Friday, March 29, 2013

Um Estado ou o inverso de um Estado?

Daron Acemoglu e James Robinson sobre os berberes do Atlas marroquino:

According to traditional anthropology, the Berbers did not have a state. They were a segmentary lineage society and in the famous taxonomy of Edward Evans-Pritchard and Meyer Fortes’s 1940 book African Political Systems, this was a stateless society. Instead they had the Saints, religious figures who mediated disputes and even oversaw the election of the holders of secular political office. The Saints ruled over a society divided into lineages and clans, groups of extended families.

But if we want to look at the closest thing that Berber society has to a state, it would be the Saints. If we thought of it in this way it would feature a peculiar inversion of Weber’s notion of a state. Weber argued that a state was the entity that exercised the legitimate use of violence in society. Yet the Saints had no coercive capacity; their authority relied on not having such capacity. They were revered for their peacefulness. Rather, it was the lineages and clans that had the legitimate use of violence, not the state. Thus if one argued that the Berber’s had a state, it would be characterized by the opposite of what Weber argued a state was, maybe an “Inverse Weberian State”.(...)

Now of course one could say that this is irrelevant because the Berbers did not have a state. So why all this pedantry?

Because, as we will see over the next few posts, it is arguable that Weber’s and Evans-Pritchard and Fortes’s analysis wasn’t quite on target: they had in mind a particularly Eurasian model of state formation and what characterized statehood. When they ran into other social organizations that looked different, they decided that they were not states. But as we will see, the type of “state” that the Berbers had is quite common in the modern world. Indeed, this is more or less what Lebanon looks like today.

And who could argue that Lebanon does not have a state?
Diga-se que creio que Ernest Gellner (que os autores aliás referem no post) argumentou, nos anos 80, em Nações e Nacionalismos, que o Líbano não tinha Estado.

A este respeito, relembro três post que escrevi (numa intervenção externa não-solicitada no debate regular entre Rui Albuquerque e os ancaps):

Sobre a origem do Estado e Sobre a origem do Estado (II), publicados em Novembro de 2009

O Estado sempre existiu?, publicado em Novembro de 2010

[Em dois deles linko para uma passagem do tal livro sobre os "Sistemas Políticos Africanos", exactamente aquela onde Evans-Pritchard aborda as "linhagens segmentárias"]

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

O decreto do controlo de capitais em Chipre

Tradução via Cyprus Daily:


The Enforcement of Restrictive Measures on Transactions in case of Emergency Law of 2013

Decree as per articles 4 and 5

WHEREAS there is lack of substantial liquidity and significant risk of deposits outflow with possible outcome the risk of the viability of the credit institutions with chain effects that could lead to instability of the financial system and have destabilizing consequences on the economy and society of the country as a whole,

AND WHEREAS under these circumstances an emergency situation is created, so for safeguarding public order and public security and for overriding reasons of public interest,

12(?) of 2013

The Minister of Finance in exercising the powers granted to him by sections 4 and 5 of the Enforcement of Restrictive Measures on Transactions in caw of Emergency Law of 2013, following a recommendation from the Governor of the Central Bank, issues the following Decree:

Short title.

1. The present Decree shall be cited as the Enforcement of Temporary Restrictive Measures on Transactions in case of Emergency First Decree, of 2013.


2. (1) In the present Decree, unless a different meaning results from the context-

«Committee» means the Committee established by virtue of section 9 of the Law?

«Law» means The Enforcement of Restrictive Measures on Transactions in case of Emergency Law of 2013?

«debit or credit or prepaid card» means debit or credit or prepaid card issued by a credit institution.

(2) Terms not otherwise defined in this Decree shall have the meaning ascribed to them by the Law.

Imposition of restrictive measures.

3. By virtue of sections 4 and 5 of the Law, following a recommendation by the Governor and with the consent of the Governor, the following restrictive measures are imposed:

(a) The maximum amount of cash withdrawal shall not exceed €300 daily or its equivalent in foreign currency, per person in each credit institution. All cash withdrawals (namely withdrawals via debit and or prepaid cards, withdrawals from the credit institution’s tellers and withdrawals via credit cards against a sight/current account’s balance) are computed per person consolidating all accounts held by the said person in each credit institution:

Provided that any part of the maximum cash withdrawal allowed daily which is not withdrawn by the beneficiary during the day in which the limit applies, may be withdrawn at any time afterwards.

(b) The cashing of cheques is prohibited.

(c) Cashless payments or transfers of deposits/funds to accounts held abroad or in other credit institutions are prohibited, with the exception of-

(i) Payments for transactions that fall within the normal business activity of the customer upon presentation of justifying documents as follows:

(aa) payment of up to €5.000 per day per account is not subject to any restrictive measure,

(bb) payment from €5.001 to €200.000 is subject to the approval of the Committee. A catalogue of the requests for payments falling within this category shall be submitted to the Committee by the relevant credit institution on a daily basis and shall mention the amount of each payment, the total amount of all payments as well as the number of payments falling within this category. The Committee for its decision, which shall be taken within 24 hours, shall take into account the liquidity buffer situation of the credit institution.

(cc) payment above €200.001 provided the prior approval of the Committee is obtained after taking into account the liquidity buffer situation of the credit institution.

(ii) payments for salaries of employees upon presentation of supporting documents.

(iii) living expenses up to €5.000 per quarter as well as tuition fees, of a person who is studying abroad and is a first degree relative of a Cyprus resident, on the basis of supporting documents:

Provided that payments for living expenses shall be allowed only upon submission to the relevant credit institution of documents establishing that the person receiving the payment and or transfer of deposits/funds is studying abroad a is a first degree relative of a Cyprus resident:

Provided further that tuition fees shall be paid only to the beneficiary educational institution, upon submission of the relevant justifying documents.

(iv) payments and or transfers outside the Republic, via debit and or credit and or prepaid cards, shall not be allowed to exceed €5.000 per month per person in each credit institution.

(d) It is prohibited to terminate fixed term deposits prior to their maturity unless the funds are used to repay a loan within the same credit institution.

(e) On the first maturity of fixed term deposits, the higher amount between €5.000 or 10% of the total amount of the deposit in question, shall, according to the choice of the depositor, either be transferred to a sight/current account or be deposited in a new fixed term deposit in the same credit institution. For the remaining amount the maturity shall be extended for one month.

(f) Sums transferred from a fixed term deposit to a sight/current account shall be subject to the restrictive measures applicable to sight/current accounts.

(g) Exports of euro notes and/or foreign currency notes are prohibited in excess of €1.000, or the equivalent in foreign currency, per natural person per journey abroad. The Director of Customs and Excise Department shall ensure the implementation of this measure.

(g) Every financial transaction, payment and or transfer which has not been completed prior to the entry into force of this Decree shall be subject to the restrictive measures provided in this Decree:

Provided that any financial transaction, payment and or transfer, which has not been processed by the credit institution prior to the entry into force of this Decree shall be cancelled and will have to be submitted anew.

(i) Credit institutions shall not execute cashless transfers that facilitate the circumvention of the restrictive measures.

(j) The restrictive measures apply to all accounts, payments and transfers regardless of the currency denomination.

Validity of the this Decree.

4. Exempted from the restrictive measures are:

a. All new funds transferred to the Republic from abroad

b. Withdrawal of cash using credit and or debit and or prepaid card issued by foreign institutions on accounts abroad?

c. The cashing of cheques issued on accounts held with foreign institutions abroad?

d. Cash withdrawals from accounts of credit institutions with the Central Bank.

e. The Republic.

f. The Central Bank?

g. Diplomatic missions?

h. Payments that have been authorised by the Committee.

