Brazil Elections Analysis

Every so often I get so comment so good that it needs to be published as its own post (e.g. see Ethiopia).

Well, here’s one from a Brazilian, Alin:

1- Bolsonaro = Macri?

No. Macri is a standard vintage neoliberal, Bolsonaro is an actual conservative. Macri just tried (and failed) to legalize abortion in Argentina, something which even the leftists which ran Brazil the last 18 years didn’t try to do.

Also, the Brazilian economy is very different from Argentina’s, and not just in size and diversification. Brazil’s debt is high (and growing higher fast since 2014), but it is almost entirely denominated in the national currency and held by citizens, unlike Argentina’s. So Brazil is not exposed to the international financial markets to the same degree Argentina is, and does not need it to fund its deficit (for now).

2 – China

China is very important for Brazil, but not extravagantly so, like for some small Asian or African countries. Brazil’s foreign trade is actually quite geographically balanced and China does not take up a disproportionately large portion of it. Chinese investment has been growing, and it is this, specifically, that seems to concern Bolsonaro (i.e., fear of foreign control of key national assets) – a concern which seems common sense to me. But that’s very far from a trade war: I can imagine negotiations in which greater latitude for Chinese investment in Brazil is exchanged for more support for high-value Brazilian exports to China (Today, Brazil exports mainly soy, but you have seen that regional jets are also one of the main items).

3 – Democracy

This one is a no-brainer. Haddad is the candidate of the leftist Worker’s Party, in alliance with the Community Party of Brazil. Its official programme states that, in case of victory, the Executive will bypass parliament using “popular consultations with civil society groups” to enact legislation. There’s plenty more.

Bolsonaro is a military officer and is on the record as a supporter of Brazil’s 1965-1985 military dictatorship. Since I imagine most readers here have no specific knowledge of Brazil and only a hazy idea of a general category of “Latin American dictatorships”, here are some quick facts about the Brazilian case. First, the military intervened only to forestall a Communist takeover, and only after pushed to it by the largest mass protests in the history of the country, and they always said that democracy would be restored when the threat had abated. Second, Congress remained open and so did the Supreme Court; regular elections were held for Congress and for regional and local elective positions. Third, even the presidents continued to be elected, just not by direct popular vote, but by Congress. Fourth, when the military took over Brazil was the world’s 40th economy and had only a small industrial sector, when they left Brazil was the world’s 8th largest economy with the largest industrial base of the Southern Hemisphere. Fifth, facing urban and rural guerrillas supported by the Soviet Union through Cuba, the military regime killed ~450 people – that is the official estimate of the leftist groups. This, in 25 years and in a country of 90-100 million people at the time. More people are killed in Brazilian street in a day today. All this to say that Bolsonaro’s support for the military regime in the past is not necessarily at odds with he’s supporting democracy today. Even more because he’s winning.

4 – Race.

I’ve seen some commenters mentioning a racial divide in Brazilian vote. On the face of it, the more mulatto Northeast supported the left while the whiter South supported Bolsonaro, but that’s quite misleading. Contrary to Lee Kuan Yew’s generally accurate dictum, there’s no real racial divide in Brazilian politics and there has never been one. Racial classification is too fluid in Brazil for this to work (although the left’s introduction of affirmative action has begun to foster this in the last two decades). Bolsonaro also won in the mainly mixed-race North, Center, and among the large mixed-race population of the Southeast, and even in the Northeast, where he lost, he got the largest percentage of the vote a non-leftist has managed to get in the last thirty years.

Also, some commenters mentioned lacking information about Brazil. Yes, the pictures of the slums next to the high-rises are real – but they are mostly from the large cities of the Southeast (São Paulo, c. 20 million people, and Rio de Janeiro, c. 12 million). The rest of the country – and Brazil has 200m people – can be very different. Google pictures of cities like Gramado, Canela, Nova Petrópolis, Blumenau and Joinville, or just go to Google Maps, toggle pictures on, and click at random on small cities in the interior of Southern Brazil. You’ll probably be surprised.

5 – The Trump of Brazil?

Bolsonaro is comparable to Trump in winning against the establishment, and in this he has actually surpassed Trump. After all, Trump was nationally known, a billionaire able to fund his campaign, and managed a hostile takeover of an established national party. Bolsonaro was very much unknown (and what was known from his, from the press, was a cartoon far-right villain). He has no money. His party existed only on paper (it has no offices throughout the country and fewer than 10 elected officials – but now it has become the second largest party in Congress). He only has seven seconds a day of television time. All the establishment was against him, as well as all the press and all the beautiful people. His only strength was popular revulsion at the establishment and skillful use of social media. So he managed to defeat the establishment with less resources that Trump had at his disposal.

