Dear Friends,

 

Brazil has a new president-elect: Jair Messias Bolsonaro.

The election of Jair Bolsonaro is a milestone in Brazil’s history, not only by breaking the decades-long polarization between PT and PSDB, but mainly because of his 10 million votes margin ahead of his opponent. A victory based on the campaign promises that result in a strong repositioning of Brazilian society. This is a shift towards the right-wing policies, a huge step regarding what we have experienced in the economy, domestic and foreign policy, education, culture, health and public safety.

In fact, our society’s disgust comes from the various crises we are going through. The economic crisis that devastated the country, with consequences so harmful to both employment and income, accompanied by rampant corruption, also stirred up the yearning to recover the morale of our people. Jair Bolsonaro represents this sentiment, that is, an alternative path to our ills; a point off the curve in relation to the politically correct and a hope of realignment of forces toward order and progress. Its little explored platform of government contains the essence of what is expected: not a savior of the fatherland, but a technical and honest government… enough to start up the reconstruction of Brazil.

On the side of structuring a technocratic government, it seems that we will have a government with “Superministers” – and all with full autonomy to assemble their teams. Among them we can cite Paulo Guedes (Economy), Marcos Pontes (Science and Technology), General Augusto Heleno (Defense) and Sérgio Moro (Justice), all with exemplary qualifications for future positions. This initial line-up does not deviate from the promises of the campaign, whilst also appealing to investors and improving expectations (stock market rises and Dollar, interest and country risk fall) and already changing the mood for the return of investments to the country. The honeymoon started well.

This phenomenon of the rise of the right in Brazil is not an isolated fact, no. In fact, we are “tagging along” forces that explain BREXIT, Donald Trump and, more recently, the direction Italy chose, among others. Fundamentally with different reasons, but with several points in common, Brazil will be an important “player” in this new political-economic world board, especially in Latin America. The new order is not always well received, and sometimes rejected with vigor. There are many interests to be opposed, and the very change itself carries insecurities and breakdowns of a diverse set of privileges. For this reason, and by evaluating the predecessor examples, the horizon does not show an easy path. Policy planning and steadiness must be strong, cohesive, and fine-tuned. Executive power can do a lot but has limits. Counting on Congress and convincing it of the needs of the country that economists and other technicians will present will not be an easy task, but combining strategies and capacity for political coordination, at variance past experience, will be fundamental. Thus, the quote recently remembered by the economist Eduardo Giannetti that opens this Commentary properly reflects the moment that we live: “Economists can be more naïve about politics than the politicians about the economy“.

 

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