sexta-feira, 15 de março de 2013

‘New way’ pope faces old forces

Ótimo artigo sobre os desafios que esperam o novo Papa Francisco. Tenho a leve impressão que ele deverá desapontar aqueles que, equivocadamente, confundem defesa dos pobres com adesão a controversa teologia da libertação latino americano. O artigo abaixo e outros que li, deixam claro a sua oposição a este corrente que já foi muito popular entre os jesuitas, cujo maior mérito é a tese da opção preferencial pelos pobres.

In the short time since his election as the first non-European Pope in almost 1,300 years, Francis has already sought to inject fresh humility and simplicity into the papacy, while charting out a path to take the troubled Roman Catholic Church back to the people through “new ways” of evangelisation.
Small gestures have already won over many hearts – greeting the faithful in a rain-drenched St Peter’s square on Wednesday with the simple words “Good evening”, turning down ermine-trimmed robes as well as the papal Mercedes, and insisting on paying his bill at a Vatican-owned guest house.
As the Jesuit cardinal of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio lived in a simple apartment instead of the archbishop’s palace, cooked his own meals and rode the bus to work.
Social justice and attacking ill-gotten privileges have been dominant themes of his life, even if he rejected the Marxist politicisation of liberation theology that brought the Jesuits, with their roots among the oppressed, into conflict with the military juntas of Latin America, and the Vatican itself.
The question many are now asking in Rome is whether the first Jesuit Pope in history will have the courage to take such battles into the heart of the Curia, the Vatican’s Italian-dominated apparatus revealed through last year’s “Vatileaks” exposures to be a font of corruption, waste and palace power intrigues.
Should Francis try to take on the Curia – and in his first homily he warned that “everything is swept away” if the Church were built on sand – then some voices are already warning he might not last the course.
“This could be a Pope with a short-term contract,” commented a French priest working in the Curia who asked not to be named, noting that Benedict XVI had set the modern-day precedent of abdication, and that Pope Francis, at the age of 76, was only two years younger than when his predecessor was elected in 2005.
Awaiting Pope Francis in a locked safe in the Vatican is a long report drawn up by three cardinals appointed by Benedict to investigate the leaks scandal.
Cardinals meeting ahead of their conclave vote in the Sistine Chapel quizzed the authors but did not see the file. Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s powerful secretary of state or prime minister, also reported on the hesitant progress made to comply with international banking standards at the Institute of Religious Works, as the Vatican bank is formally known.
Just two weeks before Benedict stepped down, Cardinal Bertone was instrumental in appointing Ernst von Freyberg, a German lawyer and aristocrat, as president of IOR to replace Ettore Gotti Tedeschi. The Italian banker and professor of ethics was abruptly sacked last May and is still under investigation by Italian prosecutors probing IOR’s suspected breach of money laundering procedures.
Mr Gotti Tedeschi, the Vatican said, had been incompetent and demonstrated “increasingly erratic personal behaviour”.
However, according to a senior Italian official who asked not to be named, Mr Gotti Tedeschi had instead “opened too many boxes” in his efforts to expose the secretive bank to international scrutiny after its scandal-plagued past.
“He found astounding things and believed the Pope would save him,” said the official who is involved in Italy’s monitoring of the bank.
Pope Francis, with no experience of working in the Curia, is expected to replace Cardinal Bertone, possibly within months. The choice of an outsider – respected diplomats Pietro Parolin and Fernando Filoni are mentioned – would signal the start of a purge of Curia insiders.
“He needs to start to reform the Vatican and decision making process inside the Roman Curia, especially he has to clarify its banking system and should give much more self-determination to local churches,” urged We are Church, a movement advocating structural changes, particularly in response to the clerical sexual abuse scandals.
The Pope’s background as a Jesuit gives hope to those seeking change. Renowned for their academic rigour and spiritual-driven missionary work through shared suffering, the Society of Jesus – founded in 1540 by Ignatius of Loyola, a Spanish knight – is also intensely pragmatic when it comes to management.
But the Jesuits are also in the spotlight for their alleged involvement in cases of sexual abuse. Bishop Accountability, a US group seeking justice for victims, said on Friday that it would send the new Pope a list of all Jesuit priests who had been publicly accused of abuse.
“Religious orders are a challenge because they evade accountability and are more proficient than the diocese at hiding abuses,” said Anne Barrett Doyle, group co-director
“Pope Francis seems like a safe guy. We need someone that dares ... He does not seem like a reformist, but sometimes it’s the non-assuming folks that surprise,” she said.
A Jesuit priest from central Africa, speaking near Rome’s Gregorian university run by the order, suggested that matters regarding the Vatican core were never quite what they seemed.
“The Church knows we are going through many difficulties, with sexual and financial abuses,” he said, suggesting that an exhausted Benedict, unable to cope, had “opened the way” for Cardinal Borgoglio, who had been his runner-up in 2005, to take over.
Asked if change were possible, he replied: “Formally yes, being the first Jesuit Pope and the first from the Americas ... but real change?” And then he fell silent.

Guy Dinmore and Giulia Segreti

Fonte: FT

quinta-feira, 14 de março de 2013

Ten Things You Didn't Know about the Jesuits

Feliz da vida com a escolha de um Papa Jesuita comprometido com a defesa dos pobres e dos valores perenes da fé. É o primeiro jesuita, celeiro de grandes teologos e responsáveis pela criação e manutenção das mais prestigiosas universidades católicas mundo afora... Um dia histórico sem duvida...