Ever since his victory became more probable, more and more sectors are scrambling to get into his good graces. He had early leads among evangelicals and farmers; now the main commercial and industrial federations of the country are getting behind him as well. But only now, when he already has all but won. More on this on the next point.

6 – Bolsonaro’s economic policy

Since his origin is as a military officer, Bolsonaro is obviously more used to command than to negotiations with the “market”. His naming Paulo Guedes as his main economic adviser, with public declarations that he (Bolsonaro) knows little about the economy and will give Guedes a free hand, obviously calmed the market. But people are unsure if this will hold, as some commenters said.

However, the main point here is that this is not really dependent on Bolsonaro’s will. It’s a question of mathematics. Without major reforms, which he is (on paper) committed to doing, the Brazilian federal budget will, in a year between 2022 and 2024, be entirely consumed with the civil servants payroll and the old-age pensions. Nothing will be left for everything else. And since the net government tax intake is in the mid-40%s, there is no fiscal space left to raise taxes. So Bolsonaro has very little choice in his economic program. He has to deregulate (much to do here) and lower some specific taxes to get the economy going again.

The outlook looks bleak on one side. The tail end of the leftist governments of 2003-2016 threw caution to the wind and blew a huge hole in the fiscal balance of the country, while mismanaging the economy to the point of causing the worst recession in Brazilian history (2014-2017 were worse even than the Great Depression). Not to mention all the loot they took in the largest corruption scheme ever discovered in the world.

However, structurally Brazil ain’t so bad. Even through the worst of the recession, the agricultural sector continued to grow relatively fast. The industrial sector, though badly maimed, remains large and considerably modern, and its unused capacity can be quickly put to work. Brazil has been having record surpluses in foreign trade. Interest rates are now the lowest in the last decades. So the real problem is just one, the federal government deficit, which is large but not unmanageable, especially because it is in the national currency. If Bolsonaro follows through with just a few of his promised reforms – privatization of some state companies to pay off the debt, streamlining the tax code, some reform in social security and getting rid of leftist regulations which hamper investment in agriculture and mining – Brazil could start growing strong again in a couple of years.

7 – Arabs

Arabs are very prominent in Brazil. We’re one of the few countries where the Arab lobby is stronger than the Jewish one, even though the Brazilian Jewish community is also quite influential. Bolsonaro’s overture to Israel has nothing to do with the Jews, it’s a sop to his evangelical voters. It’s hard to tell just how many Arabs are there here; of Lebanese alone there are some 10 million. Besides the leftist Haddad, the current president, Michel Temer, is also Arab – he is one of seven brothers, the only one born in Brazil, for the others were born in Lebanon.

We also have the largest Japanese-descended community in the world. And Brazilians are the third largest immigrant group in Japan. And… we’ll, this is much too long already. Hope it was useful!

While I once again emphasize that I am no Brazil expert, people who observed this election have noticed that while the voting gap between rich and poor gap has declined relative to 2014, the gap between the South and North-East has if anything widened even further, which suggests a larger racial factor.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Felix Keverich says

    Macri is a standard vintage neoliberal, Bolsonaro is an actual conservative. Macri just tried (and failed) to legalize abortion in Argentina, something which even the leftists which ran Brazil the last 18 years didn’t try to do.

    This is like saying that Trump is not a conservative. There is no such thing as an “actual conservative”. “Conservatism” is never a coherent philosophy, it’s simply a reactionary opposition to progressivism. “Conservatism” means different things in every society, it evolves over time, the idea of “conservatism” can change dramatically from one election cycle to another.

    With both Macri and Brazilian dude opposed to progressive forces in their respective countries, that makes them the same type of “conservative” Latin American politician. They have more things in common with each other (including neoliberal economic agenda, pro-US orientation) than things that set them apart.

  2. Bolsonaro’s overture to Israel has nothing to do with the Jews, it’s a sop to his evangelical voters.

    I find this very hard to believe. Brazil is mostly Catholic, from the stats I have seen the ziocuck worshipers are not a big enough percentage to explain this submission to Israel. Like most other politicians that are under the thralldom of Israel, he was probably provided with a carrot and a stick offer he couldn’t refuse.

  3. All I know is, Kaka is evangelical. Also David Luiz.

    Kaka’s goal celebration – was his “I belong to Jesus” shirt.

  4. Thorfinnsson says

    Israel tends to be globally popular with conservatives who aren’t alert to JQ.

    And those of us who are alert to this can still find much to admire in Israel.

    That said, remember when Lula tried involving himself in the Iranian nuclear issue? I suppose it’s entirely possible that Mossad participated in getting Lula jailed in revenge.

