Thursday, January 23, 2020

O autoritarismo centrista

O artigo tem por base Bloomberg nos EUA, mas parece-me que o raciocínio também poderá ser aplicado a Macron em França, p.ex..

Michael Bloomberg Has an Anti-Democratic Streak, por Jeet Heer, em The Nation:

The affinity of centrists with authoritarianism makes sense when we consider that people on the extreme ends of the political spectrum are likely to be wary of unchecked state power. They can easily imagine such power being used against them. Centrists like Bloomberg, who are safely ensconced in mainstream society and hold positions of high social status, are more likely to take an uncritical view of trampling on democratic norms, since they have the comfort of knowing that the authorities are unlikely to go after reputable figures.

Writing in The New York Times, political researcher David Adler cited comparative polling showing that “across Europe and North America, centrists are the least supportive of democracy, the least committed to its institutions and the most supportive of authoritarianism.” While it’s become commonplace to locate the authoritarian threat as a product of extremism, Adler found “evidence of substantial support for a ‘strong leader’ who ignores his country’s legislature, particularly among centrists. In the United States, centrists’ support for a strongman-type leader far surpasses that of the right and the left.”

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Efeitos (e vantagens) da democracia direta

 Direct Democracy and Local Public Goods: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia [PDF], por Benjamin A. Olken, na American Political Science Review,Vol. 104, No. 2, (Maio de 2010):

This  article  presents  an  experiment  in  which  49  Indonesian  villages  were  randomly  assigned to   choose   development   projects   through   either   representative-based   meetings   or   direct election-based plebiscites. Plebiscites resulted in dramatically higher satisfaction among villagers, increased knowledge about the project, greater perceived benefits, and higher reported willingness to contribute. Changing the political mechanism had much smaller effects on the actual projects selected, with some evidence that plebiscites resulted in projects chosen by women being located in poorer areas. The results suggest that direct participation in political decision making can substantially increase satisfaction and legitimacy.
Direct Democracy and Land Use Policy: Exchanging Public Goods for Development Rights [PDF], por Elisabeth R. Gerber and Justin H. Phillips, em Urban Studies, Vol. 41, No. 2, (Fev., 2004):
This study analyses the effects of one type of direct democracy—voter requirements for new development—on municipal growth. Analysing data from a sample of California communities, we consider the impact of voter requirements on the land use process and outcomes. We find that—in general—voter requirements fail to stop new development; property owners and developers can and do adapt to the constraints created by these direct democracy institutions. We also find, however, that voter requirements change the land use process in important ways. Specifically, they change the way developers interact with interest groups in the community and force developers to compensate current residents for enduring some of the negative aspects of growth.
Legislative Response to the Threat of Popular Initiative [link de acesso restrito], por Elisabeth Gerber, no American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Fev., 1996):
A spatial model of the policy process is used to identify conditions under which the threat of initiatives constrains legislative behavior. Legislators in states that allow initiatives are expected to pass laws that more closely reflect their state's median voter's preference than legislators in states that do not allow initiatives.
Direct Democracy: New Approaches to Old Questions [link de acesso restrito], por Arthur Lupia and John G. Matsusaka, na Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 7 (Junho de 2004):
We organize the discussion around four “old” questions that have long been at the heart of the direct democracy debate: Are voters competent? What role does money play? How does direct democracy affect policy? Does direct democracy benefit the many or the few? We find that recent breakthroughs in theory and empirical analysis paint a comparatively positive picture of the initiative and referendum. For example, voters are more competent, and the relationship between money and power in direct democracy is less nefarious, than many observers allege. More new studies show that the mere presence of direct democracy induces sitting legislatures to govern more effectively.
 [Via Shom Mazumder]

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

A morte do liberalismo (inglês?)

Como a direita liberal parece estar a desaparecer (pelo menos no mundo anglo-saxónico).

The Strange Death of Libertarian England, por Chris Dillow (suponho que em referência a este livro de 1935):
It wasn’t just the Labour party that took a beating in last month’s general election. So too, but much less remarked, did right-libertarianism.