Ten Things You Didn't Know about the Jesuits

Since this list is getting some play on the web, I figured I would post it here...since I wrote it. I had cobbled together this top-ten list for the promotion of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, and it will appear in the paperback edition some time next year. Let me know if I left anything out (nice stuff, that is.) Or, heaven forfend, if I made any mistakes. Anyway, enjoy what we used to call in grammar school "Fun Facts to Know and Tell."

Ten Things You Didn’t Know (About the Jesuits)

1. They invented the trap door. Without the Jesuits, the Wicked Witch of the West wouldn’t have been able to disappear so suddenly in The Wizard of Oz. With a long history of participation in theater and the arts, Jesuits also perfected the “scrim,” the sheer curtain still used in many theaters today.

2. They discovered--or at least first reported and introduced to Europe--quinine (called “Jesuit bark” in the 16th century), which is used today for anti-malarial drugs and also in tonic water. Without the Jesuits, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy your gin and tonic--or at least with so little guilt.

3. Their founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491—1556), the Spanish-soldier-turned-mystic may be the only saint with a notarized police record: for nighttime brawling with intent to cause bodily harm. (Needless to say, this came before his conversion.)

4. Their dictionaries and lexicons of the native languages in North America in the 17th century were the first resources Europeans used to understand these ancient tongues, and they still provide modern scholars with many of the earliest transcriptions of the languages.

5. They located the source of the Blue Nile and charted large stretches of the Amazon and Mississippi Rivers.

6. They educated, among others, Descartes, Voltaire, Moliere, James Joyce, Peter Paul Rubens, Arthur Conan Doyle, Fidel Castro, Alfred Hitchcock, and Bill Clinton—not to mention Bing Crosby, Vince Lombardi, Robert Altman, Chris Farley, Salma Hayek, and Denzel Washington.

7. They founded the city of Sao Paolo, Brazil.

8. There are 35 craters on the moon named for Jesuit scientists. And Athanasius Kircher, a 17th-century Jesuit scientist, called “master of a hundred arts” and “the last man to know everything,” was a geologist, biologist, linguist, decipherer of hieroglyphics, and inventor of the megaphone.

9. They inspired the film On the Waterfront, based on the groundbreaking labor-relations work of Jesuit John M. Corridan, who worked in New York City in the 1940s and 1950s. His part was played by Karl Malden, who, last year, died 50 years to the day after Fr. Corridan.

10. They count 40 saints and dozens of blesseds among their members, including the globe-trotting missionary St. Francis Xavier. Their famous “former” members include Garry Wills, John McLaughlin, and Jerry Brown.

James Martin, SJ

Fonte: America

quarta-feira, 13 de março de 2013

Nakano: baixo crescimento e inflação elevada

Artigo interessante do meu ex-orientador. Vale a leitura..

A economia brasileira nos anos recentes passou por dois períodos distintos: de 2004 a 2010, com taxa de crescimento médio do Produto Interno Bruto (PIB) de 4% e inflação média de 5,35% e de 2011 a 2012, com taxa de crescimento médio de 1,8% e inflação média de 6,14%.

O fato mais notável é que no segundo período a taxa de crescimento média caiu substancialmente, mas a taxa de inflação não cedeu, ao contrário, acelerou ligeiramente. Quais as causas desse fenômeno?

De 2004 a 2010, a economia brasileira acelera o crescimento impulsionado por dois choques exógenos. Inicialmente tivemos um "mini boom" de exportações de manufaturados, de 2002/2003 a 2005/2006, como resposta à desvalorização do real em janeiro de 1999, utilizando-se da significativa capacidade ociosa existente nesse período. Isso gera um forte impulso dinâmico na indústria, acelerando o crescimento do PIB, que por sua vez, gera significativa recuperação da demanda doméstica. Segundo, tivemos o choque dos preços das commodities em 2003/2004, que vem do mercado internacional. O terceiro elemento dinâmico, também a partir de 2004, vem da mudança estrutural no mercado de trabalho e da sua dinâmica, com a redução em termos absolutos da população jovem em busca de seu primeiro emprego. Os salários na base da pirâmide passam a aumentar, dando um novo dinamismo à demanda doméstica em recuperação, com a incorporação de milhões de trabalhadores ao mercado de consumo.

Neste primeiro período, a inflação é alta pelos padrões internacionais, mas permanece sob controle, pois a taxa de desemprego é elevada, cerca de 11,5%, em 2004. Ainda nesse período, a taxa de câmbio passa a apreciar sistematicamente, em função da elevada taxa de juros doméstica, contribuindo também para conter a inflação. A persistência da inflação se deve principalmente ao elevado grau de indexação ainda existente na economia.

Entretanto, ainda a partir de 2004 a taxa de câmbio passa a apreciar sistemática e excessivamente até meados de 2011. Isso provoca uma segunda onda de desindustrialização, com o valor adicionado da indústria de transformação perdendo participação no PIB, de 19,2%, em 2004, para apenas 13,3% em 2012. Nesse mesmo período, o setor de serviços avança de 63% do PIB para 68,5% do PIB, particularmente com o avanço da "Administração, saúde e educação publica" de 14,7% para 16,9% do PIB. Com a apreciação da taxa de câmbio não é mais a indústria de transformação que comanda o crescimento, mas o setor de serviços. Esse setor cresceu em média 4,5% ao ano, sendo que dois terços da sua expansão são pela absorção da força de trabalho e um terço pelo aumento da produtividade.