  5. In Russia, it’s the other way round than in America – Israel is more popular with liberals (as well as older Christian pilgrims). And recently starting to become popular with some young hipsters as a tourist destination. (we were seeing some hipster tourists – in expensive restaurants and bars – when I was on vacation there earlier this year).

    Political spectrum even on topics like this, quite different, between countries.

  6. Brazil is close to 30% Evangelical now. Lot of C American countries are close to tipping majority circumcision christian (Protestant) where have you been the last 15 years.

    America exports sexually hedonist evangelical Christianity to the third world now, Coca-Cola & Beyoncé is so 2008.

  7. As a Brazilian Catholic myself, I feel disgust when I see bishops openly supporting the left, especially the Party of Workers and Lula da Silva (whom they consider a “political prisoner”). Much to my grief, the Catholic church has become in the last decades a NGO, and the Evangelical churches have outgrown it. Nominally most Brazilians are Catholic, because they were baptized in this faith, but the number of real followers of this church (that is, people who confess and take the Eucharist at least once a year) are probably smaller than Evangelical, who take their religion much more seriously.
    By the way, of course, I voted for Bolsonaro.

  8. And those of us who are alert to this can still find much to admire in Israel.

    Well, whatever you think about it, it’s certainly a prime example of a ‘winner’ country. Those familiar with Israel Shahak, Benny Morris and the like (which I doubt commenters like neutral or rational have read) you are continually stunned by the level of chutzpah such a small country has gotten away with.
    I can’t recall the exact source, but I recall reading about Clinton’s reaction to Netanyahu at one time, privately exclaiming ‘can you believe this arrogance? who’s the fucking superpower here?’ or something of the sort.
    So from a purely realpolitik perspective, someone like Bolsonaro leaning that way is perfectly understandable. Success is attractive, and Israel has always had close relations with the Latin-American right.

  9. …Catholic church has become in the last decades a NGO

    They are definitely a GO, how about Vatican? Although I agree that their shock troops around the world act like NGO fanatics.

    Lula whom they consider a “political prisoner”

    Is he? I don’t know the specifics of his case (‘corruption‘), but in general jailing high-level politicians, former presidents, etc… is by definition to some extent ‘political‘. In a democracy, votes provide a kind of immunity. When you break that rule, it is a downward spiral.

    Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, Schroeder, and lately Obama, have all become very rich based on their political positions. It is ugly, it is ‘corrupt’, but I hesitate to charge them with corruption. It is too widespread, too hard to define, and it disempowers people who voted for them. Yeah, if you rob a bank, your immunity should be gone. But if you ‘know the bankers‘ and they help you get rich, it is too much of a slippery slope to turn that into a crime. So is Lula a political prisoner?

    (By the way, I am – from what I know – 100% with Bolsonaro. He pisses off the literati, he cannot be that bad.)

  10. America exports sexually hedonist evangelical Christianity

    Hedonism is not an issue with Evangelicals. There are bigger problems. Individualism for not very smart people who can’t handle it and unconditional affirmation of neoliberal capitalism. And then there is Zionism.

    Millions of Brazilians hail Israel during March for Jesus (3 June 2018)

    Evangelical Christians wave Israeli flags and pray for the Jewish state in 2.5 mile parade in Sao Paulo

  11. Great comment! Totally deserved its own post!


  12. @Alin

    What do you make of Western Hegemony in Latin America. Is Bolsonaro balancing the West vs the East or is he a CIA stooge?

  13. Was the zika scare in winter 2015-spring 2016 a psyop threatening the cancellation of Olympics? Who was behind it?

  14. Privatization is always the solution – sell off your state-owned assets, your economy will turn good…

    Who has the money to buy? Of course those who can borrow $$$ from FED’s printing machine.

    Always the same formula for every county.

    Oh, the Chinese has some 3 trillion dollar cash on hand too, time for some Sinophobic just in case they want to join in the shopping spree.

  15. Brazil is about 25-30% Evangelical now (there has been a tremendous growth especially of Pentecostal Churches in the last 25 years). And these voters, unlike nominally Roman Catholics, take their religion seriously. It makes sense for Bolsonaro to pander to them. And it has been very foolish for the PT to disdain or ignore those voters.

  16. Bolsonaro is pro American, unlike most if not all Brazilian presidents since the restoration of democracy in 1984. The interesting question here if his Americanism will go to the extent of downgrading relations with China and Russia, which has been quite important for Brazil in the recent past.

  17. No country ever gained anything by selling off its public assets.

  18. However, structurally Brazil ain’t so bad.

    Isn’t it? I always thought that Brazil’s fundamental problem was, not so much an issue of economic structure, but that of low human quality, which manifests as poorly educated and skilled workers, endemic and pervasive corruption, and chaotic and lawless favelas where even (regular) police forces fear to tread.