5. This Decree shall apply for a seven day period starting from the day of its publication in the Official Gazette of the Republic.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ainda sobre o caso Chipre

Independentemente da opinião que possamos ter (ou não ter) sobre a solução adoptada em Chipre, há algo que não nos podemos esquecer: o Estado cipriota, o FMI e a UE não tiraram aos depositantes com mais de 100.000 euros 30% do dinheiro dos depósitos; deram-lhes 70% desse dinheiro (os bancos estavam falidos, e o que aconteceu foi uma injecção de capitais públicos para ser ainda possivel os depositantes receberem alguma coisa).

Monday, March 25, 2013

Moedas diferentes com o mesmo nome

Exemplo - a libra (britânica) e a libra cipriota (moeda de Chipre até este ter entrado na zona euro).

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Nos Ladrões de Bicicletas, Alexandre Abreu escreve acerca do que considera ser o "neoliberalismo"?

Quando apodamos de "neoliberais" políticas como as deste governo, volta e meia lá surge quem invoque a etimologia da coisa para argumentar que medidas como o aumento da carga fiscal ou as sui generis nacionalizações da banca em que o Estado rói o osso e deixa a carne têm pouco ou nada de liberais e muito de intervencionistas, pelo que o epíteto "neoliberal" seria automaticamente descabido. Entendamo-nos de uma vez, portanto: independentemente da etimologia, o laissez-faire económico é, quando muito, uma característica apenas secundária e amiúde dispensável do neoliberalismo. O que é absolutamente central é a predação do capital sobre o trabalho e a natureza, a expansão do privado à custa do comum, a prioridade ao lucro relativamente às necessidades humanas. O Estado e as suas possibilidades coercivas constituem, não um alvo a abater, mas um instrumento indispensável a mobilizar. Com extraordinário sucesso nas últimas décadas, acrescente-se.
A mim, parece-me que essa "definição" (ou lá o que é) de "neoliberalismo" não faz sentido nenhum. Vamos lá pensar um pouco - porque é que, ao espaço politico-ideológico em questão, haveremos de chamar "neoliberal" em vez de, sei lá, "neo-socialista", "neo-social-democrata", "neo-democrata-cristão", "neo-conservador" ou "neo-seja-o-que-for"? Afinal, se admitimos que "o laissez-faire económico é, uma característica (...) amiúde dispensável do neoliberalismo", então que razão há para termos lá o "liberal" (ainda que prefixado)? Pelo mesmo raciocínio, facilmente poderíamos, a seguir ao "neo", pôr outra ideologia qualquer e dizer que "o [principio fundamental da ideologia X] é uma característica dispensável do neo-X".

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


No Arrastão, Sérgio Lavos escreve acerca dos «os economistas mainstream que se passeavam pelas TV's a defender a "austeridade além da troika"». O meu primeiro pensamento foi de que não me parece que houvesse assim um consenso tão grande entre os "economistas mainstream" sobre as vantages da austeridade (nomeadamente, um consenso que levasse a que o adjectivo "mainstream" fosse associado aos defensores da austeridade).

Depois, reparo que Lavos dá como exemplos João Duque, Cantiga Esteves e Vítor Bento. Noto que João Duque é licenciado em Gestão de Empresas, e que Cantiga Esteves, embora licenciado em Economia, tem como "especialidade académica" a área de Gestão.

Ou seja, de novo parece estar a tal confusão entre "economia" e "gestão", atribuindo aos "economistas" posição que até vêm mais da área da "gestão".

Efeitos económicos da concentração "monopolística"

Technology or Monopoly Power, por Paul Krugman:

Nick Rowe makes a good point, however, which is not so much a critique of the robot story as a general puzzle. Income has been shifting to capital, which would seem to increase the return to investment; but real interest rates are low by historical standards, and were low even before the financial crisis, suggesting that maybe the return to investment is if anything low. You might be able to make some headway here by stressing the different between safe assets and risky investments, but it is a puzzle.

Rowe suggests that a third factor, land, may be soaking up the excess returns and being misclassified as part of capital income. Logically, this could be true; I have doubts about whether it can be a major factor empirically, although obviously the thing to do is check it out

But there’s another possible resolution: monopoly power. Barry Lynn and Philip Longman have argued that we’re seeing a rapid rise in market concentration and market power. The thing about market power is that it could simultaneously raise the average rents to capital and reduce the return on investment as perceived by corporations, which would now take into account the negative effects of capacity growth on their markups. So a rising-monopoly-power story would be one way to resolve the seeming paradox of rapidly rising profits and low real interest rates.
As they say, this calls for more research; but the starting point is to realize that there’s something happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear, but it’s potentially really important.
Usando uma linguagem que suspeito Krugman ou Rowe não estejam habituados, parece que o puzzle económico que eles estão a tentar explicar consiste em, simultaneamente, estarmos a ter uma pauperização relativa da classe trabalhadora (ou um aumento da mais-valia relativa) e uma quebra da taxa (marginal) de lucro.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sobre o UKIP

A visão de um Conservador (acho) sobre o UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party):

UKIP’s euro-mania may be its unique selling point, but it’s actually perhaps the least troubling element of the party’s platform. Much of the rest of it, at least as itemised on its website, appears to advocate massively reducing government revenues and simultaneously increasing expenditure on items UKIP deems vital. That’s politics, of course, but it’s politics as written on the back of a beer mat, not the kind of stuff that makes any real sense.

So, sure, merging national insurance and income tax is intuitively sensible and a single 31 per cent rate of tax at least has the advantage of being easy to understand. But actually implementing this is a different matter. Moreover and even though I rather approve of UKIP’s desire to increase the tax-free personal allowance it does not take a bear of any great brain to appreciate that the already-wealthy will be the biggest beneficiaries of UKIP’s tax policies.

Since the party also proposes to eliminate employer’s national insurance and VAT (replacing it with a local sales tax) one does wonder where the money will come from to pay for the services UKIP pledges to protect.

Because despite all the talk of cutting government down to size, UKIP’s ‘mission statement’ is awkwardly silent on what parts of the government – other than contributions to the EU! – might be axed. I mean, there’s a pledge to ‘bring Quangos under Parliament’s control and cut the cost substantially’ and that’s about it. Really, there’s not much more than that. Who knew John Bull rode a unicorn?

Take energy, for example. UKIP wish to eliminate subsidies for renewable energy and, er, replace them with subsidies for nuclear power. That’s a policy for sure but it’s not necessarily a cheaper one. And since UKIP also want – not altogether unreasonably – to ‘give the public power to require binding local and national referenda on major issue’ it’s not certain they would even be able to build their new nuclear power stations either. What if the people say No?
Global warming, of course, ‘is not proven’ (actually it is; the question is what is the most effective and efficient way of dealing with it) and we need to free ourselves from ‘dependence’ on ‘foreign oil and gas’. Why? Because it is oil and gas or because it is foreign? It’s not clear. (The mainstream libertarian view is that it doesn’t much matter where we source these commodities.)

Indeed, the only government department whose budget UKIP promises to slash is, naturally, International Development. I suspect much of that budget is spent with dubious efficiency and all the rest of it but the idea cutting foreign aid will pay for everything else is populist wankery of the most deceitful kind. (...)

Again, increasing the police budget and spending more on national defence (another thing for which UKIP stands) are perfectly respectable views. Even so, a libertarian-minded fiscal hawk might wonder where the money will come to pay for all this. He – it is usually a he – might also wonder if UKIP’s support for eliminating university tuition fees and boosting the ‘Citizen’s Pension’ to a ‘substantial’ level is really compatible with reducing public debt. He only asks, you know.