Essa mudança é profunda e estrutural. Sabemos que a taxa de câmbio é um preço relativo e que apreciada encarece relativamente os bens de serviços do setor de "non tradables", não sujeitos a competição das importações, que se tornam mais baratas com apreciação do câmbio. Por isso mesmo, reduz relativamente os preços de bens produzidos do setor de "tradables", sujeitos à competição externa. As empresas respondem a essa mudança nos preços relativos encolhendo, ou seja destruindo a capacidade produtiva no setor de "tradables" e transferindo recursos para o setor de "non tradables". Assim, enquanto o numero de trabalhadores empregados no setor de "tradables" caiu 2,1%, entre 2004 e 2009, no setor de "non tradables" aumentou 15,5%, no mesmo período. Investimentos produtivos são destruídos e a estrutura produtiva sofre mudanças de difícil reversão. Em outras palavras, um período prolongado de taxa de câmbio excessivamente apreciada, ao mudar a alocação de recursos provoca, na verdade, mudanças na estrutura produtiva e na sua dinâmica, portanto tanto do crescimento, como da inflação. A expansão do setor de "non tradables", especialmente serviços pessoais, puxados pela expansão dos salários, como vem ocorrendo no Brasil nos últimos anos, gera externalidades muito limitadas e se dá predominantemente com a absorção de mão de obra e pouca inovação tecnológica. O resultado é que a taxa potencial de crescimento da economia sofre redução. O próprio setor de serviços acaba perdendo dinamismo e reduziu sua taxa de crescimento de 4,5%, de 2004 a 2010, para 2,4% em 2011/2012.

Em relação à dinâmica da inflação, a apreciação cambial acaba provocando efeitos perversos. No curto prazo, a apreciação permite controlar a inflação, pois o setor de "tradables" (indústria de transformação) tem os preços contidos pela invasão de importados. Mas no médio prazo, ao alocar recursos produtivos no setor de "non tradables" (setor de serviços), num novo contexto em que aproximamos do pleno emprego, as pressões salariais e de outros custos são aceitas e são facilmente repassadas aos preços finais.

A inflação do setor de serviços tem estado num patamar de 9%. A pressão salarial e de custos dos serviços se tornam generalizadas e daí a aceleração na inflação. Lembremos também que a taxa de desemprego em dezembro de 2012 atingiu 4,6%, o nível mais baixo registrado pelas nossas estatísticas. Este é o quadro que vivemos atualmente: baixo crescimento, estagnação da produtividade e aceleração da inflação. Claramente a inflação tem um componente estrutural e não será a simples elevação da taxa de juros que removerá a sua causa mais profunda. Será preciso muito mais. Aceleração da inflação devido à pressão dos preços dos alimentos e dos combustíveis é passageira, mas a gerada pelo setor de serviços será persistente.

Yoshiaki Nakano

Fonte: Valor

terça-feira, 12 de março de 2013

Wolfgang Münchau e o problema geracional da política italiana

Wolfgang Münchau do FT é um ótimo analista, mas sempre muito pessimista, ou seria realista? Ler seus artigos é o melhor antidoto contra o otimismo exagerado e, por isto, sem vale a leitura...

It is back to the old establishment reflex. Following the inconclusive result of the general election last month, the influential voices in the Italian media and society are now calling – not for the first time – for a “technical” government. The task of such a government would be simple: reform the entire political system, introduce new voting rules, and in the spare time that is left implement all the economic reforms and pay back all the debt.
If Italy goes down that route, the probability of a serious accident will be high, because the government would be acting without political legitimacy. I would advocate a different approach. First, Italy should accept the results of the election, rather than trying to overcome it. The most important aspect of the result is not the stalemate, but the generational change it represents. The previous Italian parliament had one of the oldest average ages of all parliaments in the EU – 54 years in the chamber of deputies; the new one has the youngest, at 45 years.
Even more shocking than the absolute number of votes captured by Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement is the age distribution. About 45 per cent of young Italians voted for him; their older compatriots supported the traditional parties.
It is as if Italy is conflating two earlier revolutions – the generational handover of the early 1970s and the political upheaval of the early 1990s – to make, potentially, a massive regime shift with a still uncertain outcome. If the establishment parties want to govern, they will have to find a way to be part of that change.
The best outcome would be a handover of power to a new generation of leaders, from which Matteo Renzi, the 38-year-old mayor of Florence, is the most likely to emerge as prime minister. In the context of Italian politics, Mr Renzi, a leading politician of the centre-left Partito Democratico, is even more radical than Tony Blair was in the early 1990s, when he reformed a reluctant Labour party in the UK. Mr Renzi rails against what is essentially a corrupt political system with no less force than Mr Grillo – except that he is a member of a real political party and has a real political job.
He seems aware of the political trade-off between economic reforms and austerity, that one cannot pursue both at the same time, at least not in large and complex countries, and that the priority now must be on reforms, not consolidation. As somebody in charge of a large city with a large welfare budget, he is also directly affected by the catastrophic impact of austerity.
The problem with Mr Renzi is that he lost the Partito Democratico primaries to Pier Luigi Bersani, general secretary of the PD, and thus has no political mandate to form a government. For now, it seems that Mr Bersani is determined to form a minority government of his own by seeking to forge an improbable coalition in the Senate, where his party is short of a majority.
This may yet work technically; but if it does, it would probably not be sustainable. If Mr Bersani fails to form a government, a technical administration could then emerge by default, but it would be hard to see what it could accomplish.
If this ends in another election, Mr Grillo could end up with an absolute majority. In that case, Italy’s membership of the eurozone can no longer be taken for granted. He has promised to hold a referendum on the euro. Until then, I would expect Italy to be stuck in a worsening depression for the simple reason that nobody is going to invest in a country subject to such uncertainty.
Right now, Italy, which makes up almost a fifth of the entire eurozone economy, is still contracting. Italian families are having difficulty paying their bills, and are drawing down their savings. Many have exhausted their reserves. Interest rates on company loans have been rising again. February’s elections were held in the middle of a recession. The next round would be held in a depression.
The best outcome would be for Mr Bersani and for Silvio Berlusconi to hand over to a new generation of leaders. It would be the best way to arrest Mr Grillo’s advance.
The priority of such a government would have to be to end austerity immediately, and simultaneously start on a select number of reforms – including privatisation of state assets, an overhaul of the public sector, a separation between political parties, banks and state-owned institutions, and reforms to liberalise service and product markets.
The new government should probably not waste political capital on a further deregulation of hiring and firing laws – an emotive issue in European politics, with uncertain economic gain but certain and large political costs. I am also not sure that a change in the voting system would bring the desired benefits. Italy had various systems in the past – none perfect.
Other than this, I find it hard to think of benign outcomes. The absolute worst that could happen is for old establishment instincts to prevail, and for Italy to seek refuge in another technical government – “Monti without Monti”, as one of my interlocutors put it in a reference to the outgoing prime minister. We all saw where technocracy ended up last time.

