World Wide Articles about NOVO
THE ECONOMIST – Letters to the editor Section
The state of Brazil
The NOVO party in Brazil does not advocate a “minimal state” (“Niche no longer”, February 28th). Rather, we want a state that is the right size. The Brazilian government has its fingers in most aspects of a citizen’s life. Everything requires a permit, or is regulated by a law, or supervised by a bureaucrat. But at the same time more than 50% of homes do not have proper sanitation and 50,000 Brazilians are murdered each year. Last year BNDES, the state development bank, loaned almost $100 billion to large corporations at below-market rates and the government provided even more in tax subsidies to its friends. Petrobras, the state oil company, has lost $50 billion in corruption scandals. It takes 90 days to create a company and up to five years to close one. One in four Brazilians depends on government handouts to survive.
All that has got to change.
President of the local NOVO party in Rio de Janeiro
THE ECONOMIST – Niche no longer
Thatcherism is winning adherents
AMONG the buskers on Avenida Paulista, São Paulo’s main thoroughfare, one act stood out on a recent Friday afternoon. A live rock band played spiffy renditions of “Blue Suede Shoes” and other 1950s classics; between numbers, six panellists sang the praises of competition and fielded questions from 100-odd onlookers about such issues as transport prices. The event was organised by the Free Brazil Movement (MBL), a group founded last year to promote free-market answers to the country’s problems. The al fresco concert-cum-colloquium was a riposte to demonstrators who took to the streets a half-dozen times in January to demand free bus transport. A better idea would be to open bus services to competition among private firms, which would improve quality and lower costs, the MBL-ers claimed.
Although Brazil thinks of itself as a “tropical Sweden”, advocates of freer markets and a less intrusive state are making headway. Of the 50 organisations that belong to the Liberty Network, an umbrella group, all but a handful were founded in the past three years. A “liberty forum” in April is expected to draw some 5,000 South American freedom-lovers to Porto Alegre, a southern city. This year’s theme, inspired by the Charlie Hebdo murders, is freedom of expression.
Soon such folk will have a new political party to represent them. Called simply Novo (“new”), the party stands unabashedly for free markets, a minimal state, low taxes and individual liberties. This would extend Brazil’s narrow political spectrum. The Workers’ Party of the president, Dilma Rousseff, is decidedly left-wing. The main opposition party, the Party of Brazilian Social Democracy (PSDB), is friendlier to markets but, as its name suggests, it is by no means Thatcherite.
Novo sounds like it will be. Its president, a banker called João Amoêdo, calls for privatisation of state-controlled enterprises such as Petrobras, an oil giant in the midst of a corruption scandal. The fledgling party has submitted the 492,000 notarised signatures needed to register with the electoral authority. Mr Amoêdo hopes for approval in March; it plans to field candidates in next year’s local elections. A new liberal force could provide fresh answers to the country’s increasingly difficult economic plight (see article).
Novo’s brassy brand of liberalism is still a minority taste. Many Brazilians associate the liberal reforms enacted when the PSDB was in power in the 1990s with the short-term pain they caused rather than the long-term stability they secured. At the University of São Paulo, the loftiest of Brazil’s ivory towers, microeconomics courses dwell on market imperfections while neglecting government failures, laments Fabio Barbieri, who teaches the subject.
The social-science section of Livraria Cultura, a famous bookshop on Avenida Paulista, displays freshly printed copies of Karl Marx’s “Capital” but carries nothing by John Stuart Mill, his great liberal contemporary. After the military coup of 1964 “we were all deformed by revolutionary Marxism”, says Eduardo Giannetti, a liberal economist (his 29-year-old son was among the Paulista panellists). For decades a cartelised capitalism, protected by the state, kept products shoddy and prices high, which did not help the private sector win friends.
But opinion may be shifting. Brazilians have long been open-minded about gay rights and immigration (but not legalisation of drugs). A poll by Datafolha, a research firm, published in September found that 30% are sceptical about state intervention and tax-and-spend policies, up from 26% a year earlier. In October’s presidential election Ms Rousseff defeated her challenger, the pro-business candidate of the PSDB, only narrowly. These are hopeful signs for liberals. But it will be some time before “let’s introduce competition into public transport” drums up the same enthusiasm as “free tickets”.
ISIL – The New Libertarian Movement in Brazil
By Joe Kent,
Currently, Brazil is not exactly a bastion of freedom. The Economic Freedom of the World Index, put out by the Fraser Institute, ranks Brazil way down at number 103, with high taxes and over-regulation to blame. However, many people are beginning to question the role of government, especially after the riots in June 2013 in Brazil. Protesters upset about the growing government, and poor civil services are beginning to look for alternatives to the majority parties.
Many are finding a glimmer of hope in a new libertarian party that is beginning to emerge. The “Novo” party is about as freedom loving as it gets, said Isabela Christo and Gustavo Torres, members of the new party.
According to Isabela, although there are 30 political parties in Brazil, politics generally revolves around the two major parties, the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, and the Labour Party, known as PSDB and PT respectively. From a libertarian perspective, both parties look the same.