But he might also wonder if UKIP’s enthusiasm for increasing the state’s power is really all that compatible with libertarianism as the term is at least sometimes (and in my mind, properly) understood. UKIP wishes to ‘Free the police force from the straitjacket of political correctness’ and it wants to repeal the Human Rights Act because this is necessary to ‘end abuses by convicted criminals and illegal immigrants’. Perhaps. There is, mind you, at least a credible libertarian argument for supposing that placing limits on the police’s powers is one way to protect individuals from the state. Equally, it must be possible that the protections afforded by the Human Rights Act are not exclusively enjoyed by ‘criminals’ and ‘illegal immigrants’ and might also be something to be cherished by clean-living, stout-hearted Britons.

Then there’s the dog-whistling. ‘Permanent’ immigration should be frozen for five years (why only five?) and thereafter only open to those who are well-educated, wealthy and ‘fluent in English’. In other words: Australians and some South Africans are fine, Poles and Nigerians may be less welcome.

UKIP make this pretty clear in the final section of What We Stand For. They say: ‘Our traditional values have been undermined’. But what are those traditional values? A whites-only immigration policy? Women in the kitchen? The working-classes knowing their place? Gays denied the right to marry one another? UKIP doesn’t say.

It gets worse. ‘Children are taught to be ashamed of our past.’ Really? It is not so long since I was at school myself but I do not recall – outside of divinity lessons – any great instruction on how to feel properly ashamed. Must I now presume that my friends and relatives who are teachers are actually indoctrinating their pupils in a massive programme of national self-abasement?

Then there’s this. ‘Multiculturalism has split our society’. Well, define your terms please. If by multiculturalism you mean those people who are stupidly tolerant of forced marriages, honour killing and the general thwarting of women’s rights to self-expression and fulfillment, then you have a point. But those people are in a minority. There are some obvious – and serious – problems with integration but there is nothing wrong with multiculturalism provided those myriad cultures operate within the norms of British standards of behaviour. Below that common denominator there is ample room for difference and individual preference.

But if you fail to define what you mean by multiculturalism you should not be surprised – or act offended – if some people wonder if your use of the loaded, imprecise word ‘multiculturalism’ is actually code for something else.

UKIP conclude that ‘Political correctness is stifling free speech’. Actually, it is Britain’s parliamentarians, cloth-brained prosecutors and fatheaded police officers who are doing that. Can’t blame Europe for this. And yet these are the people and authorities whom UKIP argue should be given more power, not less. It’s a rum old world right enough. But should we be surprised by any of this? Probably not. After all, senior UKIP figures want to pass laws telling British citizens what clothes they may – or rather, may not – wear. Live and let live? Up to a point, mate.

Bases intelectuais do "liberalismo anti-capitalista"*

On the Shoulders of Giants, por Kevin Carson (Center for a Stateless Society):

But I’d hate for anyone to get the impression that my “free market anti-capitalism” is sui generis. In fact for well over a decade it’s been “steam engine time” for left-wing free market analysis. And the intellectual foundations of our thought go back very far indeed.

First, the classical liberalism of two centuries ago was in many ways a left-wing critique of the large landed and mercantile interests. Classical liberalism and classical socialism were very closely related in their origins, and the two currents often overlapped considerably. Although the “Ricardian socialist” label conventionally ascribed to him is somewhat misleading, Thomas Hodgskin — one of the major influences on my own thought — was in fact both a classical liberal in the tradition of Adam Smith and an anti-capitalist who gave lectures in radical political economy to the London Mechanics Institution.

Since then there has been a broad current of thought that is both socialistic in its objectives and free market libertarian in its praxis; it has included the individualist anarchists of Benjamin Tucker’s “Liberty” group, figures like Dyer Lum and Voltairine de Cleyre on the border between individualist anarchism and labor radicalism, and Georgists and quasi-Georgists ranging from Henry George himself to Franz Oppenheimer, Albert Jay Nock and Ralph Borsodi.

Second, the modern libertarian movement has had left-leaning strands. As far back as the late ’60s, in the mainstream American libertarian movement, Murray Rothbard and Karl Hess were seeking areas of commonality with the libertarian wing of SDS, and with revisionist scholars like William Appleman Williams, Gabriel Kolko and David Horowitz (long story), in critiquing the fundamentally statist character of American corporate capitalism. Or as Rothbard put it, in “The Student Revolution”: “… our corporate state uses the coercive taxing power either to accumulate corporate capital or to lower corporate costs.”

And third, even as I was groping toward what I eventually labeled “free market anti-capitalism,” I found many others on the same path. My first close affiliation in the anarchist milieu was with Ed Stamm’s affinity group, the Voluntary Cooperation Movement — a major component of which was the revived Proudhonian mutualism promoted by Larry Gambone at Red Lion Press. Jonathan Simcock, editor of Total Liberty in the UK — while not an avowed individualist anarchist — provided a clearinghouse for surviving members in the individualist anarchist community. In the U.S., Joe Peacott of the Boston Anarchist Drinking (B.A.D.) Brigade adhered to the original, anti-capitalist version of individualist anarchism. To the extent that you could squeeze the rather prickly and irascible Fred Woodworth of Tucson’s The Match! into any particular category, individualist anarchism is probably it.

Meanwhile Auburn University philosophy professor Roderick T. Long had already been evolving from a fairly orthodox Rothbardianism toward a left-wing free market critique of capitalism. His former grad assistant Charles Johnson, a left-wing social anarchist in his origins, was — although never embracing Rothbardianism as such — influenced by Long in adopting a free market critique of capitalism.

Long, Johnson, and other leftward-evolving Rothbardians like Brad Spangler (founder of Center for a Stateless Society) have since coalesced — along with assorted individualist anarchists (like yours truly), Georgists and others disgruntled with the conventional libertarian right (like C4SS Media Director Thomas Knapp ) into a large and loosely organized movement that includes the Alliance of the Libertarian Left and C4SS. We include Sheldon Richman (who published or wrote a great deal of left-libertarian commentary at The Freeman, and now edits Freedom Monthly), Gary Chartier of La Sierra University who has written a considerable body of left-libertarian books and articles, and a whole community of excellent writers who engage in free market critiques of capitalism and anarchist critiques of state and cultural authoritarianism: David D’Amato, Ross Kenyon, Anna Morgenstern, Keith Taylor, James Tuttle and Darian Worden, among many others (to whom I apologize for leaving out).

During the same period Shawn Wilbur has amassed an impressive body of scholarly analysis and recovered an enormous collection of mutualist and individual anarchist literature from the early and mid-19th century.

In the UK, Sean Gabb has created a welcoming space for left-libertarian commentary at the Libertarian Alliance. From the Randian community, Objectivist Chris Sciabarra and post-Objectivist Arthur Silber have developed the neglected anti-corporatist and culturally libertarian aspects of Ayn Rand’s thought.

And it’s hardly as if this mushrooming tendency is limited to the ALL/C4SS community or even to the legacy libertarian movement. As I said earlier, it’s steam engine time for critiques of the corporate welfare state, corporatism and crony capitalism. They can be found in Dean Baker‘s The Conservative Nanny State and Naomi Klein‘s The Shock Doctrine, among other places. Even the Koch Brothers, of all people, pay lip-service to them.

*a minha tradução de "free-market anti-capitalism"

Re: O caso de Chipre (II)

As novas noticias que os bancos cipriotas não irão abrir nos próximos dias fizerem-me lembrar deste post que Paul Krugman escreveu há 3 anos:

 For a long time my view on the euro has been that it may well have been a mistake, but that bygones were bygones — it could not be undone. I was strongly influenced by the view expressed by Barry Eichengreen in a classic 2007 article (although I had heard that argument — maybe from Barry? — long before that piece was published): as Eichengreen argued, any move to leave the euro would require time and preparation, and during the transition period there would be devastating bank runs. So the idea of a euro breakup was a non-starter.