Wolfgang Münchau

Fonte: FT

segunda-feira, 11 de março de 2013

Entrevista com Clodovis Boff

Excelente entrevista com o frei Clodovis Boff, irmão do Leonardo Boff, sobre a Teologia da Libertação(TL). Um exemplo de lucidez, por parte de um dos lideres da conhecida e controversa TL.

Folha - Bento 16 foi o grande inimigo da Teologia da Libertação?

Clodovis Boff - Isso é uma caricatura. Nos dois documentos que publicou, Ratzinger defendeu o projeto essencial da Teologia da Libertação: compromisso com os pobres como consequência da fé. Ao mesmo tempo, critica a influência marxista. Aliás, é uma das coisas que eu também critico.

No documento de 1986, ele aponta a primazia da libertação espiritual, perene, sobre a libertação social, que é histórica. As correntes hegemônicas da Teologia da Libertação preferiram não entender essa distinção. Isso fez com que, muitas vezes, a teologia degenerasse em ideologia.

E os processos inquisitoriais contra alguns teólogos?

Ele exprimia a essência da igreja, que não pode entrar em negociações quando se trata do núcleo da fé. A igreja não é como a sociedade civil, onde as pessoas podem falar o que bem entendem. Nós estamos vinculados a uma fé. Se alguém professa algo diferente dessa fé, está se autoexcluindo da igreja.

Na prática, a igreja não expulsa ninguém. Só declara que alguém se excluiu do corpo dos fiéis porque começou a professar uma fé diferente.

Não há margem para a caridade cristã?
O amor é lúcido, corrige quando julga necessário. [O jesuíta espanhol] Jon Sobrino diz: "A teologia nasce do pobre". Roma simplesmente responde: "Não, a fé nasce em Cristo e não pode nascer de outro jeito". Assino embaixo.

Quando o sr. se tornou crítico à Teologia da Libertação?

Desde o início, sempre fui claro sobre a importância de colocar Cristo como o fundamento de toda a teologia. No discurso hegemônico da Teologia da Libertação, no entanto, eu notava que essa fé em Cristo só aparecia em segundo plano. Mas eu reagia de forma condescendente: "Com o tempo, isso vai se acertar". Não se acertou.

"Não é a fé que confere um sentido sobrenatural ou divino à luta. É o inverso que ocorre: esse sentido objetivo e intrínseco confere à fé sua força." Ainda acredita nisso?

Eu abjuro essa frase boba. Foi minha fase rahneriana. [O teólogo alemão] Karl Rahner estava fascinado pelos avanços e valores do mundo moderno e, ao mesmo tempo, via que a modernidade se secularizava cada vez mais.

Rahner não podia aceitar a condenação de um mundo que amava e concebeu a teoria do "cristianismo anônimo": qualquer pessoa que lute pela justiça já é um cristão, mesmo sem acreditar explicitamente em Cristo. Os teólogos da libertação costumam cultivar a mesma admiração ingênua pela modernidade.

O "cristianismo anônimo" constituía uma ótima desculpa para, deixando de lado Cristo, a oração, os sacramentos e a missão, se dedicar à transformação das estruturas sociais. Com o tempo, vi que ele é insustentável por não ter bases suficientes no Evangelho, na grande tradição e no magistério da igreja.

Quando o sr. rompeu com o pensamento de Rahner?

Nos anos 70, o cardeal d. Eugênio Sales retirou minha licença para lecionar teologia na PUC do Rio. O teólogo que assessorava o cardeal, d. Karl Joseph Romer, veio conversar comigo: "Clodovis, acho que nisso você está equivocado. Não basta fazer o bem para ser cristão. A confissão da fé é essencial". Ele estava certo.

Assumi postura mais crítica e vi que, com o rahnerismo, a igreja se tornava absolutamente irrelevante. E não só ela: o próprio Cristo. Deus não precisaria se revelar em Jesus se quisesse simplesmente salvar o homem pela ética e pelo compromisso social.

Bento 16 sepultou os avanços do Concílio Vaticano 2º?

Quem afirma isso acredita que o Concílio Vaticano 2º criou uma nova igreja e rompeu com 2.000 anos de cristianismo. É um equívoco. O papa João 23 foi bem claro ao afirmar que o objetivo era, preservando a substância da fé, reapresentá-la sob roupagens mais oportunas para o homem contemporâneo.

