Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Liberdade, leis e opressão social

Ainda a respeito da polémica desencadeada por Ricardo Araújo Pereira, André Azevedo Alves argumenta no Observador que "[n]os dias que correm, defender a liberdade implica, cada vez mais, resistir à ofensiva do poderoso lobby LGBT. (...) Um bom exemplo desse ódio foram as reacções contra declarações do insuspeito Ricardo Araújo Pereira, em que este se terá queixado da crescente opressão do politicamente correcto nestes domínios".

Mas vamos lá ver - ao que me parece, o RAP não se queixou que fosse proibido (legalmente) fazer piadas a falar de mariconços (ou de coxos), mas sim que haveria um ambiente de pressão social que tornaria impossível ou muito difícil fazer isso. Da mesma maneira, nenhum dos comentadores (dos que eu li) que criticou RAP disse que deveria ser ilegal fazer anedotas que pudessem ser vistas como homofóbicas, apenas que os humoristas deveriam abster-se de o fazer (mesmo a Isabel Moreira, abertamente, foi isso que disse,  apesar das implicações mais ambíguas que se possam ver no texto dela).

Na mesma linha, a maior parte dos comentários feitos no post do Facebook de Miguel Vale de Almeida criticando o artigo de AAA (que AAA recomenda a leitura como ilustração prática da sua tese) são bastante violentos (inclusive dizendo que o Observador não devia publicar aqueles artigos), mas parece-me que só dois ou três falam em fazer queixa às autoridades.

Claro que isso levanta uma questão (que, na minha opinião, deveria ser mais discutida do que tem sido nestas polémicas sobre o "politicamente correto") - até que ponto um ambiente de pressão social generalizada não poderá ser quase tão opressivo como as leis do Estado (ou talvez até mais - afinal, não é raro que quando uma coisa seja proibida por lei mas não seja alvo de sanção social, a lei acabe na prática por ser ignorada: como aquela taxa que nos anos 80 se pagava pela televisão ou conduzir a mais 10 kms que o limite de velocidade; mesmo a proibição do aborto ou do consumo de haxixe - quando eram crimes - andavam perto disso, só ocasionalmente dando origem a processos)?

A respeito disso, Henry David Thoreau escrevia, n'A Vida sem Principio:

Mesmo admitindo que o norte-americano tenha se livrado do tirano político, ele ainda é escravo de um tirano económico e moral (...). Não consideramos este país a terra dos homens livres? Que significa ser livre do poder do rei Jorge e continuar escravo do rei Preconceito ?
Ou John Stuart Mill, em On Liberty:
Like other tyrannies, the tyranny of the majority was at first, and is still vulgarly, held in dread, chiefly as operating through the acts of the public authorities. But reflecting persons perceived that when society is itself the tyrant — society collectively over the separate individuals who compose it — its means of tyrannizing are not restricted to the acts which it may do by the hands of its political functionaries. Society can and does execute its own mandates; and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself. Protection, therefore, against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough; there needs protection also against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling, against the tendency of society to impose, by other means than civil penalties, its own ideas and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them; to fetter the development and, if possible, prevent the formation of any individuality not in harmony with its ways, and compel all characters to fashion themselves upon the model of its own. There is a limit to the legitimate interference of collective opinion with individual independence; and to find that limit, and maintain it against encroachment, is as indispensable to a good condition of human affairs as protection against political despotism.
Mas, a ser assim, acho que temos uma curiosa inversão dos alinhamentos tradicionais: usualmente era a esquerda que dizia que, mesmo que possa haver liberdade legal, o peso das tradições sociais e/ou da dependência económica (p.ex., o risco de ser despedido) pode limitar grandemente essa suposta liberdade (creio que era isso que consistiam as teses da Escola de Frankfurt e afins sobre "personalidade autoritária", "tolerância repressiva", "unidimensionalidade", etc.); já à direita é que era mais frequente dizer-se que desde que o Estado não te proíba, és livre (à partida diria que essa posição vinha acima de tudo dos liberais socialmente conservadores - que pretendem uma combinação de Estado não-intervencionista com uma sociedade em que os "valores tradicionais" sejam predominantes; já entre liberais socialmente "progressistas" - a começar talvez pelo Thoreau e o Mill e a acabar em muitos auto-proclamados "liberais espessos" - é mais comum a ideia de que as convenções sociais também podem ser opressivas; quanto a conservadores não-liberais, penso que não perdem muito tempo a discutir sobre se as convenções sociais são ou não restritivas da liberdade - suponho que o raciocinio deles seja algo "e se forem?"). Mas nas polémicas sobre o "politicamente correto" parece-me ser mais frequente ser a direita (e/ou os conservadores culturais, o que não é exatamente a mesma coisa) a queixar-se da alegada "tirania do politicamente correto" (mesmo, parece-me, em situações em que essa suposta "tirania" não vem do Estado), e cada vez mais se vê a esquerda a argumentar que desde que não haja nenhuma proibição oficial de dizer isto ou aquilo, não há problema nenhum (ou será que é exatamente por isso que esta questão da "pressão social" não é tão discutida como eu acho que deveria ser? Porque nenhum dos lados se sente confortável em evidenciar esta contradição?)

[Já agora, a respeito de aparentes trocas de posição, recomendo o texto Brendan Eich and the New Moral Majority, por William Saleton, na Slate, sobre a demissão mais ou menos forçada de Brendan Eich de CEO da Mozilla, depois de se saber que ele tinha doado dinheiro para uma campanha para abolir o casamento homossexual; o autor afirma que os argumentos usados para pressionar Eich a se demitir foram os mesmos que durante décadas foram usados para justificar o despedimento de homossexuais: "ele não se integra", "os clientes e os outros empregados não se sentem à vontade", etc.]

Agora, acho que há duas questões (pelo menos) que se podem levantar acerca disso:

Primeiro, será possível uma situação em que há censura social mas não restrições legais? Ou será que, a partir do momento em que, numa dada sociedade, um dado comportamento (como a homossexualidade ou a homofobia) é socialmente repudiado, é uma questão de tempo até surgirem leis contra esse comportamento?

Segundo, será possível uma situação sem censura social, ou será que a diminuição da censura social sobre uma coisa está forçosamente ligada a mais censura social sobre outra (isto é, combater a censura social contra X implica praticar censura social contra Z)?

Para explicar melhor o que quero dizer, vamos pensar num exemplo que não corresponda a divisão ideológica no mundo real (para pudermos refletir objetivamente no assunto, sem sermos influenciados por clubismos políticos) - p.ex., usar óculos modelo aviador (ou então, para referir algo que foi realmente atacado há uns meses, cargo shorts - como é que isto se diz em português?).

Vamos imaginar que existia um ambiente de censura social generalizada contra o uso de óculos modelo aviador, que era opinião generalizada, frequentemente repetida em todo o sítio, que eram uns foleiros, que viviam mentalmente no princípio dos anos 80, que eram serial killers em potência, que nos lugares que que é "reservado o direito de admissão" eram impedidos de entrar, que nas entrevistas de emprego quem usasse esses óculos era imediatamente posto de parte, etc. e que era frequente alguém que usasse esses óculos, quando finalmente arranjasse um emprego, ser praticamente obrigado pelas colegas de trabalho (via sessões diárias de "quando é que mudas de óculos?") a mudar de óculos.

Agora vamos imaginar que, finalmente, um grupo de utilizadores desses óculos e de "aliados" decidem que é tempo de contra-atacar - consistindo esse contra ataque em artigos indignados nas redes sociais sempre que alguém escreve ou diz qualquer coisa contra os óculos modelo aviador, boicotes e listas negras contra as empresas que discriminam pessoas por usarem óculos modelo aviador, e provavelmente criando as palavras "oculosdeaviadorofóbico" e "imagengista" para designar os seus adversários (e, já que estamos numa de boicotes, boicotando os meios de comunicação que propagam a oculosdeaviadorofobia).

Face a esse contra-ataque, alguns poderiam queixar-se "já não se pode dizer nada"; mas essa perseguição (e repito que estou falando apenas de perseguição ao nível da sociedade civil, não de leis) aos oculosdeaviadorofóbicos teria por objetivo, exatamente, contrariar uma situação em que "já não se pode usar os óculos de que se gosta".

[Post publicado no Vias de Facto; podem comentar lá]

Thursday, December 22, 2016

O Google e o Holocausto

Na ultima semana, eclodiu uma espécie de micro-escândalo porque clicar no Google "Did the Holocaut Happen" dava uma lista de links que tinha em primeiro lugar um link para um site neo-nazi dizendo que o Holocausto não tinha existido (digo "micro" porque ninguém ligou a isso, mas os que ligaram trataram o assunto como um escândalo).