But now I’m reconsidering, for a simple reason: the Eichengreen argument is a reason not to plan on leaving the euro — but what if the bank runs and financial crisis happen anyway? In that case the marginal cost of leaving falls dramatically, and in fact the decision may effectively be taken out of policymakers’ hands. (...)

Think of it this way: the Greek government cannot announce a policy of leaving the euro — and I’m sure it has no intention of doing that. But at this point it’s all too easy to imagine a default on debt, triggering a crisis of confidence, which forces the government to impose a banking holiday — and at that point the logic of hanging on to the common currency come hell or high water becomes a lot less compelling.
[Neste momento, este post faz mais sentido se interpretarmos o "Greek" em "Greek government" no sentido étnico-cultural em vez de politico-estatal, isto é, um "governo de cultura e origem grega" em vez de especificamente o governo do Estado chamado "Grécia"]

Re: O caso de Chipre

Bem, a partir do momento em que os bancos vão ficar fechados até quinta, tenho que reconhecer (um pouco contra o que escrevi aqui) que isto já começa a parecer um "curralito"

Monday, March 18, 2013

As remunerações no Estado e no sector privado

Há anos que circula uma história segundo a qual os funcionários públicos ganham mais do que no privado, e que a diferença será mais favorável aos funcionários públicos sobretudo nos escalões de mais baixos rendimentos.

Eu sempre achei essa história muito estranha - afinal, se até à pouco tempo as telefonistas na Função Pública ganhavam menos que o salário minimo nacional, e grupos profissionais como os auxiliares de acção médica têm vencimentos de inicio de carreira pouco acima do SMN, como era possivel que os trabalhadores equivalentes do sector privado ganhassem substancialmente menos?

Entretanto, pelo estudo divulgado hoje, e comparando vencimentos em categorias equivalentes no sector público e no privado (ver páginas 69 e 70), e enviado pelo governo aos sindicatos, concluímos que essa história era uma farsa (ou então usavam uma definição de "escalões mais baixos" muito diferente da minha):

Afinal, ao contrário do mito, os Assistentes Operacionais (telefonistas, operários, auxiliares de acção médica, etc.) ganham menos no Estado do que os seus equivalentes no provado, e os Assistentes Técnicos (empregados de escritório) ganham sensivelmente o mesmo; é em categorias mais elevadas (como Técnicos Superiores e chefias intermédias) que se encontram profissionais a ganhar remunerações base substancialmente mais elevadas no público do que no privado. Se em vem das remunerações base, contarmos com o ganho médio mensal, aí não me parece que em nenhum escalão da FP haja grupos profissionais a ganhar de forma assinalável mais do que no privado (é verdade que aí, realmente, as chefias de topo parecem ganhar muito menos no Estado do que no sector privado, mas nem sei se os poderemos considerar como situações verdadeiramente comparáveis).

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

O plano do movimento "Occupy" para reduzir as dívidas

Why Occupy's plan to cancel consumer debts is money well spent, por Charles Eisentein, Comment is Free / Guardian (via Business Insider):

A new initiative is re-energising the Occupy movement. Called the Rolling Jubilee, it is a plan to use money from donations to buy distressed consumer debt from lenders at a marked down price, just as debt collection agencies normally would. But instead of hounding debtors for payments, it will simply cancel the debts. The hope is that the liberated debtors will themselves contribute to the fund, "rolling" the jubilee forward. (...)

But despite its non-threatening appearance, the Rolling Jubilee has significant transformative potential. Two pillars uphold the present debt regime: the moral legitimacy of debt in society's eyes, ie, the idea that a person "should" pay back what he owes; and the coercive mechanisms that enforce repayment, such as harassment, seizure of assets, garnishment of wages, denial of employment or housing, and even imprisonment. The Rolling Jubilee erodes both. It destigmatises debt by saying, "we're all in this together, we believe your situation is unfair, not shameful, so we're going to help you out". And it lessens the severity of the consequences of default. If defaulting means you might get bailed out, why keep paying?

For this reason, we might expect lenders to balk at co-operating with the Rolling Jubilee, perhaps by refusing to sell loans to anyone who doesn't agree to seek collection. So here is a third reason why the idea is so brilliant: if the lenders block debt cancellation even when it comes at no cost to themselves (as they would have sold it at the same price to a collection agency), they appear as a bunch of greedy, vindictive Scrooges. Given their current vulnerability, banks might not want to incite hostility by preventing people from helping each other out.

Accordingly, it is important that the Jubilee organisers continue to frame it in precisely that way: people helping each other out of hardship. Yes, they might understand that its political significance runs deeper, but if they portray it as a political ploy then it will be met as such by the banks or other authorities. Public opinion might also not be as sympathetic.

Tecnologias "pró-poder" e distribuição dos rendimentos

Power-Biased Technological Change and the Rise in Earnings Inequality, por Peter Skott e Frederic Guy:

New information and communication technologies, we argue, have been 'power-biased': they have allowed firms to monitor low-skill workers more closely, thus reducing the power of these workers. An efficiency wage model shows that 'power-biased technical change' in this sense may generate rising wage inequality accompanied by an increase in both the effort and unemployment of low-skill workers. The skill-biased technological change hypothesis, on the other hand, offers no explanation for the observed increase in effort.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

O caso de Chipre

Tenho a ideia que muita gente está a achar a situação de Chipre como pior do que é efectivamente, tanto na versão "estão a ver do que a troika é capaz?", como na "estão a ver o que aconteceria se não fosse a troika?".

No fundo, o que é que tem assim de tão especial confiscar 6,5% ou 10% dos depósitos bancários? Pelas minhas contas, se me confiscassem 10% do que eu tenho no banco, seria menos do que os subsídios de férias e Natal que deixei de receber o ano passado.

Fazendo as contas de outra maneira - se (como por vezes é recomendado) tivermos poupanças no banco equivalentes a 6 meses de ordenado, um imposto de 10% sobre os depósitos equivale ao valor anual de um imposto de 5% sobre os rendimentos. Em aumentos do IRS e do IVA já tivemos muito mais que isso.

Suspeito que o título enganoso do Público ("Cipriotas em choque tentam levantar dinheiro mas contas já estão bloqueadas") terá contribuído para fazer a situação parecer pior - quem lesse só o título ficaria com a ideia que tinha havido um "curralito" à argentina, sem se puder mexer nas contas; afinal, a única coisa que está "bloqueada" é o dinheiro equivalente ao imposto que vai ser pago.

É verdade que isto é potencialmente perigoso, mas não tanto para Chipre - é perigoso para países como a Espanha ou a Itália, onde as pessoas podem pensar "E se decidem fazer o mesmo aqui?", e ir já levantar o dinheiro, antes de isso ser decidido (provocando assim o colapso dos bancos desses países).

Uma nota final - a evolução de Chipre pode funcionar como uma "experiência natural" no contexto da discussão sobre se a austeridade afecta a economia pelo efeito Laffer (mais impostos > menos incentivos para produzir) ou pelo efeito Keynes (mais impostos e menos despesas > redução da procura) - um imposto sobre os depósitos não tem "efeito Laffer" (como incide sobre o dinheiro que já foi ganho e poupado, não vai afectar incentivos para as decisões futuras de trabalhar/investir mais ou menos), mas tem "efeito Keynes" (como as pessoas passam a ter menos dinheiro no banco, passam a gastar menos).