Bento 16 garantiu a fidelidade ao concílio. Ao mesmo tempo, combateu tentativas de secularizar a igreja, porque uma igreja secularizada é irrelevante para a história e para os homens. Torna-se mais um partido, uma ONG.

Mas e a reabilitação da missa em latim? E a tentativa de reabilitação dos tradicionalistas que rejeitaram o Vaticano 2º?

Não podemos esquecer que a condição imposta aos tradicionalistas era exatamente que aceitassem o Vaticano 2º. O catolicismo é, por natureza, inclusivo. Há espaço para quem gosta de latim, para quem não gosta, para todas as tendências políticas e sociais, desde que não se contraponham à fé da igreja.

Quem se opõe a essa abertura manifesta um espírito anticatólico. Vários grupos considerados progressistas caíram nesse sectarismo.

Esses grupos não foram exceção. Bento 16 sofreu dura oposição em todo o pontificado.

A maioria das críticas internas a ele partiu de setores da igreja que se deixaram colonizar pelo espírito da modernidade hegemônica e que não admitem mais a centralidade de Deus na vida. Erigem a opinião pessoal como critério último de verdade e gostariam de decidir os artigos da fé na base do plebiscito.

Tais críticas só expressam a penetração do secularismo moderno nos espaços institucionais da igreja.

Como descreveria a relação de Bento 16 com a modernidade?

É possível identificar um certo pessimismo na sua reflexão. Ele não está só. Há um rio de literatura sobre a crise da modernidade, que remete até mesmo a autores como Nietzsche e Freud. O que ele tem de diferente? Propõe uma saída: a abertura ao transcendente.

Ainda assim, há pessimismo.

Há algo que ele precisaria corrigir: Bento 16 leva a sério demais o secularismo moderno. É uma tendência dos cristãos europeus. Eles esquecem que o secularismo é uma cultura de minorias. São poderosas, hegemônicas, mas ainda assim minorias.

A religião é a opção de 85% da humanidade. Os ateus não passam de 2,5%. Com os agnósticos, não chegam a 15%. Minoria culturalmente importante, sem dúvida: domina o microfone e a caneta, a mídia e a academia. Mas está perdendo o gás. Há um reavivamento do interesse pela espiritualidade entre os jovens.

Que outras críticas o sr. faria a Bento 16?

Ele preferiria resolver problemas teológicos a se debruçar sobre questões administrativas na Cúria. E isso gerou diversos constrangimentos no seu pontificado. Ele também não tem o carisma de um João Paulo 2º. De certa forma, era o esperado em um intelectual como ele.

Não está na hora de a igreja ficar mais próxima da realidade dos fiéis?

Bento 16 não resolveu um problema que se arrasta desde o Concílio Vaticano 2º: a necessidade de se criarem canais para a cúpula escutar e dialogar com as bases.

Os padres nas paróquias muitas vezes ficam prensados entre a letra fria que vem da cúpula e o cotidiano sofrido dos fiéis, que pode envolver dramas como aborto ou divórcio. Note que não sugiro mudanças no ensinamento da igreja. Mas acho que seria mais fácil para as pessoas viverem a doutrina católica se houvesse processos que facilitassem esse diálogo.

Como vê o futuro da igreja?

A modernidade não tem mais nada a dizer ao homem pós-moderno. Quais as ideologias que movem o mundo? Marxismo? Socialismo? Liberalismo? Neoliberalismo? Todas perderam credibilidade. Quem tem algo a dizer? As religiões e, sobretudo no Ocidente, a Igreja Católica.

Fonte: FSP

sexta-feira, 8 de março de 2013

Se correr o bicho pega, se ficar o bicho come...

Sexta-feira com boas noticias no Império e mais do mesmo no grande bananão. A criação de 236.000 postos de trabalho e queda na taxa de desemprego para 7.7% em fevereiro, somada a outros dados ao longo da semana, sinalizam certa melhora no estado comatoso da economia americana. Digo certa, porque os números do emprego são sempre revisados, o de janeiro foi revisado para baixo, 119.000, enquanto o de dezembro subiu para 219.000. A queda na taxa de desemprego, por sua vez, foi acompanha por redução na PEA: 130.000 pularam fora. É bom lembrar, também, que este resultado ainda não reflete os efeitos dos cortes no gastos públicos em decorrência do "sequestration". Em outras palavras, bons números, porém muito longe do necessário para se atingir em curto espaço de tempo a taxa de desemprego de 6.5% definida pelo FED como condição para alterar a atual política de taxa de juros, i.e aumenta-la.
No grande bananão o IPCA de fevereiro, 0.60%, ficou acima do valor esperado pelo mercado e pelo Tombini. Confesso que, também, estou surpreso, mas as chuvas tem castigado alguns produtos e por isto o resultado é perfeitamente justificável, o que não quer dizer que não seja preocupante. A inflação acumulada no ano está em 1,47% e a de 12 meses atingiu o 6.31%, aproximando-se perigosamente do limite superior da meta. É fato que a inflação esta desacelerando, mas a um ritmo mais lento do que seria recomendável para minimizar o inevitável impacto negativo sobre as expectativas. A desoneração dos impostos federais da cesta básica, assim como a queda nos preços dos alimentos devem ajudar na queda- mais pronunciada - da inflação nos próximos meses e por isto me parece um equivoco apostar em elevação na taxa de juros na próxima reunião do Copom.
Somente uma piora significativa na inflação nos próximos meses justificaria o custo político de elevar a taxa de juros que, como sabemos, tornou-se importante marca da atual administração. Inflação em torno de 6.5% e desemprego em baixa é uma dobradinha melhor, do ponto de vista eleitoral, que o seu inverso: inflação baixa com mercado de trabalho menos exuberante. Por isto me parece que o governo vai continuar jogando todas as suas cartas na busca por um crescimento mais robusto pra evitar surpresas no mercado de trabalho, mesmo correndo o risco de uma inflação acima do desejado por alguns analistas, inclusive este blogueiro.

quinta-feira, 7 de março de 2013

Emprego e a estratégia do FED segundo Mohamed El-Erian

Mais um artigo bem interessante do Mohamed El-Erian da Pimco sobre os dilemas da política monetária americana.

