Through the looking glass.
July 2, 2017 9:19 AM   Subscribe

US: Wow, our politics is bonkers right now! UK: Wanna bet? Brazil: Hold my caipirinha.
Brazil Needs to Look Beyond Scandal Reform is the only way to clean up government.
Charged with corruption, Brazil’s president could be saved by politicians also under suspicion.
In Brazil's crooked political game, is anybody playing fair? A search for an honest political player.
posted by adamvasco (20 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Starting over, I would recommend avoiding elections and consider a two-pronged approach. One half of the legislature would consist of lifetime appointments of semi-retired experts in their field (including science, law, humanities and economics), while the other half would be randomly selected from clean tax records for each legislative session, like a jury. They would essentially oversee everything through a stable civic management process unrelated to politics, holding nationwide votes on any major changes. Democracy only equates to elections in a direct sense, but in a representative sense, it fails quite noticeably the more cash that flows through it. In a future determined by hackers, religion and money, we only need to give up hope for elections, never for democracy. Same solution for Venezuela, Libya, etc.
posted by Brian B. at 10:44 AM on July 2, 2017 [7 favorites]


Read, and was gobsmacked, by the article linked in the buzzfeed article a bit back: Operation Car Wash: Is this the biggest corruption scandal in history? Corruption is not so much part of the system, it is the system.

One interesting detail... the cop whose job it was to arrest returning corrupt businessmen at the airport as the returned to the country started to appear on tv so often he became a national hero/celebrity.

There was also an interesting R4 program recently on Brazil's boom and bust economy and how the endemic political corruption played into that.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:54 AM on July 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


It's so depressing — once upon a time when Lula first won, there was such a great potential for Brazil to change the caricature of corrupt and authoritarian South American government. Now, change seems overwhelming
posted by mumimor at 11:11 AM on July 2, 2017 [4 favorites]


Same solution for Venezuela, Libya, etc.

everywhere really
posted by philip-random at 11:45 AM on July 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


Darrin Bell's not-officially-political comic strip "Candorville" recently made a way-too-cogent statement about interfering with foreign elections and how much it shaped the world today.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:39 PM on July 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


One half of the legislature would consist of lifetime appointments of semi-retired experts in their field

And who decides whose an expert? I mean, I know a number of engineers who consider themselves experts on biology, astronomy, ecology, and human evolution. Also, being an expert in something is no guarantee of competence in any other field, including governing, hell, including their own area of expertise. And being an expert is no guarantee that the person will have any consideration for human rights, racial or gender equality, or anything else.

Bottom line, give me control over the system that selects the "experts", and I'll define the legislature how I want it.
posted by happyroach at 2:35 PM on July 2, 2017 [15 favorites]


Semi retired experts also do not have such a great track record for avoiding crankery, especially as individuals...
posted by en forme de poire at 2:59 PM on July 2, 2017 [10 favorites]


Semi retired experts also do not have such a great track record for avoiding crankery, especially as individuals...

Relevant SMBC.
posted by MikeKD at 3:06 PM on July 2, 2017 [5 favorites]


So on the subject of the daffy proposal for technocratic dictatorship, I'll note for the record that that sort of thing is only popular among well-off liberals who don't understand that politics is about agonistic struggle between competing interest groups over limited resources; the sort of people who think that when we do politics we're all disinterestedly debating what course of action is best for all; in short, the sort of people who not only have never been exposed to the pointy end of power, but who cannot even imagine being exposed to the pointy end of power.

Technocratic liberalism presumes that the general solution to political problems is less politics — that everything will be fine if someone appoints nominally disinterested experts to adjudicate disputes over resources while telling the people they need not worry their pretty little heads about anything bigger than their own bank accounts. For my part I think that the solution to the problem of illegitimate parliaments worldwide is in fact more politics. Because oligarchs have turned electoral politics into a sham, there needs to be broad-based mass politics outside of electoral channels, with the aim being to establish democratic control over governmental institutions (and, indeed, over the economy itself).

The politicized masses should carry out this program by whatever means are most effective.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:14 PM on July 2, 2017 [22 favorites]


(can we talk about Brazil now?)
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:15 PM on July 2, 2017 [6 favorites]


This is a normal stage for a developing democracy to go through. What's a sign of progress here is that the investigations aren't being silenced. I'm sure somebody's trying, but so far they're failing. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, etc.

Next stage: Someone defends "honest graft". Companies get more circumspect about the precise means by which they buy off politicians. Business as usual in the bribery-free western democracies.

With some luck, maybe Brazil figures out a solution to the problem of bought politicians that will inspire the rest of us.
posted by clawsoon at 5:59 PM on July 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


[Deleted several that were just musing on democracy and technocrats in general; let's try to stay specific to Brazil.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 7:57 PM on July 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


The politicized masses should carry out this program by whatever means are most effective
Outside a French Revolution type of solution I don´t really see this happening as corruption is ingrained on so many levels especially if you are white and well off.
There is the environmental corruption by the agribiz lobby and the Police forces are a law unto themselves.
Of course the man at the top says says his corruption charge is 'fiction'.
For anyone interested Al Jazeera probably has the most consistant reporting on Brazil in the English language.
posted by adamvasco at 10:26 AM on July 3, 2017 [1 favorite]




Brazil faces new “lost decade” after taking two steps forward, one back … again
Opinion: The Fear in Brazil.
Perhaps “what is missing in Brazil is a power that fears the people.”
posted by adamvasco at 10:01 AM on July 12, 2017 [2 favorites]


Judge Sergio Moro has pretty well stopped ex president Lula from standing for office again by sentencing him to 10 tears imprisonment which is of course being appealed.
Meanwhile singing frankly about sex and life on the streets in the first person, Rio’s female funk singers are bringing the rough realities of the city’s toughest neighbourhoods to mainstream audiences and emboldening a new generation of young female artists.
posted by adamvasco at 3:46 PM on July 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


[One deleted. Please go ahead and post your pertinent links without tossing in derailing metacommentary about the site/mefites. If you want to talk about the site or site members, go to Metatalk.]
posted by taz (staff) at 6:53 AM on July 15, 2017


As momentum grows to remove Brazil's president, new pressure campaign sparks rage.
posted by adamvasco at 3:18 PM on July 16, 2017


Former President Lula's conviction shows that in Brazil it is impossible to govern without playing the corruption game.
posted by adamvasco at 6:03 AM on July 17, 2017


Rio de Janeiro's Party Is Over. Who Pays the Bill?
Mega-events and oil exploration were supposed to bring prosperity – instead, Rio de Janeiro is struggling to pay its debts.
posted by adamvasco at 6:16 AM on July 19, 2017


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