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Prémio póstumo para Aaron Swartz

A American Library Association atribuiu o James Madison Award a Aaron Swartz (a primeira pessoa a receber postumamente o prémio):

About the James Madison Award The award named for President James Madison was established in 1986 and is presented annually on the anniversary of his birth to honor individuals or groups who have championed, protected and promoted public access to government information and the public’s right to know at the national level.

 2013 Winner(s)

Aaron Swartz

Before his untimely death in January, Swartz was an outspoken advocate for public participation in government and unrestricted access to peer-reviewed scholarly articles. Swartz was a co-founder of Demand Progress, an advocacy group that organizes people to take action on civil liberties and government reform issues. Swartz was also a leader in the national campaign to prevent the passing of the Stop Online Piracy Act, a bill that would have diminished critical online legal protections.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Em defesa dos pobres "que não se esforçam"

Support the undeserving poor, por Chris Dillow:

Two of the great and correct insights of libertarianism are that the state has very limited knowledge, and that its interventions often lead to people gaming the system. This is true of welfare spending as of anything else. The government doesn't have the knowhow to distinguish well between the deserving and undeserving poor. And its efforts to do so are not only expensive - in terms of paying bureaucrats and corporate scroungers and fraudsters - but also bear heavily upon the honest and naive deserving poor whilst the undeserving, who know how to game the system, get off.

2. There's another way in which trying to distinguish between deserving and undeserving poor can be expensive. What looks like a reluctance to work might instead be practicing one's skills in preparation for high earnings later. If the state had forced benefit claimants to work in the early 90s, we might not have had Oasis or the Harry Potter novels, and the tax revenue they generated.It doesn't take many multi-million pound earners to pay for a lot of the £3692 annual Jobseekers' Allowance paid to "scroungers".

3.The lazy are a minority of the unemployed. The ONS says (Excel file) that only 16.3% of the unemployed have high life satisfaction (9-10 on a 0-10 scale) whilst 45% have low satisfaction (0-6). The equivalent figures for the employed are 24.4% and 20% respectively. With the lazy in a minority, it's harder, and so more expensive, for the state to identify them.

4. What looks like laziness might be an endogenous (pdf) preference. If someone has looked for work and not found it, they might eventually, sour-grapes style, decide not to try. Why should people be punished for reconciling themselves to their situation?

5. If you want to help the deserving poor, subsidizing the lazy to stay on the dole might be a good way to do so. For one thing, it reduces competition for jobs and so gives the deserving a greater chance of getting work. And for another thing, if you deprive the "irresponsible" of an income you don't just increase their incentive to find useful work. You also increase their incentives to commit crime. The deserving poor might thus find themselves the victims of more mugging and burglary.

As pessoas bonitas são chatas?

Segundo um artigo na Business Insider, "Beautiful People Are Boring", conclusão tirada a partir de um estudo que terá descoberto que as pessoas (ou pelo menos as mulheres) bonitas tendem a ser mais conformistas, preocupadas com as convenções sociais, etc.

A mim parece-me (e sem ter lido o estudo em questão, apenas as suas apresentações) que para chegar das conclusões do estudo às conclusões do artigo publicado na BI, precisamos de assumir uma premissa adicional - de que as pessoas conformistas são chatas, o que não me parece que seja assim tão líquido (o que mais há para aí é pessoas não-conformistas chatas, tanto no tipo "pensador com a cabeça nas nuvens que mal mantêm uma conversa", como no tipo "gajo que não se cala com as suas teorias").

Thursday, March 14, 2013

As ligações escondidas do chavismo

Em adenda ao que o João Valente Aguiar escreve aqui, convém recordar os contactos que Chavéz tinha quando, enquanto militar no activo, tentava tomar o poder via golpe de estado - os carapintadas argentinos, como o tenente-coronel Aldo Rico e o coronel Mohamed Alí Seineldín, que desencadearam várias sublevações militares contra o governo argentino exigindo a amnistia para os militares envolvidos na "guerra suja". É mais ou menos reconhecido que Chavez trocou correspondência com Rico e Seineldin, pelo menos depois do golpe falhado de 1992 (além desse contactos directos, há também uma relação indirecta via o referido Norberto Ceresole, que, antes e depois de viver na Venezuela e colaborar com Chavez, foi acessor de Aldo Rico).

Rico e Seineldin vieram a "renegar" Chavéz, à medida que este se foi aproximando do regime cubano, mas ao principio as simpatias eram claras.

Outro "lider" sul-americano com quem o chavismo parece ter tido ligações muito suspeitas foi o peruano Alberto Fujimori - houve apenas vagas suspeitas que Fujimori teria dado apoio ao golpe de Chavéz de 1992, mas é um facto estabelecido que, após uma segunda tentativa de golpe esse ano (já com Chavéz preso), o Peru deu asilo político aos golpistas (pode ter havido aí um factor "o inimigo do meu inimigo é meu amigo" - a Venezuela de Andrés Perez era dos países sul-americanos que mais se havia oposto ao "auto-golpe" de Fujimori, provavelmente devido aos laços entre a A.D. de Perez e o A.P.R.A. peruano, o principal partido anti-Fujimori).

E, finalmente, temos a aberta admiração de Chavéz pelo brutal ditador Pérez Jimenéz (governante da Venezuela entre 1952 e 1958), que chegou a classificar como "o melhor presidente que a Venezuela teve em muito tempo". Em 1998, Chavéz convidou Jimenéz (então exilado na Europa) para a sua tomada de posse (o que este recusou).

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

Vantagens e desvantagem da especialização

Middlemen, Specialization and Birthday Parties, por David Friedman:

Increased specialization, the substitution of commercial for home production, appears in a variety of other contexts. Another that I have observed is the Society for Creative Anachronism, a group that does historical recreation of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. In the early years of the Society, thirty or forty years ago, if you wanted medieval clothing you researched it yourself and made it yourself or, if you were lucky, got a friend who was better at it to make it for you. The same applied to most of the rest of what you had—rattan swords, most or all of your armor, jewelery, tents, even shoes if you wanted something more period looking than you could buy in a shoe store.

Nowadays, you can go to the Pennsic War, the Society's largest annual event, or online, and buy clothing, swords, armor, jewelery, tents, shoes. In some ways, it is a great improvement—the quality and authenticity of what you can buy, sometimes at quite reasonable prices, is considerably better than what most of us managed to make for ourselves. The best work now, done by specialists, is better than the best was forty years ago, and available to many more people.

Something is gained, but something else is lost. Part of the fun, in the early days, was having an excuse to learn and practice a wide variety of crafts, research things for yourself instead of depending on what other people told you.

At the most recent Pennsic, I made the acquaintance of a group that camped near us but that, for some reason, I had not previously encountered. Many of their tents, much of their furniture, they had made for themselves. They called themselves the clockmaker's guild, and one of their members had indeed built a clock, which he showed me. It was made of wood and worked without a pendulum, the pendulum clock being, he told me, an invention that appeared just after the SCA's cutoff of 1600 A.D.

All of which is how I knew that they were my kind of people.

Robert Heinlein:
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

[Hum, destes 21 pontos, acho que eu só seria capaz de 5; ou 6, se contarmos com atos feitos no contexto de jogos de computador...]


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Estética coreana

Coreia do Norte divulga lista de cortes de cabelo oficiais

Coreia do Sul proibe exposição "excessiva" de pele (via Business Insider)

Irão - um estado irracional?

Iran v. the US: Who is the Rational Actor on the Nuclear Question?, por Steven Taylor:

He goes on to note a substantial list of actors that have had nuclear weapons and not used them. I think that the following are worth emphasizing: North Korea, India, and Pakistan.