The next few monthly jobs reports, including this Friday’s, will be watched especially closely to assess the balance in a rather unusual tug of war that has developed in Washington: between a dysfunctional Congress set on creating headwinds to a slowly-recovering US economy, and a central bank willing to roll out one untested measures after the other in its attempt to steer the economy towards higher growth and more robust job creation.
The “sequestration” is, of course, the latest example of America’s self-made obstacles. This set of blunt budgetary cuts, which automatically went into effect this week due to Congressional inaction, will add another fiscal drag of 0.5 percentage points off gross domestic product in 2013. Coming on top of January’s tax increases and recovering (but still-weak) endogenous growth drivers, this will serve to again limit the annual growth rate of the economy to 2 per cent or less – and do so without involving a rational and durable reform to America’s medium-term fiscal dynamics.
The sequestration also failed to overcome recurrent Congressional dramas over fiscal issues. If anything, it accentuated the already-disruptive polarisation on Capitol Hill. As such, it is just a matter of days before the political parties bicker over the “continued resolution” required to avoid a government shutdown at the end of this month; and it is just a matter of weeks before yet more brinkmanship emerges over the debt ceiling.
In addition to damaging the momentum for sensible and comprehensive medium-term fiscal reform, this Congressional management by crisis inhibits the US economy from attaining escape velocity, and does so through three channels: it undermines sensible demand management policies in the short-term; it pushes off the legislative agenda other much-needed structural reforms to enhance growth; and it increases the political risk factor that enters the calculations governing private sector investments in new plants, equipment and hiring.
Long ago, the Federal Reserve under its activist chairman, Ben Bernanke, correctly realised that the longer the US spends in this economic “new normal” – which we specified in May 2009 to include an unusually prolonged period of sluggish growth and persistently high unemployment in advanced economies – the greater the social costs and the bigger the damage to the economy’s long-term potential. As such, the Fed pivoted in 2010 from using unconventional monetary policies to fix market failures to also targeting better macroeconomic outcomes.
This is evident in the Fed’s seemingly-endless series of policy innovations – from previously-unthinkable forward policy guidance and policy rates floored at zero to what market participants have dubbed “quantitative easing infinity”. Moreover, every serious discussion on “exit” has fallen to the side as macroeconomic outcomes have fallen short of the Fed’s own expectations. In the meantime, Congress has continued on its merry way of creating new headwinds for the economy.
Lacking sufficient data, we will never know whether the precise extent to which disappointing macroeconomic outcomes are due to unanticipated developments (including heightened Congressional dysfunction) versus imperfect policy tools. What we do know is that the country’s central bankers feel more than just a moral obligation to remain hyperactive in building a bridge until politicians and policy making entities step up to their responsibilities; they are also engaged in countering in real time the adverse effect of recurrent political headwinds.
With the widely-followed unemployment rate sending less than clear-cut signals due to variations in the labour participation rate, we should look to four specific indicators in this Friday’s (and subsequent monthly) jobs report to shed light on whether the Fed is succeeding in assisting the economy’s endogenous growth drivers to overcome Congressional dysfunction:
an average monthly job growth in excess of 225,000;
a steady reduction in the share of long-term unemployment;
robust average monthly earning gains; and
a continuing gradual compositional shift to a tradeable sector that creates well-paying jobs faster than in non-tradeables.
Unfortunately, the job reports will not shed light on the most important counterfactual: namely, how fast would the US be growing if Congress had transitioned from being a headwind to providing a tailwind to the country’s gradually-healing economy. This is regrettable given the urgent need to encourage Congress to embark on a more responsible path and, more generally, the importance of established political orders responding properly to the wave of popular dissatisfaction with the status quo that is spreading throughout the west.

Mohamed El-Erian

Fonte: FT

quarta-feira, 6 de março de 2013


Otimo artigo/resenha de um livro recente sobre o pensamento do Michael Oakeshott, importante pensador conservador britanico e seus pares americanos...

An obscure college professor once wrote that the reception of English philosopher Michael Oakeshott by American conservatives resembled the sound of one hand clapping. Although interest in Oakeshott’s work among U.S. academic historians and political theorists has increased exponentially since his death in 1990, his influence on public intellectuals and policy makers here has remained negligible—with the notable exception of Andrew Sullivan, who, like Oakeshott, happens to be British.

This lack of influence among the movers and shakers of American political life should not be surprising, given Oakeshott’s insistence on the irrelevance of political philosophy to practical politics. As he once wrote, “reputable political behavior is not dependent upon sound or even coherent philosophy.” Such behavior is instead related to the concrete practical knowledge of an actual political tradition and what such a tradition intimates. Oakeshott was skeptical of philosophers who meddled in practical affairs, insisting that he was not concerned with establishing “a seminary for training political hedge-preachers in some dim orthodoxy.”