The Tories won on policies that repudiated many of their professed beliefs: ahigher minimum wage; increased public spending; and the manpower planning that is a points-based immigration policy. And the manifesto (pdf) promise to “ensure that there is a proper balance between the rights of individuals, our vital national security and effective government” should also alarm libertarians. John Harris quotes an anonymous minister as saying that the libertarianism of Britannia Unchained is “all off the agenda” and that “some of the things we’ve celebrated have led us astray.”
Este post de Tyler Cowen, What libertarianism has become and will become — State Capacity Libertarianism, parece-me apontar no mesmo caminho, ainda que em tom entusiástico: o que ele me parece estar a defender é um liberalismo que aceita ou até defende qualquer intervenção do Estado desde que seja para beneficiar a economia e as empresas (só aquelas intervenções puramente redistributivas parecem ficar de fora); a passagem em que Cowen escreve que "A good strong state should see the maintenance and extension of capitalism as one of its primary duties, in many cases its #1 duty" parece-me o protótipo do "pro-business, not pro-market" (diga-se que isto parece-me muito a definição de "neoliberalismo" que o "ladrão de bicicletas" Alexandre Abreu dava há uns anos - afinal ele até teria alguma razão; já Simon Cook - vereador conservador numa pequena localidade inglesa - considerou o "state-capacity libertarianism" como os liberais adultos a tornarem-se conservadores mas sem puderem usar a palavra "conservador"; por outro lado, um dos comentadores ao artigo de Cowen respondeu "You've basically invented fascism").

Localizações de instituições públicas

Há muito que sou da opinião que a sede do Centro Hospitalar e Universitário do Algarve deveria ficar em Paderne (mesmo a meio caminho entre Portimão e Faro).

(o twitt acima é, suponho, a respeito da transferência da Câmara dos Lordes para York)

Monday, January 20, 2020

Reservas à "Teoria Monetária Moderna"

Uma crítica pela esquerda à TMM e também à "garantia universal de emprego".

Modern Monetary Theory Isn’t Helping, por Doug Henwood, na Jacobin:

Sometimes it’s really hard to figure out just what MMTers believe. Are they just saying, in very roundabout ways, that it’s okay for the federal government to run a small deficit in normal times and occasional big ones in crises like 2008? That would be hard for anyone but the most wicked austerity hound to disagree with.

Or is it that we shouldn’t worry about deficits at all?

Antifa contra o "gun control"

Antifa Seven Hills issued a lengthy statement after Vice News reported the group would be attending a rally to protest pending gun control legislation in front of the Virginia Capital in Richmond on January 20.

Vice reported that while conservative gun-rights activists and antifa appear to be "unlikely bedfellows," Antifa Seven Hills "believe they've got more in common with working-class white Virginians, regardless of their political bent" than many moderate Democrats.

According to Vice, the group opposes the new gun bills introduced by Democrats late last year because those kinds of laws are used "primarily to criminalize poor people, minorities and leftists."

The outlet said the "shared skepticism" of political moderates and authorities is the reason why Antifa Seven Hills views the rally as a chance to "extend an olive branch to other gun owners—at least those who don't align with the far-right militias or white supremacists who are also expected to show up to the event."

Atenção que "Antifa" não é uma organização, mas um nome genético atribuído a (ou usado por) vários grupos, largamente sem nada comparável a um comando central (ou seja, este artigo refere-se apenas a um grupo "antifa", não ao conjunto do movimento)

Friday, January 17, 2020

Islamismo e textualismo

Throughout Islamic history, there have been traditions that regarded some source of moral and spiritual knowledge other than the Qur’an and Hadith (e.g., philosophical reason, personal mystical inspiration, communal customs, etc.) as superior in authority to the Qur’an and Hadith, and on this basis happily engaged in and celebrated activities forbidden by the literal words of Qur’an and Hadith, such as wine-drinking (and wine-poems, and wine-cups inscribed with Qur’anic verses), figurative painting, a “positive valorization of idol-worship,” the “calling of God by the names of Hindu deities,” etc., etc. (...)