Num site português que deu azo ao tal "escândalo" até vieram com uma conversa um bocado absurda a queixar-se de que a primeira resposta que o Google dava à pergunta "Did the Holocaut Happen" era um link negando o Holocausto. Eu digo que a conversa é absurda por uma razão - o Google não é o Quora, ou a secção de perguntas do Yahoo; o Google não dá "resposta" a perguntas - o Google é um motor de busca, que indica sites que contenham as palavras indicadas no campo de pesquisa; se o tal site neo-nazi tem efetivamente as palavras pesquisados, os resultados do Google são exatamente o que o utilizador estava a pedir - sites com as palavras "Did", "the", "Holocaust" e "Happen" (talvez o utilizador não tenha consciência do que está a pedir, e julgue que está a obter a resposta a uma pergunta - a mania que noto que alguns utilizadores têm de preencher o campo de pesquisa com uma pergunta formulada em "linguagem natural" levanta efetivamente essa suspeita - mas os utilizadores também têm que ter um mínimo de noção do que estão a fazer - se alguém vai a uma loja de ferramentas comprar pastéis de nata...).

Entretanto, parece que o Google fez qualquer coisa para que esse site deixasse de aparecer em primeiro; para as pessoas que se calhar estejam contentes com isso, pensem nas implicações: quanto mais a ordem dos resultados nas buscas do Google derivar de decisões humanas (vamos por este site para cima, vamos por aquele para baixo...) e menos de um algoritmo matemático funcionando automaticamente, mais poder tem que controle o Google para controlar aquilo que nós lemos ou deixamos de ler.

É verdade que se pode argumentar que o Google já tem esse poder - afinal, nenhum de nós sabe verdadeiramente se o motor de busca realmente segue o tal algoritmo (que é, creio, parcialmente secreto), pelo que já podem estar perfeitamente a dar-nos resultados pré-fabricados às pesquisas que fazemos, nomeadamente sobre assuntos que possam ser considerados sensíveis. Mas creio o Google começar a fazer isso abertamente em certos casos aumenta a possibilidade de uma manipulação generalizada - quando a manipulação é secreta, há sempre um certo cuidado de se evitar que se saiba (inclusive por via de whistleblowers), e portanto uma tendência para a fazer em dose reduzida; a partir do momento em que se admite que há uma ponderação humana na ordenação dos resultados, essa barreira psicológica, chamemos-lhe assim, desaparece.

Já agora, uma coisa que já há muito me irrita no Google: quando eu faço uma pesquisa sobre, digamos, AAAA, BBBB e CCCC, e aparecem-me entre os resultados links que referem só AAAA e CCCC (indicado que BBBB não é referido nesse site), obrigando-me a por BBBB entre aspas para ter mesmo só resultados em que BBBB apareça - vamos lá ver, se eu pesquisei pelas três palavras, é porque quero resultados com essas três palavras, não é? Não têm que me dar resultados só com duas e obrigarem-me a truques para ter os resultados que quero.

[Post publicado no Vias de Facto; podem comentar lá]

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

"Pobreza", "Islamismo", etc.

- A [característica X] está associada ao [comportamento Y]
- Grande parte, ou mesmo a maior parte, das pessoas com a [característica X] não têm o [comportamento Y]

Dá-me a ideia que, conforme a [característica X] é económica ou cultural, a discussão inverte-se completamente (em quem diz cada coisa).

Ainda o colégio eleitoral norte-americano

Some Additional Thoughts on the Faithless, por Steven Taylor (Outside the Beltway):

Prior to 2000, I thought that an electoral college/popular vote inversion would result in voters being shocked about an institution they paid little attention to and that would lead to serious calls to change it. But, of course, that proved to be incorrect. The bottom line is that a) we have an unhealthy reverence for anything that we can attribute to the Founding Fathers, b) those same Fathers made changing the system almost impossible, and c) the winners of any system have no incentive to change that system. (...)

As much as I think that the EC should be replaced with a popular vote system, I cannot see a pathway that leads to its demise save a situation in which the Republicans also fear winning the popular vote and losing the EC as well.  The thing is:  the electoral advantage in terms of actual voters belongs to Democrats:  consider that from 1992 to the present (almost a quarter century), the Republicans have only won the most popular votes once, and that was in 2004.  They lost in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2008, 2012, and in 2016.  And yet, in that same time-span, they have won the presidency twice.  Why?  Because of the electoral college.  They do not have any incentive to get rid of it.

"Estou muito atarefado" - símbolo de posição social

Research: Why Americans Are So Impressed by Busyness, por Silvia BellezzaNeeru Paharia e Anat Keinan (Harvard Business Review):

“What is a ‘weekend?’” Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, famously asked during the first season of Downton Abbey, set in 1912. The joke, of course, is that the Dowager Countess is too aristocratic to even recognize the concept of a week divided between work and leisure. Consistent with this portrayal, Thorstein Veblen, one of the biggest theorists on status signaling, suggested in 1899 that living a leisurely life and not working (what he refers to as “conspicuous abstention from labor”) is the most powerful way to signal one’s status in the eyes of others. This makes sense: if you are very wealthy, you can afford as much leisure as you wish.

Fast-forward to the 21st century and hop across the Atlantic. In today’s America, complaining about being busy and working all the time is so commonplace most of us do it without thinking. If someone asks “How are you?” we no longer say “Fine” or “I’m well, thank you.” We often simply reply “Busy!” (...)

Busyness and lack of leisure are also being more celebrated in the media. Advertising, often a barometer of social norms, used to feature wealthy people relaxing by the pool or on a yacht (e.g., Cadillac’s “The Only Way to Travel” campaign in the 90’s). Today, those ads are being replaced with ads featuring busy individuals who work long hours and have very limited leisure time. For example, recall Cadillac’s 2014 Super Bowl commercialfeaturing a busy and leisure-deprived businessman lampooning those who enjoy long vacations.

Intrigued by this phenomenon, we decided to conduct a series of studies to examine how signaling busyness at work influences perceptions of status in the eyes of others. (...)

In general, we found that the busy person is perceived as high status

Against Busyness, por Chris Dillow:
A nice post at the HBR blog by Silvia Bellezza, Neeru Paharia and Anat Keinan describes how being busy is now celebrated as a symbol of high status.

This is not natural. Marshall Sahlins has shown that in hunter-gather societies (which were the human condition for nine-tenths of our existence) people typically worked for only around 20 hours a week (pdf). In pre-industrial societies, work was task-oriented; people did as much as necessary and then stopped. (...)

The backward-bending supply curve of labour was normal.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Bernie teria ganho?

Bernie Sanders Would Have Lost the Election in a Landslide, por Kevin Drum (Mother Jones)


Bernie Woulda Lost, por Kevin Drum

Uma passagem do texto de Gellman:
My guess would be that Sanders’s ideological extremism could’ve cost the Democrats a percentage or two of the vote. So, yes, a priori, before the campaign, I’d say that Hillary Clinton was the stronger general election candidate. And I agree with Drum that, just as lots of mud was thrown at Clinton, the Russians would’ve been able to find some dirt on Sanders too.

But here’s the thing. Hillary Clinton won the election by 3 million votes. Her votes were just not in the right places. Sanders could’ve won a million or two votes less than Clinton, and still won the election. Remember, John Kerrylost to George W. Bush by 3 million votes but still almost won in the Electoral College—he was short just 120,000 votes in Ohio.

So, even if Sanders was a weaker general election candidate than Clinton, he still could’ve won in this particular year.

Or, to put it another way, Donald Trump lost the presidential vote by 3 million votes but managed to win the election because of the vote distribution. A more mainstream Republican candidate could well have received more votes—even a plurality!—without winning the electoral college.

The 2016 election was just weird, and it’s reasonable to say that (a) Sanders would’ve been a weaker candidate than Clinton, but (b) in the event, he could’ve won.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Discutindo o PKK e Rojava

The New-Old PKK e A Commune in Rojava?, por Alex de Jong

Analysing the PKK: a reply to Alex de Jong, por Phil Hearse e Sarah Parker

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Friday, December 16, 2016

Intervenção na Síria


Tal como nas polémicas sobre o banco alimentar contra a fome, uns defendem o papel do estado e outros preferem o voluntariado.

Em defesa das "políticas da identidade"

No, “Identity Politics” Didn’t Elect Trump, por Kevin Carson (Center for a Stateless Society):

In all the damage assessments and recriminations following the presidential election, one theme I’ve seen way too much of is blaming Trump’s victory on “political correctness.” One person blamed the Left for “demonizing white men” for the past eight years instead of focusing on economic and class issues. Another clutched his pearls about what a dumb strategic move it was to dismiss most of Trump’s supporters as “deplorables.” And at Reason, human dumpster fire Robby Soave — whose shtik seems to be retyping old Reed Irvine and Dinesh D’Souza screeds with his name on them — literally lays the blame for Trump at the feet of campus speech codes, trigger warnings and safe spaces. (No, if anything defeated Clinton it was stay-at-home Democratic voters disgusted by a Democratic Party that embraced way too many of the same neoliberal — not genuinely libertarian — economic policies favored by Reason.)