Much of the debate about Iran is predicated on two premises: first that their leadership is unstable, if not insane, and second that they are driven by (and therefore blinded by) religious and ethnic hatreds.

Now, we have two test cases for contrast: in North Korea the precise stability of the previous rule, King Jong Il, was a legitimate question. Certainly his was case in which the appearance to the rest of the world was of a egomaniac who made any number of questionable, if not downright strange, decisions. However: no use of nukes. North Korea is also a case of a system of highly concentrated power in the hands of the Supreme Leader (note the title) and yet, their general behavior falls into basic category of a rational state actor (even their “crazy” behavior, like some of the attacks on the South, were clearly calculated to achieve certain goals, which were often achieved). We like to talk colloquially about “crazy” states and “irrational” leaders, but we do so without much in the way of evidence. Yes, people like Ahmajinedad says some “crazy” things—but the proof is not in the rhetoric, it is in the actions of states.

The other example, India-Pakistan, lends significant credence to the notion that even states whose basis of animosity is grounded in ethno-religious conflict will behave the way that basic deterrence theory assumes that they will behave. That is to say that the leadership in question will calculate that the losses from a nuclear exchange far outweigh any gains to be had from engaging in a first strike. Where is the evidence to suggest that Iran will behave any differently? I would note, too, that there appears to be plenty of religious ideologues in the Pakistani government.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Autodeterminação nas Falkland (II)

Nas Malvinas, 99,8% dos eleitores preferem ser das Falkland (Público):

Os habitantes das ilhas Malvinas (Falklands para os britânicos) votaram esmagadoramente a favor da ligação ao Reino Unido. Os resultados oficiais do referendo local de domingo e segunda-feira indicam que essa é a vontade de 99,8% dos votantes.

No escrutínio, considerado nulo pela Argentina, que tem reivindicações de soberania sobre este arquipélago do Atlântico Sul, votaram 92% dos 1672 eleitores. Só três eleitores se pronunciaram contra a manutenção do estatuto de território ultramarino do Reino Unido.
Uma dúvida que nunca será provavelmente esclarecida: os 3 eleitores que votaram "não" seriam a favor da integração na Argentina ou da independência das ilhas?


Leaked audio recording of Bradley Manning describing his response to the July 12, 2007 Baghdad Apache airstrike video that documented the killing of two Reuters journalists.

Mais sindicatos, menos Estado?

Conservatives - Suport Unions!, por Chris Dillow:

[T]rade unions are an example of non-statist self-reliance, of people organizing to help themselves rather than looking to government.

I say this because of a fact pointed out by Philippe Aghion and colleagues - that there is a strong negative correlation across countries between union membership and minimum wage laws. Countries with strong unions, such as the Nordic nations, tend to have no minimum wage laws whilst countries with lower union membership, such as Greece or France, have stronger minimum wage legislation.

The UK had no national minimum wage in the 50s and 60s, believing that collective bargaining could better regulate wages. It was only after the collapse in union power that a NMW was enacted.

I suspect that what's true of minimum wages might also be true of other aspects of regulation. Elf n safety laws also increased after the decline of unions.

Unions, then, are an alternative to state intervention.There's a simple reason for this. Workers, naturally, will always want their working standards improved. If they cannot pursue this aim through unionization, they'll do so through politics instead.

But the thing is that collective bargaining is a more efficient way of protecting workers than the law.One reason for this is that the law inflexibly applies to everyone, whereas bargaining allows for workers to accept worse wages or working conditions where it would be prohibitively expensive to improve them. Also, the complexity of the law creates uncertainty which can be worse for business than good working relations with a union.


In this sense, people who want less state intervention and stronger growth should be sympathetic towards unions. So, why aren't Tories mourning their decline? I mean, it's not as if they just blindly hate the working class, is it?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Os três mitos Democratas contra o filibuster de Rand Paul

Three Democratic myths used to demean the Paul filibuster, por Glen Greenwald:

 In sum, virtually all of the claims made by these progressive commentators in opposition to Paul's filibuster are false. Moreover, last week's Senate drama, and the reaction to it by various factions, reveals several critical points about how US militarism and the secrecy that enables it are sustained. I was traveling last week on a speaking tour and thus watched all of it unfold without writing about it, so I want to highlight three key points from all of this, centered around myths propagated by Democrats to demean Paul's filibuster and the concerns raised by it (...)

Some progressives are unintentionally candid about their self-interest leading them to dismiss these issues on the ground that it doesn't affect people like themselves. "I can think of lots of things that might frighten me, but having a drone attack me in my bed tonight is not one of them", declared one white progressive at a large liberal blog in the course of attacking Paul's filibuster. Of course that's not a concern of hers: she's not in the groups who are so targeted, so therefore the issues are irrelevant to her. Other writers at large progressive blogs have similarly admitted that they care little about "civil liberties and a less bellicose foreign policy" because they instead are "primarily interested in the well-being of the American middle-class": ie, themselves. And, of course, the same is true of all the MSNBC hosts mocking Paul as paranoid: they are not the kind of people affected by the kinds of concerns they aggressively deride in order to defend their leader.

When you combine what Teju Cole describes as this selfish "empathy gap" among progressives with the authoritarian strain in American liberalism that worships political power and reveres political institutions (especially when their party controls them), it's unsurprising that they are so callous and dismissive of these issues (I'm not talking about those who pay little attention to these issues - there are lots of significant issues and one can only pay attention to a finite number - but rather those who affirmatively dismiss their significance or rationalize these policies). As Amy Goodman wrote in the Guardian: "Senator Paul's outrage with the president's claimed right to kill US citizens is entirely appropriate. That there is not more outrage at the thousands killed around the globe is shameful … and dangerous."

For a political faction that loves to depict itself as the champions of "empathy", and which reflexively accuses others of having their political beliefs shaped by self-interest, this is an ironic fact indeed. It's also the central dynamic driving the politics of these issues: the US government and media collaborate to keep the victims of these abuses largely invisible, so we rarely have to confront them, and on those rare occasions when we do, we can easily tell ourselves (false though the assurance is) that these abuses do not affect us and our families and it's therefore only "paranoia" that can explain why someone might care so much about them.


The primary means of mocking Paul's concerns was to deride the notion that Obama is about to unleash drone attacks and death squads on US soil aimed at Americans. But nobody, including Paul, suggested that was the case. To focus on that attack is an absurd strawman, a deliberate distraction from the real issues, a total irrelevancy. That's true for two primary reasons.

First, the reason this question matters so much - can the President target US citizens for assassination without due process on US soil? - is because it demonstrates just how radical the Obama administration's theories of executive power are. Once you embrace the premises of everything they do in this area - we are a Nation at War; the entire globe is the battlefield; the president is vested with the unchecked power to use force against anyone he accuses of involvement with Terrorism - then there is no cogent, coherent way to say that the president lacks the power to assassinate even US citizens on US soil. That conclusion is the necessary, logical outcome of the premises that have been embraced. That's why it is so vital to ask that.
To see how true that is, consider the fact that a US president - with very little backlash - has already asserted this very theory on US soil. In 2002, the US arrested a US citizen (Jose Padilla) on US soil (at the O'Hare International Airport in Chicago), and then imprisoned him for the next three-and-a-half years in a military brig without charges of any kind. The theory was that the president has the power to declare anyone (including a US citizen) to be an "enemy combatant" and then punish him as such no matter where he is found (including US soil), even if they are not engaged in any violence at the time they are targeted (as was true for Padilla, who was simply walking unarmed through the airport). Once you accept this framework - that this is a War; the Globe is the Battlefield; and the Commander-in-Chief is the Decider - then the President can treat even US citizens on US soil (part of the battlefield) as "enemy combatants", and do anything he wants to them as such: imprison them without charges or order them killed.