    Even Japanese-Brazilians seem to absorb the dysfunction, as demonstrated by the problems they and their progeny cause when they reverse-emigrate to Japan.

  19. I just left a long comment on this issue back in the original thread.

  20. Bolsonaro was lucky he was only stabbed in the stomach. Brazil is full of machete wielding madmen. Make Brazil Great Again.

  21. Great responce. Thank You!

    1) Question on Brazilian Violence. Why is Brazil so damn violent? Is this something that is hardwired into Brazilian identity or is this just a bad phase?

    What do you think will happen with Bolsonaro’s plan to arm everyone? Do you think it will make things safer like Texas, or will it make things worse?

    2) Does Brazil see itself as a Latin American country that needs to control its sphere of influence on the continent? Or does Brazil see itself as something else since it does not speak spanish?

    Is Brazil most interested in deepening ties with its Latin neighbors? Or more of an international country?

  22. Every country goes through bad phases of corruption. America used to have low corruption and look at us now.

    To me the most interesting part of Brazil is the intense violence. If this is something that is hardwired into their society, Brazil can never amount to anything.

    They do export Jets though. This tells you a lot of what they are capable of.

  23. To say a “Communist takeover” was imminent in 1964 is considerably inaccurate. Some of the other things said, though, are true and important.

  24. Ali Choudhury says

    In the 70s and 80s the UK had a multitude of state companies such as Rolls Royce, British Airways, British Telecom, British Aerospace, British Coal, Cable and Wireless, British Gas, Jaguar, British Leyland, British Steel and the power and water utility companies. Most were notorious for their terrible financial performance, abysmal customer service, sclerotic management and bloated payrolls. Privatisation by the goddess Thatcher enabled a large amount of government debt to be paid off and the companies themselves mostly flourished. It is a pity her successors have not yet privatised the BBC and the NHS.

    Bolsonaro could easily raise a lot of cash by cleaning up the state oil company Petrobras and selling it. Thanks to the incompetence of Brazil’s previous government it is one of most badly-run oil majors in the world with by far the heaviest debt load and the highest operating costs, thanks to all the crony hires.

    The same story is probably true across a lot of different sectors. Socialism is cancer for growth and prosperity.

  25. anonymous coward says

    it’s simply a reactionary opposition to progressivism

    No it isn’t, it means “I love progressivism, but please keep it at a level that used to be in my 20’s, when I could still get it up”.

    (Progressivism is, of course, rooted on the bedrock of sexual degeneracy, for both of its “leftist” and “conservative” wings.)

  26. They do export Jets though.

    Regional jets. And so does Canada.

  27. Thanks Alin so much for your excellent comments in that thread.
    Would urge others to read the rest of them. Very interesting stuff since Alin is clearly well read in his country’s history. Wasn’t aware of the long US-Brazil relationship.
    Hope you come back with more info on Brazil, perhaps on the Open Threads days here?
    By the same token props to Anatoly Karlin for attracting yet another insightful commenter a la Thorfinson. Hope there will be more to come. Reaching Steve Sailer level of readers now.

    I have one question for you Alin. Was there a real threat of a communist takeover back in those days that justified a military dictatorship?

  28. The New Right has grown an unfortunate knee jerk skepticism about capitalism or any policies that are merely labeled capitalism as well as the entire neoliberal discourse/terminology. Partly for legit reasons and partly because it is simply associated with the current useless right. It’s not that they have a theory about how regulations are good for the economy but merely that economistic conservatives say this stuff all the time so the opposite must then be the case. Or it’s not important “because HBD!”.

  29. Felix Keverich says

    I love progressivism, but please keep it at a level that used to be in my 20′s, when I could still get it up

    What does this fit into Latin American political realities? Which one of them, Bolsonaro or Macri, still has the power to “get it up”?

  30. anonymous coward says

    The correct answer is “who cares”. There is no functional difference between so-called “liberals” and so-called “conservatives”.

  31. Felix Keverich says

    This is not a very useful classification in that case. The outcome of Brazilian election will have consequences for the country and the rest of the world. US is set to benefit from Bolsonaro victory. Russia and China on the other hand will be better off if his opponent won. Saying that there is no difference between the two is simply not true.

  32. Great comment by Alin.

    You can compare a racial map of Brazil with the first round electoral map here:

    So yeah it’s pretty clear that Bolsonaro’s support is mainly concentrated in the mostly white South and Southeast. He received his highest support (66%) in the whitest state, Santa Catarina.