(...)

But the cultural Right’s sense of grievance is utter nonsense. For people who complain so much about the “politics of victimhood,” they play the victim card better than anybody else.
Long ago, as a child, I can remember hearing old folks complain that “this country’s been going to pot ever since all these people started screaming about their ‘rights.'” And that’s still the attitude of those who talk about “taking our country back.”

Whatever they think of marginalized people demanding their rights, they sure aren’t modest about the rights they claim for themselves. They think they have the right to decide what languages people speak, what religious garb they wear, who they marry, and what bathrooms they go to. And when they talk about PC as an assault on their freedom, what they’re referring to is their freedom to prohibit other people from doing things they disapprove of. You can’t even say “Happy Holidays” to them without them whining about a “War on Christmas.” For all their mockery of “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings,” they’re the most emotionally fragile and easily offended people in existence. (...)

On top of all this, treating the concerns of marginalized people as secondary for the sake of anti-fascist unity is really stupid from a purely strategic point of view. The fight for basic human rights for justice by people of color, women, LGBT people and immigrants isn’t a ruling class strategy to divide the producing classes. Rosa Parks didn’t refuse to give up her seat, the people at Stonewall didn’t decide to stand up and fight, because they’d been paid by elites to do so. But racism, sexism and homophobia themselves really are ruling class weapons to divide us against each other. It isn’t marginalized people fighting for their dignity, their very existence, who are being “divisive” and playing into the hands of the capitalist ruling class. The divisive ones, the dupes of the ruling class, are the people who would vote for a fascist just out of spite for having to coexist with people they disapprove of. (...)

Abandoning marginalized people is also strategically stupid because it was marginalized people themselves, alienated by Clinton’s neoliberalism, who were some of the most likely voters to stay home and vote third party. A lot of ardent Clinton supporters liked to frame the left-wing opposition to HRC as “privileged white males.” But the people doing this framing were themselves disproportionately the upper-middle-class white professional types who are the demographic core of establishment liberalism. To the extent that they adhered to any kind of racial or gender politics, it was the outmoded 1970s model of one-dimensional “identity politics” that focused exclusively on putting women and People of Color into the existing power structures, and ignoring class issues, rather than dismantling the power structures themselves.

Who’s Afraid of Identity Politics?, por Jonathan Dean (LSE Blogs):

Amidst the recriminations and collective shock in the face of Trump’s victory (and the myriad other reverses suffered by progressives in 2016), a consensus is emerging: the weakness of the left is attributable to its embrace of “identity politics”. Rather than focussing on the interests and priorities of the majority, the story goes, the left has for too long embraced a simplistic and sectional politics in which the interests of racial and sexual minorities have taken centre stage, at the expense popularity and electability. (...)

But what, precisely, is this “identity politics” that inspires such animosity? At a basic level, “identity politics” refers to any politics that seeks to represent and/or advance the claims of a particular social group. But in the narratives outlined above, it has a more specific meaning: in left circles, “identity politics” is, as Nancy Fraser pointed out back in 1998, used largely as a derogatory term for feminism, anti-racism and anti-heterosexism. The implication was – and very often still is – that gender, race and sexuality are identity-based in the sense that they are seen as flimsy, superficial and, to use Judith Butler’s memorable phrase, ‘merely cultural’. This, of course, is to be contrasted with its constitutive outside, class. Class relations, in the eyes of the identity politics critic, exhibit a depth, profundity and materiality that ‘mere identity’ lacks. Furthermore, the alleged universalism of class is contrasted with the narrow, sectional concerns characteristic of so-called identity politics.

But what, precisely, is wrong with this framing of the problem? For one, the implied distinction between “identity” (read: narrow, shallow, self-interested) and “class” politics (read: broad, deep, universal, authentic) misconstrues the character of these different strands of progressive politics, in at least three ways. First, all forms of politics arguably involve some kind of appeal to an identity, insofar as, to use the language of political theorist Michael Saward, they entail claims to speak for a politically salient constituency (and thus an “identity” of sorts). This applies as much to “class” as any other dimension of power and identity. Indeed, as Gurminder Bhambra has argued in a recent piece for The Sociological Review, these appeals to “class” are quintessential identity politics: they appeal to an identity category – the (presumed white) working class – whose interests have been shamefully neglected by elitist, out of touch leftists and liberals. The question is not, therefore, universalism or identitarianism, but whether or not we acknowledge the “identitarian” character of our political claims. Something akin to this is eloquently described by James Clifford in a 1999 essay entitled ‘Taking Identity Politics Seriously’, where he argues that ‘opposition to the special claims of racial or ethnic minorities often masks another, unmarked ‘identity politics’, an actively sustained historical positioning and possessive investment in Whiteness’. (...)


hird, a frankly bewildering inference made by Kinnock, Žižek et al is that the left in its various guises has spent its time of late doggedly pursuing the interests of women, sexual minorities and racial minorities. The reality, however, is that left-wing movements and political parties in the UK and US have an at best patchy track records on race, gender and sexuality, as recent scholarship by the likes of Janet Conway, Julia Downes, Lara Coleman and Abigail Bakan make clear. All the way from the moderate liberal left to the radical Marxist left, race, gender and sexuality continue to be cast as minority concerns at best, and “bourgeois distractions” at worst, while sexism and misogyny (including, but not limited to, the sexual abuse of women comrades) remain depressingly prevalent across a variety of left spaces. (...)

Let us, therefore, not be under any illusions about how these dismissals of “identity politics” function: they are, in effect, a kind of dog whistle to those on the left who might, for instance, agree that black lives matter, but ultimately believe that when push comes to shove it is the (white male) working class that matters more. As others have pointed out, this is tantamount to being called upon to sacrifice a range of constituencies – women, racial minorities, queers, immigrants (and at times perhaps also trans people, non-binary and gender non-conforming folk, sex workers) – on the altar of political expediency. Putting aside any doubts as to whether this would actually work in terms of galvanising electoral support, this is clearly a morally bankrupt form of politics.

Cooperativas e recuperação económica

Can Cooperative Businesses Save Communities?, por Matthew Robare (The American Conservative):

Nearly a decade after the beginning of the Great Recession, the economic recovery has been concentrated in a few sectors and a few places, mostly fields in technology and in coastal cities. Many Americans have been left behind in jobs with stagnating wages, while rising housing costs prevent them from moving. To stabilize their communities and rebuild the household wealth lost in the financial crisis, many Americans—particularly those in once decaying inner city neighborhoods—are turning to the model of co-operative businesses, which emphasize joint ownership by workers and democratic management.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Tráfico de seres humanos, exploração laboral e seuxal

Há tempos, o Público tinha um artigo sobre o tráfico de seres humano em Portugal e o este ser maioritariamente destinado à exploração laboral (isto é, trabalho mais ou menos escravo, pelo que me parece):

Os casos de tráfico de seres humanos mais registados em Portugal estão relacionados com a exploração laboral, nomeadamente no sector agrícola, disse à Lusa a directora do Observatório do Tráfico de Seres Humanos (OTSH).

"Em Portugal, como noutros países, o que tem sido mais registado e também mais identificado é o tráfico para fins de exploração laboral, nomeadamente no sector agrícola", disse Rita Penedo, em entrevista à agência Lusa, a propósito do Dia Internacional contra o Tráfico de Pessoas, que se assinala no sábado. (...)

Apesar disso, os jornalistas não resistiram em mudar o assunto para os casos de exploração sexual:

Relativamente à União Europeia (UE) mais de 15 mil pessoas foram vítimas de tráfico humano em 2013/2014, mas "o número real é susceptível de ser substancialmente mais elevado", reconhece o último relatório da Comissão Europeia sobre o tema.

O último relatório da Comissão Europeia sobre os progressos realizados em matéria de luta contra o tráfico de seres humanos conclui que, entre 2013 e 2014, o período mais recente objecto de análise, 15.846 mulheres, homens, meninas e meninos foram vítimas de tráfico na UE, mas apenas 6.324 pessoas tiveram contacto oficial com a polícia ou com o sistema de justiça penal.

De acordo com o relatório, o tráfico de seres humanos para efeitos de exploração sexual continua a ser a forma mais comum (67 por cento das vítimas), seguindo-se o tráfico para exploração laboral (21 por cento).

Mais de três quartos das vítimas registadas eram mulheres, percentagem que sobe para 95 por cento no caso da exploração sexual, "uma das tendências que aumentou mais acentuadamente", segundo o relatório.

"Estamos particularmente preocupados com as mulheres e crianças, sobretudo para exploração sexual", reconhece a coordenadora da União Europeia contra o tráfico de seres humanos.

Em entrevista à Lusa, via telefone, a propósito do Dia Mundial Contra o Tráfico, que as Nações Unidas assinalam a 30 de Julho, Myria Vassiliadou assinala que, por outro lado, "a maioria dos traficantes e certamente todos os clientes são homens".