Further, Oakeshott’s critique of ideological or rationalistic politics makes him an unlikely source of inspiration to a people whose entire political tradition has been informed by that style of political discourse. The rationalistic or ideological style manifests itself in the abstract and often vacuous pronouncements about foundational principles that animate American political life. As Oakeshott observed in a review of a book by Walter Lippman:

when Mr. Lippmann says that the founders of our free institutions were adherents of the philosophy of natural law, and that ‘the free political institutions of the Western world were conceived and established’ by men who held certain abstract beliefs, he speaks with the shortened perspective of an American way of thinking in which a manner of conducting affairs is inconceivable without an architect and without a premeditated ‘dedication to a proposition.’ But the fact is that nobody ever ‘founded these institutions.’ They are the product of innumerable human choices, over long stretches of time, but not of any human design.

Such a long view is not likely to be welcome in a country that has from the beginning considered itself a novus ordo seclorum.

With these considerations in mind, it was with a great deal of excitement that I read Gene Callahan’s new book, Oakeshott on Rome and America, which is a well-written examination of Oakeshott’s own work, but also a novel application of Oakeshott’s critique of rationalist or ideological politics to American constitutional history. Callahan argues quite convincingly that Oakeshott’s analysis of the errors of modern rationalism is both acute and accurate and that the American constitutional tradition has been informed by a highly rationalistic rhetorical style from the beginning.

So what is rationalism, in the Oakeshottian sense of the term? First, it involves the claim that the only adequate type of knowledge is that which can be reduced to a series of rules, principles, or methods—and thus it is also a claim that “knowing how” to do something is nothing more than “knowing that” the rules are such and such. Second, because of this denigration of practical knowledge, it is a claim that rational action can only take place following the creation of a theoretical model. As Oakeshott once observed, modern rationalism is literally “preposterous” because theoretical reflection can only occur after a practice already has made itself distinct and more or less concrete.

Finally, as Callahan points out, since rationalism is a mistaken description of human knowledge and its relation to human activity, it is also an impossible way of acting, politically or in any other sphere. Human action, including political action, is inherently an engagement of practical reason working within a particular tradition or and attempting to follow through on some of the inchoate suggestions that the vagueness of the practice offers. The opposite of rationalism for Oakeshott is not irrationalism but authentic practical reasonableness. Thus, and contrary to many of his reading-impaired critics, his critique of rationalism is not a critique of reason but a defense of it against a false modern conception of it.

To use one of Oakeshott’s favorite examples, if one has no knowledge of cookery, a cookbook is useless. If, on the other hand, one is an experienced chef, a cookbook is superfluous. The cookbook is relevant only in a situation where either the great majority of cooks are relatively inexperienced and there is a dearth of connoisseurs or in a situation in which the traditions of cookery are in a state of confusion and a reminder is needed of some of the tradition’s neglected resources.

Para ler o resto clique

terça-feira, 5 de março de 2013

La dolce vita italiana...

Como mencionado em recente entrevista à radio Jovem Pan fm, as aparências enganam: a Italia não é a Grecia. A reação do mercado às eleições italianas ficou bem aquém do quadro apocalíptico desenhado por alguns analistas e confirmou a nossa hipótese sobre a precificação do resultado que, como mencionado em outro post, não foi de todo inesperado. O título italiano de 10 anos fechou segunda-feira, no mercado secundário, em 4.90%, bem acima do melhor resultado dos últimos meses, 4.13% de 11 janeiro, mas muito longe do valor record de 7.48% atingido em 9 de novembro de 2011. Hoje foi negociado por 4.74%. Tudo indica que, por enquanto, o mercado ainda não está levando a serio as bravatas do Pepe Grillo, o terceiro colocado nas eleições.
O inicio da nova legislatura foi antecipado para o dia 12 de março o que significa que a partir do dia 18 deverá iniciar-se o processo formal de formação do novo governo. Como nenhum partido/coalizão obteve maioria no senado abre-se um grande leque de possibilidades, ainda mais se lembrarmos que como o mandato do atual presidente expira em 15 de maio, não será possível convocar novas eleições antes da escolha do seu sucessor.
O cenário mais provável é a formação de um governo técnico que seria responsável pela convocação de novas eleições em no máximo um ano. Outra possibilidade é a formação de uma grande coalizão sem a participação do Bersani e do Berlusconi. O experiente Giuliano Amato é o mais cotado para ocupar o cargo do Monti. O católico Matteo Renzi, prefeito de Florença, derrotado pelo Bersani nas primarias do PD também é uma opção.
A grande coalizão, segundo Berlusconi, é uma possibilidade que depende, basicamente, da escolha do novo presidente que ficaria a cargo do seu partido. Bersani não gostou nada da idéia e no domingo emitiu um ultimato ao terceiro colocado: voto de confiança no governo a ser formado pelo PD ou convocação de novas eleições. Grillo, um líder anti-establisment parece jogar todas as fichas em novas eleições como podemos inferir pelo convite, segundo o jornal francês Les Echos, aos economistas Stiglitz e Fitoussi para assessorar a equipe responsável pela plano econômico de um hipotético governo por ele liderado.

Em sintése, a formação do novo governo italiano tem tudo para ser um processo longo e com certeza o nome do substituto do Monti não será conhecido tão cedo, seguramente conheceremos bem antes o nome do novo Papa.

segunda-feira, 4 de março de 2013

Send in the Clowns

Ótimo artigo do Iam Buruma sobre a Italia e palhaços....

When too many Italians voted late last month for either a louche and discredited business tycoon or a comedian, European stock markets plummeted. With no public trust in the political class, Italy might become ungovernable.