    He did worst in the mainly black and mulatto Northeast, but did surprising well in the mestizo-dominated states in the far reaches of the Amazon basin. Probably because of his opposition to the environmentalists who have stifled economic development in these regions.

    It seems like a foregone conclusion that Bolsonaro will win the second round, but is there any chance that Haddad and the PT can pull off an upset? Sure hope not.

  33. Not really true. Britain under Thatcher improved a lot after the sale of a number of its money losing enterprises. The same can be said for Chile under Pinochet. Or most of the Eastern European countries after 1989 (I’m thinking particularly of Poland, Hungary, the Baltic countries, the Czech republic and Slovakia). Of course, privatizations can work if they are a part in a package to make the economy more dynamic.

  34. You have forgotten all about British Rail and its privatisation. Why might that be? (thinking emoji)

  35. Felix Keverich says

    In what way Baltic statelets were improved through privatisations? I’m pretty sure their Soviet-era enterprises were mostly shut down. The EU forced the closure of a perfectly functioning nuclear power plant.

  36. Hyperborean says

    Kaka’s goal celebration – was his “I belong to Jesus” shirt.

    Prime memeable material.

  37. You don’t feel disgust for Bolsonaro being Israels puppet though?

  38. And these voters, unlike nominally Roman Catholics, take their religion seriously

    If they were really taking their religion seriously then they would in fact NOT be worshipping Israel and jews in general. Christians of the past in fact were anti jewish, not these clueless fake Christians that exist today.

  39. John Gruskos says

    Always and everywhere, conservatives are defined by their loyalty to God, family and nation.

    This puts them at odds with leftists, who rebel against God, family and nation in the name of equality – deists and Unitarians in the name of equality before God, classical liberals / libertarians in the name of equality before the law, socialists in the name of economic equality, cultural marxists in the name of racial and sexual equality, and radical environmentalists in the name of the equality of all life forms.

    Unlike Marci, Bolsonaro is an actual conservative, not a classical liberal posing as a conservative.

  40. Bukephalos says

    and what kind of success is this? Because yes it is success, but only achieved because of the other side incredible weakness and lack of principles. But yes, the swindle can be admired. It does take some brains to have pulled it off

  41. That’s nonsense of course – although some small element of truth.

    People want to invest in those assets usually, to the extent they are profitable or have potential profitability, safe legal environment for investment, etc.

    On the other hand, assets which would be most beneficial for government to sell, are permanently loss-making, corruption channels for officials, etc (generally the assets most unattractive for investors).

    If you have list of assets for government to sell, the most desirable assets to investors, might be those which are less desirable for government to sell, and vice-versa.

    Looking at current lack of privatization process in Ukraine.

    International investors, despite all optimism and boasting from Kiev – simply didn’t look like they want to buy any Ukrainian public assets.

    Politicians boasting about privatization Odessa Port Plant since 2015, which was supposed to be the first major privatization in Ukraine since the coup. And yet result that no-one wanted to buy it because of its huge debts and lack of accounting transparency, while international investors appalled by lawlessness of the country.

    Actually Kiev for two years could not even attract an advisory firm to prepare the sale of this.

  42. Felix Keverich says

    I think that this perspective is too narrow, too American. Conservative movement in USA is basically a religious cult that involves a lot of moral posturing and virtue signalling etc.

    But even if we assume that Bolsonaro truly believes in God and loves his family, exactly how this is going to change the way he is going to govern? The point I’m trying to make is that Marci and Bolsonaro are functionally the same kind of a leader, even if they have different views on abortion.

  43. Conservatives in America obsessed with protecting the constitution of the United States of America.

    However, when constitution of the United States of America initiated, this was radical document and plan for society. Of course, a finalization of act of rebellion against loyalists (supporters of the British Crown) and the British rulers – the loyalists would designate as the conservative side during that epoch of America.

    If we look even contemporary Russian politics. A large segment of “conservative thinking/feeling” demographics, of course, nostalgia for life in the USSR, and voting Communist Party.

    Communist Party of Russian Federation, successor to Communist Party of Soviet Union, founded by Lenin (under different name) in 1912. Well, a few generations ago, back in 1912, this was “radical” (in the worst possible way) politics.

  44. Ali Choudhury,

    “Privatisation by the goddess Thatcher enabled a large amount of government debt to be paid off and the companies themselves mostly flourished.”

    Probably why Britain is poorer than Norway today…

  45. Hyperborean says

    Conservatives in America obsessed with protecting the constitution of the United States of America.
    If we look even contemporary Russian politics. A large segment of “conservative thinking/feeling” demographics, of course, nostalgia for life in the USSR, and voting Communist Party.