Imagino que essa conversa do "certamente todos os clientes são homens" se refira à exploração sexual - não vejo porque razão as pessoas que são escravizadas em plantações agrícolas não hão de poder estar a trabalhar para uma mulher em vez de para um homem.

Agora, qual o porquê de em Portugal o tráfico humano ser predominantemente laboral, mas no conjunto (suponho que da União Europeia) seja predominantemente sexual?

Isso talvez se prenda com algo que também me parece misterioso - os relatórios da OIT[PDF] sobre trabalho forçado a nível mundial dizem que há 3 vezes mais casos de exploração laboral do que de exploração sexual - "Of the total number of 20.9 million forced labourers, 18.7 million (90%) are exploited in the private economy, by individuals or enterprises. Out of these, 4.5 million (22%) are victims of forced sexual exploitation, and 14.2 million (68%) are victims of forced labour exploitation in economic activities, such as agriculture, construction, domestic work or manufacturing". Já o relatório da ONU[PDF] sobre tráfico de pessoas diz que 53% dos casos são para exploração sexual - "Looking first at the broader global picture, some 53 percent of the victims detected in 2011 were subjected to sexual exploitation, whereas forced labour accounted forabout 40 per cent of the total number of victims for whomthe form of exploitation was reported". Atendendo que, à partida, não há grande diferença entre os conceitos de "tráfico humano" e de "trabalho forçado" (há algumas - mulheres casadas à força é tráfico humano mas não é trabalho forçado; presos obrigados a trabalhar é trabalho forçado, mas não é tráfico humano - mas não me parece que possam afetar tanto as estatísticas), essa diferença é algo surpreendente.

Parece que a explicação mais provável seja que os países que criminalizam a prostituição (como os EUA ou a Suécia) provavelmente considerem todos os casos de prostituição (ou pelos menos de prostituição de imigrantes) como "tráfico humano", mesmo no caso da prostituição não coerciva, que não é "trabalho forçado" (possivelmente muitas vezes as leis sobre tráfico humano, depois de falarem de coação, violência, fraude, etc. têm cláusulas adicionais incluindo "com o objetivo de cometer algum crime previsto no capítulo tantos do código penal") - assim, explicará que haja poucos casos de tráfico humano para exploração sexual em Portugal (já que cá a prostituição não é ilegal).

Um artigo adicional sobre um exemplo da tendência para se misturar as duas coisas.

Debate sobre a anarquia - James Scott, David Friedman e Robert Ellickson



[Via Jesse Walker]

A opinião de David Friedman (filho de Milton) sobre a discussão - Two Visions of Anarchy–My Exchange With James Scott

Saturday, December 10, 2016

História económica de outro ponto de vista íntimo

A respeito deste post de Jorge Costa n'O Insurgente, tenho a ideia que os meus pais (nascidos em 1943 e 1947, vivendo em Moçambique entre 1968 e 1975, e no Algarve antes e depois disso) costumam dizer que isto era um “atraso de vida” e que o grande desenvolvimento que viram foi a partir dos anos 70.

[Talvez fosse interessante alguém fazer um estudo do crescimento económico *por região* ao longo dessas décadas; talvez isso explicasse muito coisa, talvez até da geografia política do país]

Friday, December 09, 2016

Evolução de opiniões sobre a liberdade de expressão

A respeito deste post de José Carlos Alexandre, fui tentar ver qual a evolução das opiniões ao longo do tempo sobre a liberdade de expressão.

Talvez o mais relevante fosse ir ver os dados para Portugal ou então para o conjunto do mundo "ocidental", mas o mais prático é ir mesmo ver para os Estados Unidos, usando o General Social Survey (para Portugal ou para o "Ocidente" talvez se pudesse usar o World Values Survey, mas eu não sei mexer nisso).

Para quem não sabe, o GSS é um inquérito com montes de perguntas que é feito, normalmente, de 2 em 2 anos nos EUA.

Monday, December 05, 2016

11 anos do Vento Sueste

Este blogue começou há 11 anos, a 5 de dezembro de 2005.

Assim, como de costume, vou fazer uma recapitulação de alguns posts publicados ao longo deste ano:

  • O Inverno árabe era inevitável?, sobre se os sistemas eleitorais adotados (proporcional na Tunísia, maioritário no Egito, misto na Líbia) poderão ter tido consequências no desfecho de cada uma das revoluções (que só na Tunísia deu origem a uma democracia) 

Os limites da redistribuição a favor dos "perdedores" do comércio livre

Desperately Searching For A New Strategy, por Tim Duy:

The dry statistics on trade aren’t working to counter Trump. They make for good policy at one level and terrible policy (and politics) at another. The aggregate gains are irrelevant to someone suffering a personal loss. Critics need to find an effective response to Trump. I don’t think we have it yet. And here is the hardest part: My sense is that Democrats will respond by offering a bigger safety net. But people don’t want a welfare check. They want a job. And this is what Trump, wrongly or rightly, offers.
[Via Economist's View]

A título ilustrativo da posição pró-comércio livre e pró-redistribuição, temos, por exemplo, este artigo do Luís Aguiar-Conraria, Contra um mundo infestado de Trumps.

Pode ser que eu ainda escreva alguma coisa sobre isto, mas provavelmente não (já que não tenho muita certeza que esses problemas tenham realmente solução...).

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Afinal, talvez as sondagens tenham mesmo falhado

Talvez contrariando o que escrevi aqui e aqui, parece que afinal terá mesmo havido um erro na elaboração das sondagens para as eleições norte-americana: ao que consta, a maior parte das sondagens escolheram a amostra de acordo com as habilitações académicas e de acordo com a etnia, mas não de acordo com as habilitações académicas e etnia - isto é, entrevistaram um número proporcional de eleitores sem formação universitária e um número proporcional de eleitores brancos, mas não um número proporcional de eleitores brancos sem formação universitária, tendo esse grupo sido sub-representado nas sondagens (imagino que as minorias étnicas com formação universitária também tenham estado sub-representadas, mas, ao contrário do que se passa entre os brancos, penso que nas minorias étnicas não há grande diferença de comportamento eleitoral entre os com e sem formação universitária).

Pollsters Probably Didn’t Talk To Enough White Voters Without College Degrees, por Nate Silver

Survey weighting and that 2% swing, por Andrew Gelman

Ainda a "classe trabalhadora" norte-americana - recordações dos anos 70 (III)

Ainda sobre este assunto, um artigo de 1972, Unions vs. Workers in the Seventies: The Rise of Militancy in the Auto Industry, por Martin Glaberman (um ex-operário da industria automóvel e ativista da "tendência Johnson-Forest", uma dissidência do "shachtmanismo", que por sua vez foi a dissidência do trotskismo que também deu origem ao neoconservadorismo):

The Detroit Free Press published the following report in August 1970:
Some 46 percent of General Motors’ hourly workers are below age 35. They have never known a depression, they have had more schooling than the man who lived through the last one, and they aren’t impressed by the old Spartan idea that hard, repetitive work is a virtue. They are less responsive to authority than even the men who seized the flint GM plants in the historic 1936-1937 sit-down strikes.
That is precisely the background against which discontent is surfacing throughout the industry today, discontent that has reached its most advanced stage in the auto industry.
The formation of the CIO in the 1930s settled once and for all the idea that owners or managers or stockholders had the right to run their plants any way they saw fit. (...)

When Ford fell to the union in 1941, both the check-off and full time for union committeemen were incorporated into the contract. But the apparent victories only created more problems. Workers wanted full time for union representatives to get them out from under company pressures and discrimination. Getting elected steward often got you the worst job in a department and stuck away in a corner where you couldn’t see what was happening.

But full time for stewards did more than relieve union representatives from company pressure-it ended up by relieving representatives from workers’ pressure. The steward is less available than he was before, and you have to have your foreman go looking for him should you happen to need him .

The check-off produced a similar situation. Designed to keep the company from pressuring weaker workers to stay out of the union even though they were sharing in its benefits, the check-off ended up reducing worker pressure on the union officials.

No longer does the steward have to listen to workers’ complaints each month as he goes round collecting the dues. Once a month the dues are delivered in one huge check from the company to the union and the worker never sees his dues payment. (...)

And with the Reuther administration the union moved to participate directly in the management and discipline of workers in production. All through the fifties, with intensive automation and decentralization going on in the auto industry, the union collaborated in crushing the numerous wildcat strikes, in getting rid of the most militant workers, in establishing labor peace in the industry. (...)

The situation has not improved since then. GM complains that the number of grievances in its plants has grown from 106,000 in 1960 to 256,000 in 1699 or 60 for each 100 workers.

What are these specific local grievances? They involve production standards: the speed of a line, the rate on a machine, the number of workers assigned to a given job, the allowable variations in jobs on a given line. They involve health and safety standards : unsafe machines, cluttered or oily floors, rates of production which prevent the taking of reasonable precautions, the absence or misuse of hoists or cranes, protection from flames or furnaces, protection from sharp, unfinished metal, protection from welding or other dangerous chemicals or flames, the right to shut an unsafe job down until the condition is changed.

