Sunday, June 3, 2018

Brazil: When Elected Politicians Fail

Brian Winter has been in Brazil, where a nationwide truckers' strike that has shut down much of the economy is the latest sign of political failure. The president, elected (of course) on a platform of fighting corruption, is under indictment for corruption, drug gangs have taken over whole neighborhoods in  the big cities, and nobody has much faith in politics:
Then I saw it. A huge banner, spanning the entire avenue, carried by a group of protesters:


And that was the start of a week where I saw and heard things I never believed I would in Brazil.

The Brazil of mid-2018 is a frightened, leaderless, shockingly pessimistic country. It is a country where four years of scandal, violence and economic destruction have obliterated faith in not just President Michel Temer, not just the political class, but in democracy itself. It is a country where there will be elections in October, but most voters profess little faith in any of the candidates. Given that vacuum, many Brazilians – perhaps 40 percent of them, according to a new private poll circulating among worried politicians – believe the military should somehow act to restore order. Amid this week’s strike, the clamor became so loud that both Temer and a senior military official had to publicly deny the possibility of an imminent coup.
Honestly the main thing keeping the army from taking over is that the generals have no clue what to do, either. It's a sad state for a country that a decade ago seemed on a strong upward path.

It's also a sign of the short memories that trouble humanity so often, since the last military government left office in disgrace after mismanaging pretty much everything.


Shadow said...

Corruption is a huge problem everywhere, and it's slowing turning people towards extremist alternatives -- corruption in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kazakstan, Nigeria (and elsewhere in Africa), the Middle East, Russia, Eastern Europe, South America, Central America. If the 2008 financial crisis in the U.S.wasn't the result of corruption, then that almost no one was prosecuted surely was.

G. Verloren said...

It's such a bizarre feedback loop.

Strong economies and prosperity for the masses are necessary to maintain stability. But once you have stability and prosperity, the wealthiest segments of society always seem to start undermining the economy and impoverishing the masses in the name of further enriching themselves through corruption.

The rich and powerful squeeze people for all they can, until the squeezed people take drastic action in hopes of something better. Then dark times typically abound for a while, people have to struggle and rebuild, and eventually you return to a strong economy and prosperity for the masses. Then the process repeats.

We're a predatory species preying upon itself.