Far from being "paranoid", this theory has already been asserted on US soil during the Bush presidency. It has been applied to US citizens by the Obama administration. It does not require "paranoia" to raise concerns about the inevitable logical outcome of these theories. Instead, it takes blind authoritarian faith in political leaders to believe that such a suggestion is so offensive and outlandish that merely to raise it is crazy. Once you embrace the US government's War on Terror framework, then there is no cogent legal argument for limiting the assassination power to foreign soil. If the Globe is a Battlefield, then that, by definition, obviously includes the US.


Defenders of the Obama administration now insist that this entire controversy has been resolved by a letter written to Paul by Attorney General Eric Holder, in which Holder wrote: "It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: 'Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?' The answer to that question is no." Despite Paul's declaration of victory, this carefully crafted statement tells us almost nothing about the actual controversy.

As Law Professor Ryan Goodman wrote yesterday in the New York Times, "the Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, has acted with an overly broad definition of what it means to be engaged in combat." That phrase - "engaged in combat" - does not only include people who are engaged in violence at the time you detain or kill them. It includes a huge array of people who we would not normally think of, using common language, as being "engaged in combat".

Indeed, the whole point of the Paul filibuster was to ask whether the Obama administration believes that it has the power to target a US citizen for assassination on US soil the way it did to Anwar Awlaki in Yemen. The Awlaki assassination was justified on the ground that Awlaki was a "combatant", that he was "engaged in combat", even though he was killed not while making bombs or shooting at anyone but after he had left a cafe where he had breakfast. If the Obama administration believes that Awlaki was "engaged in combat" at the time he was killed - and it clearly does - then Holder's letter is meaningless at best, and menacing at worst, because that standard is so broad as to vest the president with exactly the power his supporters now insist he disclaimed.

The phrase "engaged in combat" has come to mean little more than: anyone the President accuses, in secrecy and with no due process, of supporting a Terrorist group. Indeed, radically broad definitions of "enemy combatant" have been at the heart of every War on Terror policy, from Guantanamo to CIA black sites to torture.

Autodeterminação nas Falkland


O arquipélago das Falkland ou Malvinas conclui hoje (segundo dia de votação) uma das consultas democráticas mais previsíveis de sempre. Espera-se que os seus habitantes votem a favor da manutenção da soberania britânica, em percentagens mais próprias de um plebiscito num qualquer país totalitário, da ordem dos 90 e muitos por cento.

Os habitantes das ilhas, conhecidos por kelpers, têm até às 18h de hoje (21h em Portugal) para responder à seguinte pergunta: "Deseja que as ilhas Falkland mantenham o seu estatuto político atual, como território ultramarino do Reino Unido?". Se, contra todas as expectativas, dissessem que não, teria de haver novo referendo sobre alternativas à soberania britânica. As ilhas, de clima agreste, ficam a 400 km da costa argentina e a 13 mil km de Londres.

Rousseau: jacobino ou "reaccionário"?

The Reactionary Rousseau, por Bertrand de Jouvenal, em The American Conservative (versão original, escrita em 1962):

In the Social Contract, Rousseau offered no recipe for turning the government of a large and complex society into a democracy: on the contrary, he offered a demonstration that on the one hand great numbers, on the other requirement of great activity in Government inevitably led to the centralization of political authority in a few hands, which he regarded as the opposite of Democracy. Quite early, Rousseau had expressed alarm about plans for the radical reconstruction of the French political system, and in the Dialogues designed for posthumous publication he complained bitterly:

His object could not be to bring back large population and big States to the initial simplicity but only to arrest, if possible, the progress of those small and isolated enough for their preservation form their perfection of Society and the deterioration of the species…But the bad faith of men of letters and that silly vanity which forever persuades everyone that he is being thought of, causes great nations to apply to themselves what was meant for small Republics; and, perversely, one wished to see a promoter of subversion and troubles in the man who is most prone to respect national laws and constitutions and who has the strongest aversion for revolutions, and for ligueurs of all kind, who return the compliment.

The mere quoting of Peter the Great as a model of what should not be done suffices to stress that Rousseau deliberately advanced the view opposed to that of the Philosophes. They all thought highly of Peter’s efforts to “westernize” the Russian people; indeed in his day they were enamored of Catherine the Great, who was pursuing the same object, denounced by Rousseau. Jean-Jacques’s position here is consistent with the more general and extreme statement he made twenty years earlier in the preface to Narcisse: “Everything which facilitates communication between the several nations carries to each not the virtues but the vices of another, and alters in all the mores suitable to its climate and constitution.”

Again his attitude is opposed to that of the Philosophers, and to the modern attitude, in terms of administration. They were all in favor of centralization: he stands against it. He would like to see Poland “a confederation of thirty-three small States.” This fully accords with his desire to involve all citizens in public affairs, and with his finding that the proportion of those so involved declines as membership of the body politic increases. It seems strange that Rousseau should have been invoked as patron by the centralizing Jacobins.

Political confederation rather than unification, limited rather universal suffrage, systematic cultivation of national traits rather than westernization, self-sufficiency rather than foreign trade, rural life rather than westernization, taxes in kind rather than in money, subsistence agriculture associated with cottage crafts rather than farming for the market and establishment of industrial complexes – at every point Rousseau’s advice to the Poles stands in contradiction to that which is now currently given to under-developed countries.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Outros artigos

É interessante ver, no final deste artigo do Público sobre a sucessão de Chávez, os "outros artigos" (provavelmente gerados automaticamente) sobre o tema.

Divórcio vs. Viuvez

A respeito dos problemas comportamentais que por vezes os filhos de pais divorciados exibem e da polémica entre "conservadores" e "progressistas" sobre se a "culpa" é dos pais serem divorciados ou é do processo que levou ao divórcio, há muito que penso que uma boa experiência de controlo seria comparar os filhos de pais divorciados com os órfãos (ou meio-orfãos). Afinal, estes últimos têm a mesma experiência que os filhos de pais divorciados em termos de viverem numa familia monoparental (sobretudo os orfãos de pai parecem-me um termo de comparação bastante apropriado) mas sem terem passado pela fase de verem os pais em conflito (ok, passaram pela morte de um pai, o que é provavelmente mais traumatizante, mas provavelmente é um trauma mais concentrado num momento especifico).

Diga-se que, pela experiência com os meu colegas do secundário, enquanto o R. (filho de pais divorciados) tinha um comportamento bastante problemático (mais no sentido de ser armar em "engraçadinho"; não no sentido de ser violento ou agessivo, que é o que hoje em dia se pensa quando se ouve falar em problemas de comportamento), o L. e o F. (ambos orfãos de pai) eram 2 dos 4 melhores alunos da turma (se nos limitarmos aos rapazes, eram 2 dos 3 melhores).

Mas há estudos feitos sobre o assunto, como este, "Father Absence and the Welfare of Children", de Sara McLanaham, que parecem apontar no mesmo sentido:

Dividing the children of the NSFH into four groups - those with no family disruption, those who lost a parent to death, those whose parents divorced, and those born to never-married mothers - we find significant differences in educational outcomes. Those whose mothers divorced or never married clearly suffer the most negative effects. Adjusting for the factors that predate father absence and are known to influence school failure, we find that children in these two categories are several times more likely to drop out of school than their peers with intact families. The dropout risk is 37 percent for those with never-married mothers and 31 percent for those with divorced parents, in contrast with the 13 percent risk of those from families with no disruption. Significantly, the risk for children who lost a parent to death is 15 percent, virtually the same as that for children from intact homes. Clearly, children of a widowed mother enjoy economic and other advantages over their peers from households headed by divorced or never-married parents.