They involve the quality of life in the plant: the authoritarian company rules which treat workers like a combination of prison inmate and kindergarten child, the right to move about the plant, the right to relieve yourself physically without having to get the foreman’s permission or the presence of a relief man, the right to reasonable breaks in the work, the right to a reasonable level of heat in the winter or reasonable ventilation in the summer. And on and on.

The grievances that crowd the dockets of General Motors and of other companies cover the total range of life in the factory. The fact that they are called grievances helps to conceal what they really are-a reflection of the total dissatisfaction of the workers in the way production is run and of the des ire of the workers to impose their own will in the factory.

The UAW and the Ford Motor Company recently have been discussing the problem of boredom on the assembly line. The only reason they are discussing it at all-it is by no means a new development-is because more and more workers are refusing to accept factory discipline as a law of nature.

And it is not boredom but power which is at stake.

The same worker who for eight hours a day attaches belts to a motor and can’t wait to get out of the plant will spend his weekends tinkering with his car and consider it rewarding work. The difference is in who controls the work.

It might be worth noting a couple of things. All workers are exploited to one degree or another. But office workers on the whole do not have to walk past armed guards going to and from work and have a certain amount of freedom in scheduling their work on the job. The coffee break is not a blue-collar institution. (...)

The reorganization, technological change and decentralization that characterized the fifties and culminated in the depression gave way to a new expansion which brought significant numbers of young workers into the industry in the U.S. These are workers who couldn’t care less about what the union won in 1937. They are not more backward (as the union bureaucrats like to pretend) but more advanced. They are attuned to the need to change the nature of work, to the need of human beings to find satisfaction in what they do. It is this new and changing working class that was the basis for the new level of wildcat strikes, for a doubled rate of absenteeism, for an increased amount of violence in plants. It is a new working class that no conceivable contract settlement can control or immobilize. (...)

The complaints against the young workers who make up a crucial force in the factories indicate that the wildcats of the past may be replaced, or at least supplemented, by something new.

The tightly knit structures of the big industrial unions leave no room for maneuvering. There is no reasonable way in which young workers can use the union constitution to overturn and overhaul the union structure. The constitution is against them; the money and jobs available to union bureaucrats are against them. And if these fail, the forces of law and order of city, state and federal governments are against them. (...)

The impossibility of transforming the unions has been argued by a number of observers. Clark Kerr has noted, without disapproval, that “unions and corporations alike are, with very few exceptions, one-party governments.” That is the phrase usually reserved for Stalinist or fascist totalitarian governments. But it is not overdrawn. (...)

And all of this is what young workers are revolting against.
Este é um daqueles artigos que, mais de 40 anos depois de ter sido escrito, parece ter saído completamente furado: os jovens da classe trabalhadora que em 1972 faziam greves selvagens e protestavam contra a opressão no local de trabalho acabaram largamente (sobretudo os brancos) por se tornarem votantes de Reagan (no percurso descrito aqui) e possivelmente até de Trump, não a dar origem a novas formas de organização e a lutas mais radicais.

Aliás, os EUA parecem-me dos países onde o radicalismo do final dos anos 60 - princípio dos 70 parece ter entrado menos na classe operária, não tendo havido (apesar das greves selvagens) quase nada comparável à greve geral de 1968 em França, à agitação laboral generalizada da Grã-Bretanha e ou de Itália (com a força sindical dos trotskistas na primeira e dos "autónomos" e dos "comités de base" na segunda), ou, já agora, a participação da cintura industrial de Lisboa no PREC.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

O financiamento de um RBI em Portugal

Mesmo um RBI de 200€ mensais requer cerca de 25.3 mil milhões de euros. (...)

Um método de financiamento que se pretenda viável teria de se focar não numa hipotética estrutura económica, mas numa transição possível para um RBI plenamente desenvolvido, isto é, tendo em conta as prestações sociais já existentes cujo desígnio não está afinal distante daquele que o próprio RBI afirma alcançar. Sob este prisma, os custos totais de financiamento tornam-se enganadores: o que é importante do ponto de vista do financiamento é estabelecer a carga fiscal adicional que é necessário arrecadar para colocar de pé o RBI. Ora, existindo já um conjunto de prestações sociais pagas e administradas pelo sector público, uma primeira possibilidade seria conceber uma articulação do RBI com estas prestações. Consideremos agora o desenho de uma proposta: a eliminação de todos as prestações sociais de montante inferior ao RBI (que seriam substituídos por este), e a integração do RBI em todos as prestações sociais e subsídios de valor superior. De acordo com os orçamentos da SS e da CGA para o ano de 2011, o primeiro passo representaria uma poupança potencial de cerca de 2 mil milhões de euros [Despesa com Rendimento Social de Inserção, Abono de Família e outras prestações da SS (2011)]; com o segundo, a poupança obtida seria de cerca de 7 a 9 mil milhões de euros [Cálculos do autor. Este valor inclui a poupança por integração do RBI nas Pensões de Velhice da SS e da Caixa Geral de Aposentações, no Subsídio de Desemprego e na Pensão de Invalidez. Não inclui as despesas com o Subsídio de Doença e a Acção Social da Segurança Social que representam uma despesa conjunta de cerca de 2 mil milhões de euros (2011)] . Com esta combinação de eliminação de subsídios inferiores e integração do RBI nos superiores alcança-se portanto uma poupança de pelo menos 9 mil milhões de euros, que representaria cerca de 35% do montante total necessário. (...)

Faltaria ainda garantir dois terços do financiamento, isto é, 16 mil milhões de euros. Um RBI que pretenda de facto contribuir para uma menor desigualdade na distribuição de rendimentos deverá ser conjugado com a reformulação do IRS.

Os "agentes russos"

O Washington Post desvendou uma suposta lista de sites que estarão ao serviço da Rússia (aparentemente compilada pelo método de «se achas que esse site é um site de propaganda russa, informa-nos» - «The YYYcampaignYYY is the crowdsourced application of "manual analysis", which is what we call the remarkably easy-to-do process of methodically checking to see whether a particular social-media account, commenter, or outlet qualifies as Russian propaganda, and calling it out it if it does. Anyone can join this campaign, and we hope you will do so.»).

Desta lista costumo ler o antiwar.com e o unz.com; ocasionalmente também leio o lewrockwell.com e os sites da wikileaks.

Já agora, sou só eu que acho o slogan "Your Friendly Neighborhood Propaganda Identification Service, Since 2016!" tão ridículo que isto até parece gozo, ou ele próprio mais um dos sites de notícias falsas?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ainda a "classe trabalhadora" norte-americana - recordações dos anos 70 (II)

Na mesma altura, tanto as greves selvagens como o "populismo" de direita e de esquerda estavam na moda, e por vezes protagonizados pelas mesmas pessoas. Como Jesse Walker refere aqui, nas primárias Democráticas de 1972, em Detroit, Michigan, grande parte dos votantes (aparentemente os mais "classe trabalhadora") estavam indecisos entre George McGovern e George Wallace (o candidato conotado com a juventude radical anti-guerra versus o candidato dos conservadores sulistas).

Um artigo mais completo sobre a evolução da "classe trabalhadora" nos anos 70 (ou pelo menos de um operário de Detroit é Introduction to Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the LastDays of the Working Class[pdf], por Jefferson Cowie:

Ainda a "classe trabalhadora" norte-americana - recordações dos anos 70 (I)

The national US Postal Service wildcat strike, 1970, por Jeremy Brecher (publicado por libcom.org)

The Teamsters wildcat strike, 1970, por Jeremy Brecher (publicado por libcom.org)

Wildcats In TheAppalachian Coal Fields, por William Cleaver (publicado por libcom.org)

Wildcat: Dodge Truck June 1974 (publicado pela University of Texas)

The miners’ strike of 1977–78, por Adam Turl (International Socialist Review)

Wildcat Strikers Close Metro System, 1978 (Washington Post)

Let Us Not Forget! Postal Workers Wildcat Strike of 1978, por Jeffrey B. Perry

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A "classe trabalhadora" norte-americana

What So Many People Don’t Get About the U.S. Working Class, por Joan C. Williams (Harvard Business Review). Um artigo interessante sobre a chamada "working class" norte-americana (como traduzir isto? "Classe trabalhadora"? "Classe operária"? Mesmo esta escolha se calhar não é isenta de implicações), independentemente de se se concordar ou não com o que ela diz (muitos aspetos do texto, desde a autora aparentemente usar "working class" e "white working class" de forma indiferenciada - como se fossem sinónimos - até ao que me parece uma recomendação da tolerância pela violência policial, são - pelo menos para mim - "problemáticos").