But Italians are not alone. Rage against the political establishment has become a global phenomenon. Chinese bloggers, American Tea Party activists, British Europhobes, Egyptian Islamists, Dutch populists, Greek ultra-rightists, and Thai “red shirts” all have one thing in common: hatred of the status quo and contempt for their countries’ elites. We are living in an age of populism. The authority of conventional politicians and traditional media is slipping away fast.

Populism can be a necessary corrective when political parties grow sclerotic, mass media become too complacent (or too close to power), and bureaucracies are unresponsive to popular needs. In a globalized world managed by bankers and technocrats, many people feel that they have no say in public affairs; they feel abandoned.

Our national politicians, increasingly powerless to cope with serious crises, are suspected, often with good reason, of simply looking after their own interests. All we can do is vote the rascals out, sometimes by voting for candidates whom we would not take seriously in more normal times.

Italian elites are not the only ones in need of being shaken up. But the problem with populism is that it is rarely benign. In the 1930’s, it resulted in violent movements led by dangerous men in uniform. Today’s populists are different. They do not, on the whole, advocate violence. Some preach that Muslims are destroying Western civilization. Others think that President Barack Obama is a kind of communist out to destroy America.

Two types of contemporary populist, however, stand out: the ultra-rich business tycoon and the clown. In the Anglo-Saxon media world, Rupert Murdoch, owner of far too many newspapers, TV stations, and movie studios, is a typical populist tycoon. But he never aspired to lead a country. Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra did – and still do.

Neither the clown nor the tycoon is well suited to being a democratic leader. The question is which is worse.

Clowns have always played a role in politics. Medieval court jesters were often the only ones who could speak truth to despotic kings. Today, it is often comedians who claim to speak truth to power – and to the public.

In America, liberals turn for political commentary to television comedians like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, who are now more trusted than traditional news broadcasters. And clownish right-wing radio talk-show hosts now have more influence on many conservative American voters than the sober journalists of the mainstream media do.

A few years ago, a clown named Brozo, with a large red nose and a bright green wig, was Mexico’s most popular political commentator on television, actively courted by all candidates running for national office. In 1980, the French clown Coluche actually dropped out of the presidential race when one newspaper put his popular support at 16%, causing him to fear that he might influence the result too much.

The prototype of modern European populism was the flamboyant Dutch political showman Pim Fortuyn, who was assassinated in 2002 by a fanatical vegan. Fortuyn’s outrageousness was deliberately provocative and always entertaining. His rants against the elites were often confused, but he was funny, which made the old elite politicians look like stuffy old bores – which many of them were.

And now Italy has Beppe Grillo, whose success in the country’s recent election makes him the first professional comedian to lead a major political party in Europe.

The thing about clowns, though, is that few have any aspirations to rule their countries. Before his death, Fortuyn is said to have been terrified of the prospect of becoming Prime Minister. And Grillo cannot even aspire to the job in Italy because of his criminal record.

Clowns mostly seek to provoke, and this can be healthy. They are less likely than members of the professional political class to allow political calculations to influence their views. And, sometimes, they actually say things that are uncomfortable but true, and that need to be said.

Political business tycoons, on the other hand, have different ambitions. They attack the old elites not to shake things up, but to take their power. Promising to spread the riches that they have made for themselves, they exploit the fantasies of those of us who have little and want more. Berlusconi understood the dreams of many Italians very well. His extravagance, clownishness, and even his girls were part of his popular appeal.

In Thailand, the self-made ethnic-Chinese media billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra was especially admired by the rural poor. Like a beneficent king, he would give them money, and promised to challenge the old elites in Bangkok – the bankers, generals, judges, and even the courtiers surrounding the Thai king.

But tycoons are not natural democrats. Their main interest is in their own business. And they do not hesitate to undermine an independent press or judiciary when their business interests are threatened. Even though his sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, is now in power, Thaksin is still trying to evade trial in Thai courts on a wide array of financial charges.

As it happens, Thaksin was overthrown in 2006 by a military coup that was largely backed by the Bangkok elites. Berlusconi was replaced by a government run by elite technocrats, whose policies had to be approved by European bankers and European Union bureaucrats.

Neither of these responses to populism is likely to boost democracy. On the contrary, they make things worse. What is needed is mainstream politicians who understand and respond to what is fueling popular rage. Paying attention to some of what the clowns are saying might be a good first step.

Ian Buruma

Fonte: Project Syndicate

sexta-feira, 1 de março de 2013

Bye, Bye Guido Mantega

A semana termina com mais noticias negativas sobre o estado da economia mundial: na China o PMI sinaliza provável crescimento mais lento no setor manufatureiro; na zona do euro o desemprego chegou a 11.9%, contra 11.8%, pequena variação, diria um otimista exagerado, mas um acréscimo de 1.9 milhões ao já imenso contingente de desempregados. A boa noticia é que a inflação na eurolandia em fevereiro ficou em 1.8%, abaixo, portanto, do 2% de janeiro. Desemprego em alta e inflação em queda fortalecem o argumento dos que defendem corte na taxa de juros na reunião do ECB na próxima semana. É pouco provável que isto ocorra na próxima reunião, mas dado o resultado das eleições italianas, Merkel poderá mudar de idéia e aceitar um corte antes da eleição alemã.
No grande bananão Guido Mantega insiste em culpar a crise internacional pelo PIB anêmico de 2012. Como já argumentamos em vários posts isto está longe de ser verdade: a sua política econômica é a grande responsável pelos descaminhos da economia brasileira e por isto mesmo ele deveria aposentar as chuteiras.