    There is a question as to why the majority of the hosts of brood parasites care for the nestlings of their parasites. Not only do these brood parasites usually differ significantly in size and appearance, but it is also highly probable that they reduce the reproductive success of their hosts. The “mafia hypothesis” evolved through studies in an attempt to answer this question. This hypothesis revolves around host manipulations induced by behaviors of the brood parasite. Upon the detection and rejection of a brood parasite’s egg, the host’s nest is depredated upon, its nest destroyed and nestlings injured or killed. This threatening response indirectly enhances selective pressures favoring aggressive parasite behavior that may result in positive feedback between mafia-like parasites and compliant host behaviors.

    Focusing on IQ is too shallow at times, animal behaviour is much more interesting.

  46. 1990’s privatization in the Czech Republic was disaster. Investment intensive industries were completely destroyed, most of the rest ended up in German hands, transformed into low added value manufacturing. One very visible failure was selling out water utilities for a song to foreign companies.

  47. German_reader says

    Is that meant as a reference to parasitic behaviour by certain ethnic or religious groups, or specific immigrant communities? I don’t quite get the relevance to Brazil or the issue of “what’s conservatism” tbh.

  48. Norway has a lot more oil. Pre-Thatcher Britain was a real hole.

  49. Sometimes unnecessary abstractions though. Usefulness of looking at other species is that it can allow some distant and “alien” analysis – perspective like how a martian might analyse human society.

    But which animals would you use for analogy? Bird life is more distant from human life. On the other hand, life of orangutans and chimpanzees, will probably give a lot of insight, as ultimately a very similar species.

    • But without abstraction.

    Simply many people (quite a large proportion) were very happy in 1960s-1980s society, but had a much worse life in the post 1990s system.

    A large proportion of conservative feeling people want restore elements of political situation of their happy youth, even if statues of Lenin will be comically antithetical to Americans’ (of similar personality type) who are feelings equivalent emotions (and want to return to their own countries’ 1960s-1980s, in which the Soviet Union was demonized).

    From more objective view, the American conservative position very wise and rational, since their revolution (which a conservative wants to preserve through the constitution) a lot more intelligent and based in better (more practically effective, less unstable) political and economic philosophy, than ours.

  50. Hyperborean says

    Genuine reactionary opponents get stamped down and eradicated, so over time the remaining population with conservative temperament learns to become compliant and gets redirected into supporting (a milder version of) their enemies’ doctrine.

  51. Hyperborean says

    But which animals would you use for analogy? Bird life is more distant from human life. On the other hand, life of orangutans and chimpanzees, will probably give a lot of insight, as ultimately a very similar species.

    Well, a good starting point might be to look at behaviour which occurs in several types of species.

  52. German_reader says

    Thanks for the explanation. Yes, it’s a problem if one accepts the framing of the terms of discussion set down by one’s enemies, the goal has to be to establish a non-negotiable core doctrine and reframe debate to advance that doctrine.

  53. Thorfinnsson says

    On Privatization

    Privatization works best in countries that already have effective markets (including capital markets) where most customers are non-government customers and there is no monopoly. SOEs here are nearly always less effective for two reasons

    1 – No hard budget constraint means less discipline. Hence SOEs are frequently overstaffed.
    2 – Whenever a pro-labor party comes to power, you can imagine how they “negotiate” with SOE employees (the people who put them in power)

    Good example on excess staffing: compare Rosneft to Exxon Mobil. Rosneft has something like on quarter million employees. Exxon Mobil has around 70,000.

    Privatization is less successful in natural monopolies (e.g. infrastructure). E.g. Sweden privatized the hydroelectric power authority, which promptly jacked up rates and paid massive bonuses and dividends. Private infrastructure companies can work but require effective regulation. There’s also no particular benefit I can identify to privatizing them anyway.

    Privatization is most dubious when an actual government service is privatized. Ohio privatized its Department of Motor Vehicles? Why? The only time this makes sense is when the government agency itself has effectively been taken over by communists or organized criminals.

    Thatcher’s record is a bit more mixed than is stated here imo. She got rid of the moribund crown corporations and broke the back of the deeply irresponsible British labor movement. But Britain also lost a lot of strategic heavy industries. Cars, machine tools, electrical machinery, steel, chemicals, etc. all gone. The only premier British industry left is aerospace. The UK also suffers from persistently lower productivity than France and Germany, probably because of its weak manufacturing sector.

    And a word on British Rail–I’ve seen some contrarian reports that accident rates actually went down. It was also never truly privatized. The government still owns all the tracks. Private operators simply lease routes. Japan fully privatized its rail network in 1988, and it was successful. That said rail, being something of a natural monopoly, isn’t a priority candidate for privatization in my view.