Alguns comentários que me ocorrem acerca de algumas passagens do texto:

One little-known element of that gap is that the white working class (WWC) resents professionals but admires the rich. Class migrants (white-collar professionals born to blue-collar families) report that “professional people were generally suspect” and that managers are college kids “who don’t know shit about how to do anything but are full of ideas about how I have to do my job,” (...) For one thing, most blue-collar workers have little direct contact with the rich outside of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. But professionals order them around every day. The dream is not to become upper-middle-class, with its different food, family, and friendship patterns; the dream is to live in your own class milieu, where you feel comfortable — just with more money. “The main thing is to be independent and give your own orders and not have to take them from anybody else,” a machine operator told Lamont.

Isto fez-me lembrar um autor (Keith Preston) que eu costumava ler (com opiniões políticas dificilmente classificáveis), que a dada altura dizia que o sonho dele era um movimento que combinasse o populismo à George Wallace com a doutrina económica dos Industrial Workers of the World...
The Democrats’ solution? Last week the New York Times published an article advising men with high-school educations to take pink-collar jobs. Talk about insensitivity. 
Uma coisa que acho que devia ser mais alvo de reflexão é os potenciais efeitos, em termos de degradação moral ou até espiritual, por assim dizer, de uma economia em que a maior parte das pessoas trabalha nos serviços, nomeadamente em serviços de atendimento ao público - não contribuirá para criar uma cultura hiper-valorizadora do bom ajustamento social, do ser "simpático" e "agradável", mesmo que a expensas de outras coisas? Já agora, ver este artigo.
The terminology here can be confusing. When progressives talk about the working class, typically they mean the poor. But the poor, in the bottom 30% of American families, are very different from Americans who are literally in the middle: the middle 50% of families whose median income was $64,000 in 2008. That is the true “middle class,” and they call themselves either “middle class” or “working class.”
Isso parece-me um problema recorrente das discussões sobre a "working class" norte-americana; as definições vão desde os que usam o termo quase como um sinónimo para pobres aos que chamam "working class" a quem não tenha formação universitária (o que incluiria o Bill Gates e a Paris Hilton).
Means-tested programs that help the poor but exclude the middle may keep costs and tax rates lower, but they are a recipe for class conflict.
Isso seria um bom argumento para o Rendimento Básico Incondicional, se não fosse o, na minha opinião, péssimo marketing dos defensores do RBI (que me parece que preferem apresentá-lo como "o programa social que permite viver sem trabalhar" do que como "o programa social que ajuda também os trabalhadores com salários baixos e não apenas os mais pobres").

Monday, November 21, 2016

Irá ser assim?

71 Days to Prepare Before the First Executive Orders, por William Gillis (Center 4 a Stateless Society):

Trump’s promised “law and order” presidency would mean a Christmas list of presents for the police. Exploding budgets and the removal of any pretense of constraining oversight from the Justice Department. Every beat cop in the nation flush with the invigorating knowledge that the President of the United States has their back, with money, legal support, public support, and ultimately the Presidential Pardon. The full extent of what is possible is dark indeed, but even moderate predictions are dire. We cannot afford to plan for the best.

In 71 days Trump will begin turning the ICE into a military operation capable of the industrial-scale ethnic cleansing he promised repeatedly. He will certainly shirk on some promises, but even if his effectiveness at getting all the millions he targets falls short, he will not miss the opportunity to demonstrate power, even if that means something as obscene as the national guard standing openly in sanctuary cities.

In 71 days Trump will approach an FBI already coursing with his fervent supporters and tell them to go ahead and do whatever it takes to get the domestic terrorists that didn’t vote for him. All the bored and overstaffed Joint Terrorism Taskforce offices the Bush administration left behind surveilling vegan potlucks will finally get to just bring the damn hippies in for questioning. The same pattern we’ve seen in countless countries when right-wing populists get into office will play out. Police raiding punk houses and roughing up anarchists for the sheer pleasure of it, finally able to assert their authority over those whose mere existence offends them. And this is the presidency when US police will be given drones with weapons.

In 71 days Trump will immediately turn his vindictive eye upon the media and every journalist he can get his fingers on. The press corp will be gutted and reporters will be threatened. The same tired procedure we’ve seen in dozens of other countries will arrive here overnight. The sort of regime where armed raids are used to conduct tax audits and incidentally bust up equipment. Trump’s number one concern with the Supreme Court justices he’ll stock it with will be — as always — their loyalty to him and their openness to allowing him to sue everyone for libel.

In 71 days Trump will inherit a vast surveillance apparatus of unparalleled scope in the world that will immediately be turned to his benefit against domestic adversaries or dissidents. He will empower those who have been stewing in outrage at their (meager) constraint. The US’ torture program will escalate. Just because he can. Just for the kick of it. American citizens will end up in Guantanamo and black sites around the world, what barriers to this have previously stood will make no sense to Trump. It will not take long, all things considered, before such American torture subjects are not just Muslim.

In 71 days Trump will start asking what can be done about that whole unruly internet thing and all those losers spreading lies. A president already aligned with Russia and with less than zero compulsion to lecture about human rights or leverage the activists within other superpowers will inexorably build a unprecedented global collaboration against Tor and internet freedom. A unified coalition that most of our existing tools were not prepared for.

We will face an America probably more reactionary and authoritarian than Italy under Berlusconi but probably less authoritarian than Germany under Hitler. The proper analogues are probably modern Hungary and Romania. Authoritarian populist “law and order” regimes with some pretense of normal modern life, riven with empowered racists and neighborhood curbstompings. A broadly mobilized reactionary populace and a shattered and demoralized opposition.
De qualquer maneira, faça ou não Trump isso, convém não esquecer quem durante anos permitiu a acumulação de poderes do presidente, permitindo cada vez mais governar por decreto.

Ainda as ideias de Steve Bannon

Steve Bannon and the Last Crusade, por Noah Smith:

I heavily doubt Steve Bannon is the anti-Semite many on the left now claim he is. It's mostly based on one thing that his wife said that he said, about not wanting to send his kids to school with whiny Jewish girls. It's hearsay, about one thing he said in private years ago, which isn't even that anti-Semitic. (...)

I also hear a lot of claims that Bannon is a white nationalist. Some are based on stuff he allowed to be published at Breitbart (e.g., this), but many seem to rely on one thing he saidwhile interviewing Donald Trump, in which he worried that too many immigrant CEOs would reduce "civic society." That's not something I agree with, since I'm strongly and categorically in favor of skilled immigration. But it certainly by itself doesn't peg him as a white nationalist, especially when he vigorously and publicly and explicitly denies being a white nationalist. So if you think he's B.S.-ing about that, your case will have to rely on Breitbart articles.

So what does Bannon believe in? The main articulation of his worldview that I know of comes from this 2014 speech. Essentially, Bannon's worldview seems to have three main pillars:

1. The fruits of capitalism should be more broadly distributed.
2. The West is in a war with radical Islam and must prevail.
3. Secularism contributes to the weakness of the West.

(...)

This "center-right populism" is basically a cross between FDR, Bernie Sanders, and Ross Douthat. Bannon also criticizes "crony capitalism", and says that he thinks a Judeo-Christian ethic facilitates a more equitable form of capitalism.

Bannon criticizes secularism, which is pretty standard among religious conservatives, and also remind me of Ross Douthat. In fact, Bannon's ideas sound a lot like the "reform conservatism" that had been making the intellectual rounds before Trump showed up on the scene.

But the one place where Bannon comes out very strongly against an external enemy is when he talks about radical Islam (...)

Bannon's view is that radical Islam is attacking the West, and must be defeated by a united Judeo-Christian West. (...)

Bannon's call for a "church militant" and a "church of the West" is basically similar to the Holy Leagues that fought the Ottomans in the 1500s. It's not a call to invasion, like the original Crusades, but rather a defensive move. Bannon is calling on the Catholic Church in particular, but also Christianity, Western capitalism, and all other unifying institutions of the West, to act as unifying and motivating forces to fight this struggle. (...)

But I believe that Bannon fundamentally misunderstands what's going on with radical Islam. Some of the malign energy of al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other radical Islamic groups has been directed against the West and against Christians, yes. But most of it has been directed at other Muslims in Muslim countries. Only a very small part of what we're witnessing is a continuation of the eternal clash between Europe and the Middle East. Most of it is an internal civil war within the Islamic Umma.

O estilo argumentativo na internet

Alguns dos meus amigos do Facebook têm partilhado o artigo "The Internet Arguing Checklist", que argumenta que a esquerda (ou os "liberals") costuma argumentar na internet usando os seguintes "truques":

Friday, November 18, 2016

As ideias de Steve Bannon, expostas pelo próprio

A transcrição de uma conferência no Vaticano em que Bannon participou em 2014, onde ele expõe o seu pensamento e responde a questões da audiência. A minha visão do que me parece ser o seu pensamento: uma espécie de "democrata-cristão" favorável a uma aliança com a extrema-direita, convencido que com o tempo está irá abandonar a parte pior das suas ideias.