Claro que há (pelo menos) duas interpretações possiveis para esses resultados - uma interpretação "progressista" (que eu intuitivamente tendo a perfilhar) dirá que confirma a tese que o problema é o mau ambiente familiar, não o divórcio per si; mas há também a interpretação "geneticista" (p.ex., a de Razib Khan), segundo a qual as pessoas com propensão genética a se divorciarem ou a terem filhos sem nunca serem casados terão também propensão a terem maus resultados na escola (imagino que a variável em questão fosse uma propensão geral a serem impulsivos ou conflituosos).

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Admito: afinal, não podemos chamar "neo-liberal" a este governo

Governo determina encerramento de todas as smartshops (Económico)

Tribunal Constitucional recusa legalização do MAS

O TC recusou a legalização do Movimento Alternativa Socialista, por o artigo dos estatutos respeitante à Comissão de Direitos apenas dizerem que esta deve "com independência e imparcialidade, responder, analisar e decidir sobre assuntos relacionados com os direitos e deveres dos filiados" - pela lei, a CD (ou Conselho de Jurisdição, como se chama em muitos dos outros partidos) também deve ter, entre as suas atribuições, "a apreciação da regularidade e da validade dos atos de procedimento eleitoral" (no caso de eleições internas do partido) e deveria constar que os militantes poderiam recorrer das decisões para os tribunais.

O contra-argumento do MAS é de que, se a lei geral já diz que os militantes de um partido podem recorrer das decisões jurisdicionais internas para os tribunais, não é necessário dizer isso nos estatutos.

De facto, indo aos estatutos do CDS-PP [pdf], os artigos 17º, 39º e 45º não falam nada (explicitamente) dos Conselhos de Jurisdição apreciarem a regularidade das eleições internas (falam implicitamente - se o Conselho de Jurisdição tem o poder de avaliar o cumprimento dos estatutos, das leis, etc, claro que tem a função de avaliar se as eleições no CDS ocorrem de acordo com as leis e os estatutos; mas o mesmo se aplica à CD do MAS, com as suas atribuições de "analisar e decidir sobre assuntos relacionados com os direitos e deveres do filiados"); no caso do recurso aos tribunais, os estatutos do CDS não dizem explicitamente que há recurso das decisões internas para os tribunais, mas vou admitir que o artigo 56º diz isso quase explicitamente.

Indo aos estatutos do PS, à primeira vista, também não me parece haver quase nada atribuindo aos órgãos de fiscalização as funções de avaliar as eleições internas (a única coisa que encontro é uma referência, no artigo 16º, à Comissão Nacional de Fiscalização Económica e Financeira fiscalizar as contas das listas candidatas); quanto a poder recorrer aos tribunais, talvez a alinea f) do artigo 10º, que diz que um dos direitos dos militantes é "[a]rguir perante as instâncias competentes a nulidade de qualquer ato dos órgãos do Partido que viole o disposto nos presentes Estatutos" possa implicitamente dizer isso, mas é um implicitamente muito "implícito" (até que mais à frente diz que esse é um dos direitos que só se aplicam aos militantes com as quotas em dia, o que dá a ideia que não estão a falar do direito de recorrer aos tribunais da República, mas sim a órgãos internos do partido).

Quanto aos estatutos do PSD [pdf], mais ou menos a mesma coisa -a única coisa que lá encontro como definir o direito a recorrer aos tribunais é, no artigo 6º, dizer que os militantes têm direito a "Arguir a desconformidade com a lei, com os Estatutos ou com os Regulamentos, de quaisquer atos praticados por órgãos do Partido", mas sem - creio - nenhuma referência explicita a tribunais (em compensação, refere especificamente o papel dos CJs na fiscalização das eleições internas).

Nos do BE [pdf], não me parece haver nada, nem a dizer que a Comissão de Direitos fiscaliza as eleições internas, nem que há recursos para os tribunais, pelo que imagino que talvez o TC o ilegalize um dia destes (para falar a verdade, não me admirava nada que os estatutos do MAS tenham recebido alguma influência dos estatutos do BE, nem que seja no nome "Comissão de Direitos").

Por outro lado, se a não legalização do MAS foi por esses motivos, também não é nada que facilmente não se resolva metendo mais umas palavrinhas nos estatutos...

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

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Os protestos no Bangladesh

2013 Bangladesh protests (Wikipedia)

Dhaka sit-in evokes Tahrir Square spiritDeadly clashes continue in Bangladesh (Al Jazeera)

Resumindo - um dirigente islamita local que combateu ao lado do exército paquistanês na guerra de independência do Bangladesh foi condenado à prisão perpétua por crimes de guerra e "contra a humanidade"; isso desencadeou enormes protestos (mais ou menos apoiados pelo partido governamental, a Liga Awami), considerando que o tribunal tinha sido muito brando e exigindo a condenação à morte (aparentemente, os manifestantes vêem-se como defensores do secularismo e dos direitos humanos, mas é difícil idealizar pessoas cuja reivindicação concreta é que alguém seja morto...). Entretanto, outros dirigentes islamitas foram condenados à morte, o que desencadeou protestos de sinal contrário por parte da Jamaat-i-Islami (o partido dos acusados) e do Partido Nacionalista (o principal partido da oposição, de direita).

Saturday, March 02, 2013

General espanhol ameaça com golpe?

"«La patria vale más que la democracia»" (El País):

El título del debate, Fuerzas Armadas y ordenamiento constitucional, no permitía prever el cariz que acabaría tomando el acto, pero el general de división en la reserva Juan Antonio Chicharro se metió al público en el bolsillo cuando proclamó: “La patria es anterior y más importante que la democracia. El patriotismo es un sentimiento y la Constitución no es más que una ley”.

Un centenar de personas abarrotaba el pasado 6 de febrero el salón de la Gran Peña, un club de rancio aroma frecuentado por militares retirados en la Gran Vía madrileña. Entre los ponentes figuraban, además del general, el presidente de la Sala de lo Militar del Supremo, Ángel Calderón, el rector de la Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Pedro González-Trevijano, y el magistrado y director de la Revista Jurídica Militar, José Antonio Fernández Rodera, como moderador.

El acto se desarrolló dentro de los cánones académicos hasta que tomó la palabra Chicharro, comandante general de la Infantería de Marina (un cuerpo con más de 4.000 militares) hasta diciembre de 2010. Desde el principio dejó claro que la suya no era una intervención improvisada. (...)

El general se adentró por la peligrosa senda de las hipótesis al invitar a imaginarse qué sucedería si el PP perdiera la mayoría absoluta en las próximas elecciones y los nacionalistas le exigieran, a cambio de su apoyo, la reforma del artículo 2 de la Constitución, que consagra la unidad indisoluble de la Nación española. “¿Qué hacen entonces las Fuerzas Armadas?”, se preguntó. No dio ninguna respuesta. O tal vez sí, porque agregó enigmáticamente: “Una cosa es la normativa y otra la praxis”.

“Si los mecanismos de defensa del orden constitucional no funcionan, por acción u omisión, entonces...”, concluyó. La única autoridad que pareció resistir su revisión constitucional fue la del Rey; convertido, como en el 23-F, en mando efectivo de las Fuerzas Armadas.

Si Chicharro quería ser ambiguo, el público no lo interpretó así. Su intervención fue recibida con una gran ovación, salpicada por gritos de “¡Bravo! ¡Bravo!”.