A final explanation offered by Ahmed appeals to an unfortunate accident of geography: “the rise in a relatively unimportant part of northern Arabia in the eighteenth century of Wahhābism,” a particularly rigid legalist-textualist form of Islam, “followed by the accession to power in the Arabian peninsula by the adherents of this movement in the early twentieth century, followed in turn by the discovery of copious quantities of the most strategically critical and financially lucrative modern commodity in the Arabian peninsula, the funds from which have entrenched the power of the Saʿūdī Wahhābī state and supported the propagation of [its] creed worldwide.”

A situação no Haiti seria considerada um "golpe de Estado" em grande parte do mundo

Exclusive: Haiti's Moise plans to use new powers to overhaul constitution (Reuters):

Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise, who began ruling by decree this week, wants to use his new power to overhaul the constitution in an attempt to break a “decades-long cycle of political crises,” a planned presidential statement seen by Reuters shows.
Isto parece ser tudo legal, mas quer a ideia da legislatura acabar sem novas eleições e a partir daí o presidente governar por decreto, quer sobretudo a do presidente aproveitar esses poderes adicionais para rever a Constituição parecem muito peculiares.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Os sonhos mudam em regimes autoritários?

How Dreams Change Under Authoritarianism, por Mireille Juchau, na New Yorker:

Not long after Hitler came to power, in 1933, a thirty-year-old woman in Berlin had a series of uncanny dreams. In one, her neighborhood had been stripped of its usual signs, which were replaced with posters that listed twenty verboten words; the first was “Lord” and the last was “I.” In another, the woman found herself surrounded by workers, including a milkman, a gasman, a newsagent, and a plumber. She felt calm, until she spied among them a chimney sweep. (In her family, the German word for “chimney sweep” was code for the S.S., a nod to the trade’s blackened clothing.) The men brandished their bills and performed a Nazi salute. Then they chanted, “Your guilt cannot be doubted.”

These are two of about seventy-five dreams collected in “The Third Reich of Dreams,” a strange, enthralling book by the writer Charlotte Beradt. Neither scientific study nor psychoanalytic text, “The Third Reich of Dreams” is a collective diary, a witness account hauled out of a nation’s shadows and into forensic light. The book was released, in Germany, in 1966; an English translation, by Adriane Gottwald, was published two years later but has since fallen out of print. (Despite ongoing interest from publishers, no one has been able to find Beradt’s heir, who holds the rights.) But the book deserves revisiting, not just because we see echoes today of the populism, racism, and taste for surveillance that were part of Beradt’s time but because there’s nothing else like it in the literature of the Holocaust. “These dreams—these diaries of the night—were conceived independently of their authors’ conscious will,” Beradt writes. “They were, so to speak, dictated to them by dictatorship.”

Imigração para o Canadá

Unskilled foreigners seek move to Canada (The Beaverton):

A British and American couple, both unemployed, are seeking to emigrate to Canada despite having no real skills to offer the country, early reports indicate.

British and American media have said that an American actor and her husband have the intention of living in the country on a semi-permanent or permanent basis. 

Sobre o acordo comercial EUA-China

Uma sucessão de posts de Brad Setser no Twitter.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Considerações sobre o controle das rendas

Considerations on Rent Control, por J. W. Mason:

Among economists, rent regulation seems be in similar situation as the minimum wage was 20 years ago. At that time, most economists  took it for granted that raising the minimum wage would reduce employment. Textbooks said that it was simple supply and demand — if you raise the price of something, people will buy less of it. But as more state and local governments raised minimum wages, it turned out to be very hard to find any negative effect on employment. This was confirmed by more and more careful empirical studies. Today, it is clear that minimum wages do not reduce employment. And as economists have worked to understand why not, this has improved our theories of the labor market.

Rent regulation may be going through a similar evolution today.