Já agora, pelo pouco (muito pouco) contacto que tenho com o site Breitbart.com, parece-me mais uma versão radical do conservadorismo dos anos Bush (e, em política externa, com uma linha belicista e pró-Israel) do que outra coisa qualquer.

This Is How Steve Bannon Sees The Entire World (Buzzfeed, via Marginal Revolution)

Jeff Sessions, ministro da justiça dos EUA?

O senador do Alabama, Jeff Sessions, terá sido escolhido para "procurador-geral" (ministro da justiça) do governo Trump.

Há dias o site/revista "libertarian" (isto é, liberal de direita) Reason fazia uma espécie de perfil dele:

More than a decade ago, Sessions was pushing for a fortified barrier on our Southern border, and has never let go of the dream. He has also opposed every congressional attempt at immigration reform since then, of which Reason's Shikha Dalmia wrote, "Sessions has done more than any human alive to torpedo every sensible immigration reform effort and makes no bones about his wish to basically stop all immigration. He moves the goalposts on reform constantly, recently even calling for the elimination of the H-1B visa program for foreign techies, which sent chills down the IT sector's spine."

It's not just illegal immigration Sessions opposes, he's also fond of spreading the canard that all immigrants are a drain on the economy and take the jobs which are the birthright of all native-born Americas, when in fact, the opposite is much closer to the truth. (...)

After previously mischaracterizing certain countries' efforts at drug decriminalization as "legalization" and incorrectly arguing that they have "failed," Sessions lamented that Nancy Reagan's Just Say No campaign against drugs has been relegated to history and replaced by a growing tolerance for the legalization of adult recreational use of marijuana. (...)

In an appearance on Morning Joe in 2009, Sessions sympathized with those who "might feel uneasy" about the prospect of a gay Supreme Court justice, which he described as "big concern."

Unsurprisingly, he also called the Supreme Court's 2015 ruling legalizing gay marriage across the country "unconstitutional" (he had previously voted in favor of a ban on gay marriage to be enshrined in the Constitution), and was one of 31 Senators on the losing side of the 2010 Senate vote to end the ban on gays in the military. (...)

Sessions had been nominated by President Ronald Reagan for a federal judgeship in 1986, but his nomination was torpedoed after multiple allegations that he used racially insensitive language to colleagues were leveled against him.

A former US Attorney (Thomas Figures) and another Justice Department employee (Gerald Hebert) both testified that Sessions had described the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as "un-American" and "communist-inspired." For his part, Sessions himself said during his confirmation hearings that these groups could rightfully be called "un-American" when they "they involve themselves in promoting un-American positions," particularly when addressing foreign policy issues.

Hebert also testified that Sessions had claimed these groups "forced civil rights down the throats of people," and Figures (who is black)claimed Sessions had called him "boy" and had said that he used to like the Ku Klux Klan until he found out some of its members smoke marijuana. Sessions claimed he was merely joking about the KKK.

Bonus fact: Sessions voted in favor of a ban on "flag desecration" to be added to the Constitution.

Ainda a eleição de Trump e o "progressismo cultural"

No, “Identity Politics” Didn’t Elect Trump, por Kevin Carson (Center 4 a Stateless Society):

In all the damage assessments and recriminations following the presidential election, one theme I’ve seen way too much of is blaming Trump’s victory on “political correctness.” One person blamed the Left for “demonizing white men” for the past eight years instead of focusing on economic and class issues. Another clutched his pearls about what a dumb strategic move it was to dismiss most of Trump’s supporters as “deplorables.” And at Reason, human dumpster fire Robby Soave — whose shtik seems to be retyping old Reed Irvine and Dinesh D’Souza screeds with his name on them — literally lays the blame for Trump at the feet of campus speech codes, trigger warnings and safe spaces. (No, if anything defeated Clinton it was stay-at-home Democratic voters disgusted by a Democratic Party that embraced way too many of the same neoliberal — not genuinely libertarian — economic policies favored by Reason.)

(...)

But the cultural Right’s sense of grievance is utter nonsense. For people who complain so much about the “politics of victimhood,” they play the victim card better than anybody else.

Long ago, as a child, I can remember hearing old folks complain that “this country’s been going to pot ever since all these people started screaming about their ‘rights.'” And that’s still the attitude of those who talk about “taking our country back.”

Whatever they think of marginalized people demanding their rights, they sure aren’t modest about the rights they claim for themselves. They think they have the right to decide what languages people speak, what religious garb they wear, who they marry, and what bathrooms they go to. And when they talk about PC as an assault on their freedom, what they’re referring to is their freedom to prohibit other people from doing things they disapprove of. You can’t even say “Happy Holidays” to them without them whining about a “War on Christmas.” For all their mockery of “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings,” they’re the most emotionally fragile and easily offended people in existence.

They actually talk about “Thought Police,” and sidle up to other white males with “I guess we’re not allowed to say this any more, but…”

If you compare their complaints to the complaints of the marginalized people they criticize, they’re completely asymmetrical. Women in hijabs have to worry about being verbally and physically assaulted when they leave their homes. Unarmed black people have to worry about being shot in the back and having drop guns planted on their bodies, or being killed in “nickel rides” by sadistic cops. Gay and trans people have to worry about being stomped to death.

So if you think you’re living in a totalitarian nightmare because you have to worry about somebody giving you a dirty look for saying the n-word, or because you’re expected not to throw a tantrum when you see a woman in a hijab or two men kissing, I’ve got the world’s smallest violin. And if you think that’s a sufficient grievance to justify voting for a crypto-fascist just to “teach ’em a lesson,” then yes, you are deplorable.

O colégio eleitoral norte-americano

A favor - Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist 68 (12 de março de 1788):

It was desirable that the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the person to whom so important a trust was to be confided. This end will be answered by committing the right of making it, not to any preestablished body, but to men chosen by the people for the special purpose, and at the particular conjuncture.

It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.

It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder. This evil was not least to be dreaded in the election of a magistrate, who was to have so important an agency in the administration of the government as the President of the United States. But the precautions which have been so happily concerted in the system under consideration, promise an effectual security against this mischief. The choice of several, to form an intermediate body of electors, will be much less apt to convulse the community with any extraordinary or violent movements, than the choice of one who was himself to be the final object of the public wishes. And as the electors, chosen in each State, are to assemble and vote in the State in which they are chosen, this detached and divided situation will expose them much less to heats and ferments, which might be communicated from them to the people, than if they were all to be convened at one time, in one place. (...)

All these advantages will happily combine in the plan devised by the convention; which is, that the people of each State shall choose a number of persons as electors, equal to the number of senators and representatives of such State in the national government, who shall assemble within the State, and vote for some fit person as President. Their votes, thus given, are to be transmitted to the seat of the national government, and the person who may happen to have a majority of the whole number of votes will be the President. But as a majority of the votes might not always happen to centre in one man, and as it might be unsafe to permit less than a majority to be conclusive, it is provided that, in such a contingency, the House of Representatives shall select out of the candidates who shall have the five highest number of votes, the man who in their opinion may be best qualified for the office.
Contra - "Republicus", Anti-Federalist Paper 72 (1 de março 1788):
An extraordinary refinement this, on the plain simple business of election; and of which the grand convention have certainly the honor of being the first inventors; and that for an officer too, of so much importance as a president – invested with legislative and executive powers; who is to be commander in chief of the army, navy, militia, etc.; grant reprieves and pardons; have a temporary negative on all bills and resolves; convene and adjourn both houses of congress; be supreme conservator of laws; commission all officers; make treaties; and who is to continue four years, and is only removable on conviction of treason or bribery, and triable only by the senate, who are to be his own council, whose interest in every instance runs parallel with his own, and who are neither the officers of the people, nor accountable to them.

Is it then become necessary, that a free people should first resign their right of suffrage into other hands besides their own, and then, secondly, that they to whom they resign it should be compelled to choose men, whose persons, characters, manners, or principles they know nothing of? And, after all (excepting some such change as is not likely to happen twice in the same century) to intrust Congress with the final decision at last? Is it necessary, is it rational, that the sacred rights of mankind should thus dwindle down to Electors of electors, and those again electors of other electors? This seems to be degrading them even below the prophetical curse denounced by the good old patriarch, on the offspring of his degenerate son: “servant of servants”. . .

Again I would ask (considering how prone mankind are to engross power, and then to abuse it) is it not probable, at least possible, that the president who is to be vested with all this demiomnipotence – who is not chosen by the community; and who consequently, as to them, is irresponsible and independent-that he, I say, by a few artful and dependent emissaries in Congress, may not only perpetuate his own personal administration, but also make it hereditary?(...) Or, may not the senate, who are nearly in the same situation, with respect to the people, from similar motives and by similar means, erect themselves easily into an oligarchy, towards which they have already attempted so large a stride? To one of which channels, or rather to a confluence of both, we seem to be fast gliding away; and the moment we arrive at it-farewell liberty. . . .