“Neither parties are very fond of liberty,” said Isabela, “and there’s no big difference between both parties when it comes to the usual libertarian agenda.” Isabela went on to say that both parties advocate for a bigger government in banking, monetary policy, drug wars, and abortion. “Actually, all those subjects are commonly ignored by the major parties in Brazilian politics, since mentioning them usually has no political benefits at all.”
The Novo Party, on the other hand, does offer a fresh alternative.
According to their website, the party advocates for individual freedom over state control. The website lists other principles:
– Individual as sole creator of wealth
– Reduce the role of the state
– Defend personal liberties
– All are equal before the law
When asked if the Novo party is the only libertarian party in Brazil, Isabela said, “This may sound a little harsh, but it’s a definite yes. Novo is the only party which is shaping up to be the Brazilian Libertarian Party.”
Isabela acknowledge that many libertarian-minded individuals do not believe in politics at all. “There is still a big part of the movement that believes that politics is not the way we’re going to achieve a freer society, and think that the new ‘libertarian’ party is inexorably going to be restrained by the political process.”
She admitted that it’s easy to get pessimistic when the battle is uphill. “The next election – which is in 2016 – is going to answer a lot of these questions about the new Brazilian party. I guess, in the aftermath, we’ll have to wait and see.”
Still, many are optimistic to see the philosophy of liberty coming to the political landscape in Brazil, especially since the protests in June 2013. Isabela said, “Those protests happened because of the inefficiency with which the state naturally offers the so called ‘public services’. People demanded better healthcare, better transportation, better education, and so forth. In the middle of those demands for all those ‘rights’ which our constitution guarantees us, a lot of people started questioning if it’s really a matter of bad administration of the party that’s in power now, or could there be something inherent to the state that made it be such a bad deal?”
Thankfully, ideas are spreading in Brazil, as there has been a renewed interested in free-market economics. Works by Ludwig von Mises, Frederic Bastiat, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, and Murray Rothbard are in demand in Brazil — a country searching for new answers to political problems.
The Novo facebook page alone has over 680,000 likes, and the party is growing steadily. Isabela said that the protests in June 2013 started as a leftist movement, but eventually, “created a libertarian awaking among those who were brave enough to abandon a worldview and question the very principles that used to drive their political views.”
THE ECONOMIST – The loneliness of the right-wing legislator
“FIFTY shades of pink” is how Luiz Felipe d’Avila of the Centre for Public Leadership, a think-tank, describes Brazil’s political spectrum. In fact, the country has just 32 registered parties. But Mr d’Avila is correct when it comes to tinge: 26 have names that are Pythonesque combinations of words like “social”, “democrat” and “workers”. “Even those who are not on the left do not call themselves the right,” says Jairo Nicolau, a psephologist at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
The aversion to anything that is labelled “right-wing” is a legacy of the country’s military dictatorship, which took power in a coup 50 years ago this week and only gave it up again in 1985. That is understandable, if not entirely fair. The military regime followed a set of policies—support for national champions, tolerance of cartels, trade protection, redistributive cash-transfer programmes and just a dash of macroeconomic orthodoxy to keep the markets sweet—that would not be out of place in left-leaning France.
For all their “progressive sugar-coating”, says Roberto Unger of Harvard University, parties in Brazil today more or less hew to this model. In that respect, he remarks, you could call them “conservative”.
Brazilians themselves are not a particularly leftie bunch. In November a poll by Datafolha, a research firm, found that nearly half hold right-wing views on social issues such as gun control or the death penalty, and just over a quarter have left-wing views. On economics the proportions are reversed. But that still leaves more than one Brazilian in four sceptical of state intervention, tax-and-spend policies and so on.
“Voters recoil at the term ‘conservative’ while embracing many of the ideas,” says Ronaldo Caiado, a member of the Democrats, one of two right-wing parties in Congress (the other disguises itself under the name the Progressive Party). Mr Caiado bashes government bloat, talks tough on crime and preaches traditional morals. His is a lonely lot in Brazil’s legislature.
Reinforcements may be on the way. João Amoêdo is founder and chairman of a freshly minted political outfit called Novo (“New”). Its platform of free markets, a minimal state, low taxes and individual liberties (including the right to bear arms) looks outlandish in comparison with the Brazilian political ideal of “tropical Sweden”, to use Mr Unger’s phrase. Mr Amoêdo, a financier in his day job, even dares utter the word “privatisation” in the context of national champions such of Petrobras, the state-controlled oil giant. Novo is just 20,000 notarised signatures shy of the 492,000 needed to register a party. They should be in by May, too late to field candidates in elections this October but, Mr Amoêdo hopes, not too late to put the size of the state on the agenda.
As Brazilians grow richer, more may feel they would rather conserve their gains than share them. Adriano Codato, a political scientist at the Federal University of Paraná, notes the emergence of a new self-styled ideological right, especially among bloggers and columnists. They have been electorally irrelevant until now, Mr Codato says, but this could change.