  54. Ali Choudhury says

    It was privatised later, in the 90s. Rail travel now is far more popular than it was in the 80s and the UK is struggling to upgrade its infrastructure after the decades of under-spending by the state.

  55. LondonBob,

    “Norway has a lot more oil. ”

    BP ranks #12 on Fortune 500, Norwegian STATOIL #207.

  56. Thorfinnsson says

    BP is a global supermajor that dates to 1908 in order to develop Iranian oil. Today BP is the #1 oil producer in…the USA.

    Statoil dates only to 1972, initially just to exploit Norwegian oil. They’ve been doing more overseas work lately, including some very impressive ultradeep work in partnership with Chevron.

    The country of Norway produces almost twice as much oil as the UK, and on a per capita basis something like twenty times more per person. Oil is about as important to the Norwegian economy as it is to the Russian one.

  57. I support privatisation but in regards to the rail network I am open minded as to whether it should be run as a regulated or state monopolist. The irony is state owned foreign companies run a majority of lines, British Rail would have been able to match them.

  58. Hard budget constraints, reminds me of my days studying Janos Kornai.

  59. Thorfinnsson,

    So, whether a country has more oil or less oil hardly matters, right? Since companies can do business overseas.

    BP being private and Statoil being state-owned makes the difference for their people.

  60. Thorfinnsson says

    You’re the one who suggested privatization is why the UK is poorer than Norway today. LondonBob pointed out it probably has a lot more to do with the fact that Norway has far more petroleum wealth than the UK.

  61. The general culture of individualism they promote is hedonism. The second generation turn into whores, you have missionaries going around talking about a sexual revolution needed in other countries

    These are just country bump kin Sjws ie ones without the connections to be Harvard Liberals

    Both Harvard & Idaho Missionary SJW Lib w/e are just Christcucks

  62. People don’t look at religion as a sociological phenomenon & so forget that many of the heresies it spawns can be rightly considered offshoots & offspring.

    Marxism is a famous example of an ideology being accused of being Christianity of the industrial age.

    I would say Karlin’s anti woman technological futurism is only possible when a Christianity which punishes woman with the pain of childbirth & considers the earth an empty mass, with even animals bereft of souls; is the underlying basis.

    Rodnovers would not come up with something so gay as praying for artificial wombs because Russian Women don’t like nerds.

  63. Ali Choudhury says

    Rail privatisation would have worked a lot better if train companies were allowed to compete for passengers on the same line like the open access competition between LNER and Grand Central on the East Coast Main Line. Handing over a franchise monopoly neuters the benefits of private ownership. That being said the system would struggle whether it was in private or public hands since the scale of spending needed on track and signals is huge. The government isn’t inclined to spend more and commuters are fed up with the cost of travel so the terrible service will continue.

  64. Expats in France and Germany seem to have voted for Haddad and Ciro.

  65. ThirdWorldSteveReader says

    Some already mention, but Brazil is now some 20-30% Evangelical Christian, and Evangelicals LOVE LOVE LOVE Israel.

    But there’s another point: support/opposition to Israel in Brazil is just for signalling. We don’t have many Jews nor many Muslims, and the ones we have don’t behave as shamelessly partisan as they do in the USA.

    We don’t spend money in the Middle East, we don’t receive Middle Eastern “refugees” in large numbers. The whole point of supporting Israel is to boost Evangelical vote and piss the Left, which is overwhelmingly anti-Israel in Brazil.

  66. ThirdWorldSteveReader says

    Why is Brazil so damn violent? Is this something that is hardwired into Brazilian identity or is this just a bad phase?

    Let’s say it’s a bad phase that started in the 60s (following mass urbanization, I’d say).

    There is much discussion on what makes Latin America as a whole more violent than anywhere else, Sub-Saharan Africa included. Most people parade “inequality” as a reason, though violence never seems to come down even as inequality goes down a little.

    Personally, I believe the reason is that we import legal fads from Europe and try to apply them to a population not quite as easy do deal with.

  67. Ali Choudhury says

    The heavy industrials would probably have withered away whatever the case. The country doesn’-t have the vocational training programmes or respect for engineering that Germany, Sweden and Japan do. There the CEO and a lot of the board members would either be engineers by training or even have Phd’s in STEM subjects. In the UK it usually accountants and salesmen who are in charge. Engineers only get in leadership positions after they have done a useless MBA.

  68. ThirdWorldSteveReader says

    Low level human capital is a problem, but then, much of this problem could be ameliorated – witness that there are some areas of good performance (agriculture and medicine), and that even traditionally high-performing groups such as the Japanese are not yet performing at thier prime.

    So there is room for improvement, as difficult as it may be. We should start by actually punishing criminals, IMO, instead of letting murderers who light their victims on fire go around free.