To conclude, I can think of but one source of right to government, or any branch of it-and that is THE PEOPLE. They, and only they, have a right to determine whether they will make laws, or execute them, or do both in a collective body, or by a delegated authority. Delegation is a positive actual investiture. Therefore if any people are subjected to an authority which they have not thus actually chosen-even though they may have tamely submitted to it-yet it is not their legitimate government. They are wholly passive, and as far as they are so, are in a state of slavery. Thank heaven we are not yet arrived at that state.
De qualquer maneira, tanto Hamilton como "Republicus" fizeram a sua defesa/crítica do colégio eleitoral assumindo que iam realmente serem escolhidos eleitores que depois escolheriam o presidente (e que muito provavelmente não haveria maiorias e acabaria por ser o Congresso a escolher o presidente); nunca funcionou assim - desde que houve eleições disputadas (isto é, tirando os dois mandatos de Washington), os delegados ao colégio eleitoral foram sempre eleitos já conotados com candidatos presidenciais, com os votantes a escolherem Fulano ou Beltrano para delegado, não por confiarem na sua capacidade de "possuir a informação e o discernimento necessário para a investigação complexa" para escolher um presidente, mas simplesmente por quererem votar em Jefferson, Adams, Jackson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy, Reagan ou Trump, e Fulano e Beltrano estarem na lista de delegados associada ao seu candidato presidencial favorito; ou seja, sempre foi mais uma eleição direta com um método peculiar de apuramento do resultado, do que uma verdadeira eleição indireta.

Já agora, é interessante que a defesa do colégio eleitoral tinha sido feita pelo federalista Hamilton (talvez o mais centralista dos "fundadores" dos EUA) e a oposição tenha ficado associada aos anti-federalistas; porque hoje em dia quase que apostava que o alinhamento é o inverso (com os defensores da autonomia dos estados a defender o colégio, e com os defensores da eleição direta a serem a favor de maior intervenção do governo federal).

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A automatização e o desemprego

[Sobre o assunto: o meu Um argumento a evitar na defesa do Rendimento Básico IncondicionalOs robots vão roubar o meu emprego... ou talvez não, de Miguel Carvalho; e Robôs a roubar empregos, por Pedro Romano]

Será que a automatização, os robots, os computadores, etc., criam desemprego?

Vamos imaginar que uma máquina permite a 1 trabalhador fazer o trabalho que antes era feito por 100; quais serão as consequências disso? Podem acontecer 3 coisas - a) 99 trabalhadores são despedidos; b) mantêm-se os mesmo trabalhadores, mas agora produzindo 100 vezes mais do que produziam antes; ou c) podem passar a trabalhar 1 hora por dia (em vez de 8) e terem 87 dias de férias (em vez de 22) por ano, e no final continuarem a produzir exatamente o que produziam antes. Creio que no mundo real, o que tem acontecido desde a revolução industrial tem sido sobretudo o efeito b), com algum c) à mistura (ou seja, o progresso tecnológico tem originado maior produção e mais tempo livre, não mais desemprego).

As teorias de que "não vai haver empregos para todos" baseiam-se no cenário a), mas porque é que há de ser o cenário a) a ocorrer e não um dos outros?

Progressismo cultural - mau ou bom para o capitalismo?

How the Cultural Marxists Failed by Winning, por Gene Callahan, em The American Conservative:

William Lind described the origins of cultural Marxism as follows:
Following World War I, European Marxists faced a difficult question: why did the proletariat throughout Europe not rise in revolution and establish a new, Marxist order, as their ideology said it would? Two prominent Marxist thinkers, Antonio Gramsci in Italy and Georg Lukács in Hungary, came up with an answer: Western culture. Western culture so blinded the workers to their true, “class” interests that they could not act on them. (...)
This goal, of “saving” us by destroying the villain, Western civilization, was pursued through a multi-pronged attack. This was dubbed, by Marxist activist Rudi Dutschke, “the long march through the institutions.” Western civilization would be eradicated by gradually undermining the family, the local community, the church, the school, and perhaps most especially the university. (...)

By such means, the project of wrecking Western civilization has progressed pretty far. So why isn’t the proletariat casting off their chains and revolting? (...)

Asking a different question leads us to the answer, and that question is, “Why have corporations enthusiastically joined the cultural Marxists in their program of civilizational destruction?”

First off, do you know the old aphorism, “If you’re at a poker table and you don’t know who the mark is, you’re the mark”? If you answered, “Because corporations care about these issues,” well, you’re the mark. (...)

Those at the top of our giant corporations generally don’t care about these issues, at least not in any serious way: they care about becoming richer and richer and securing their positions against any potential threats.

The right answer as to why corporations have “joined” (“co-opted” is more like it) the cultural Marxists is that at some point, our corporate masters figured out that as the progress of wrecking Western culture progressed, people were becoming not revolutionary agents of change, but passive consumers of corporate swill and compliant workers penned in cubicles, nourished by fluorescent grow-lamps. (I am not claiming that corporate CEOs and boards are sophisticated social theorists who have explicitly traced this connection, just that at some point, they noticed, “Hey, this is working out pretty well for us!”) A key point in this learning process was likely when corporations found out that if they just offered “counter-cultural” rock stars enough money, those rock stars would happily would sell soda or credit cards. And such ads, offering packaged versions of sixties-era “individualism” and “rebellion,” were very effective at selling products, enabling marketing messages to slip right past the flower children’s wariness of big corporations.

Corporations found out that without a healthy culture, people are not natural Marxists but natural couch potatoes. With no extended family, no effective church, and no healthy local community to support their lives, people don’t form revolutionary cells: they buy a case of beer or renew their Xanax prescription and spend their non-working hours watching NFL games and the Lifetime network and various types of pornography. This dull, sedated existence is punctuated by certain “feast days,” such as Black Friday, when one can turn over lots of one’s money to corporations (...)
Por vezes há críticas do "progressismo cultural" cujo tom acaba por não ser tão diferente do que alguns dos próprios "progressistas culturais" diriam - esta conversa dos indivíduos atomizados que ficam dominados pelas grandes empresas e mergulhados no consumismo fica bem num site conservador social sem grande entusiasmo pelo capitalismo moderno; mas também não ficaria muito mal num panfleto radical por volta de 1970 criticando o estilo de vida pequeno-burguês (dizendo que é um falso individualismo que fomenta o conformismo) e fazendo a apologia de alguma espécie de comunidade alternativa (desde comunas rurais até à romantização dos bairros étnicos ou de enclaves boémios estilo Greenwich Village, Haight-Ashbury ou Quartier Latin) - mas isso talvez tenha a ver com o fenómeno referido neste texto que já devo ter linkado uma porção de vezes (diga-se que Gene Callahan votou em Jill Stein dos Verdes mas dizendo que se vivesse num estado que estivesse em disputa escolheria Donald Trump, o que me leva a suspeitar que ele próprio não estranhará a ideia de semelhanças entre pólos aparentemente opostos).

Já agora, em 1967, um ativista conservador fez um filme anti-hippie, The Hippies; acerca desse filme, Jesse Walker na Reason comentou "he blames the rise of the counterculture on the forces you'd probably expect a '60s conservative to invoke: progressive education, permissive parenting, World Communism. What makes his film interesting on more than a camp level is that he also blames big business, condemning consumerism and conformity in terms a hippie could love" (outro exemplo de conservadores culturais a usarem quase a mesma conversa que os progressistas?).

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Uma diferente visão sobre as doenças mentais

No momento em que se discutem assuntos como a compatibilidade ou não entre ser psicólogo e ter determinadas crenças, tal fosse interessante discutir sobre o que é que na chamada "saúde mental" é mesmo conhecimento objetivo e o que são, na verdade, juízos normativos.

Um artigo potencialmente interessante para o assunto - The Economics of Szasz: Preferences, Constraints and Mental Illness[pdf], por Bryan Caplan:

Even confirmed economic imperialists typically acknowledge that economic theory does not apply to the seriously mentally ill. Building on psychiatrist Thomas Szasz’s philosophy of mind, this article argues that most mental illnesses are best modeled as extreme preferences, not constraining diseases. This perspective sheds light not only on relatively easy cases like personality disorders, but also on the more extreme cases of delusions and hallucinations. Contrary to Szasz’s critics, empirical advances in brain science and behavioral genetics are largely orthogonal to his position. While involuntary psychiatric treatment might still be rationalized as a way to correct intra-family externalities, it is misleading to think about it as a benefit for the patient.
E um post do autor aplicando esse raciocínio ao caso do Transtorno do Deficit de Atenção - ADHD Reconsidered.

Note-se que eu estar a postar os artigos dele não implica necessariamente concordância (p.ex., a ideia de que alucinações podem ser consideradas como "preferências" parece-me muito dificil de justificar).

Poderá questionar-se qual a autoridade de economistas para teorizarem sobre doenças mentais, mas se toda a gente dá palpite sobre questões económicas, porque é que os economistas não hão de darem também eles palpite sobre tudo?