  69. the looting of Britain’s manufacturing base by the banking mafia destroyed Britain – there’s a lot of ruin in a nation however so it’s taking a long time to die.

  70. ThirdWorldSteveReader says

    Notice that he also did very well in the Northeastern State Capitals (where most people are Brown) and in Rio. The main predictor of vote for Bolsonaro is not the proportion of Whites, but the local level of poverty (which correlates to race, but imperfectly).

    Poorer places in the Northeast (which manage to be poorer than the Amazon) went with Haddad, likely afraid that a change in the administration would lead to loss of Federal Government cash transfers to the small towns.

  71. It’s not that they have a theory about how regulations are good for the economy

    laissez faire capitalism is the most efficient economic system.

    maximum efficiency in the context of a massive global over supply of labor drives wages towards zero which drives demand towards zero – what happens when you have lots of nice shiny factories in China producing lots of stuff and no one who can afford to buy anything?

    what the Thatcher/Reagan era “free trade” did by moving all the production to one part of the world while trying to keep the consumption in another through debt was 1) greatly enrich the people who did the looting and 2) set the world on course for a global disaster.

  72. it was a debt based illusion as you’ll find out when the banks are finally ready to let house prices crash

  73. and now?

  74. Thorfinnsson says

    I recall some quip about economists discussing pre-Thatcher Britain. Every economic discussion about the United Kingdom devolves into armchair sociology.

    British engineering excellence didn’t magically stop in 1945. I can think of a lot of highly innovative British manufactures from after the war. Off the top of my head:

    • Jaguar E-Type
    • de Havilland Comet
    • Magnox gas-cooled nuclear reactors
    • Napier Deltic diesel engine
    • Mini
    • Rover V-8 engine (yes, I realize this was originally a Buick design)
    • Concorde

    Engineers absolutely need to be in top management, but engineers themselves have some deficiencies (like not understanding sales, marketing, recruitment, finance, or people).

    German/Nordic vocational training is successful, but not the only way to skin a cat. British craft unions always did their own training, and the Lancashire cotton industry traditionally used spinning mules instead of jennies because British textile workers were the most skilled in the world.

    Anyhow this is not a subject I’m prepared to discuss in great detail since I’m not British. I’m better acquainted with American industrial failures. Suffice it to say Thatcher did what was necessary but it can’t be considered an unqualified success.

  75. The country doesn’-t have the vocational training programmes or respect for engineering that Germany, Sweden and Japan do.

    the vocational training programs were all done by the state industries so when they were closed down all the vocational training was closed down.

  76. My lunatic distant Jewish fanatic relations tried to convince me years ago that the messish was coming using a very coherent but crazy argument referencing tbe internet, other technological advances and the internet.

    They seem less crazy every day.

  77. Thorfinnsson says

    Offshoring didn’t really get going until China joined the WTO. There was some smaller scale offshoring to South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Portugal, etc. US manufacturing jobs were at a relatively constant level from the mid-1970s until the end of the century.

    Most trade in manufactured goods in the 20th century was in finished goods between advanced countries using their own national supply chains. US and UK were often on the losing end vs. Germany, Japan, etc. but didn’t see whole industries vanish.

    Reagan and Thatcher also weren’t the same on trade. The Reagan Administration protected the automobile, motorcycle, and machine tool sectors. In 1986 it went onto devalue the Dollar against major trade partners in order to reduce the trade deficit.

  78. fair point – i’d date the start of the globalist era to Thatcher/Reagan but you’re right it didn’t all happen overnight.

  79. He is the most based pale skinned politician im the world. And therefore almost universally popular.

  80. the Czechs are now far freer and wealthier than in Soviet times, the transition of economies from based on industries to based on services is very common in the developed world. It is a development that is good and inevitable

  81. Pro semitic Christianity is not that new. After the reformation, Protestantism was generally far more pro semitic than Catholicism. As to which of the two currents is more “authentic” I don’t know

  82. Hyperborean says

    Protestantism was generally far more pro semitic than Catholicism.

    On what ground do you base this?

  83. certainly the people in the Baltic states are freer and wealthier than during Soviet times.

  84. Hyperborean says

    certainly the people in the Baltic states are freer and wealthier than during Soviet times.

    You are being too emotional and conflating the issue of privatisation with the general post-Soviet situation.

  85. Well, the leader of the Brazilian Communist Party said then that “we’re in government, but not yet with full power”, indicating that would change. President João Goulart was widely called the “Brazilian Kerensky” because his dalliance with the communists. The coup was precipitated when the publicly stated he would bypass parliament to enact leftist reforms.

    Also, the communists had experience. They had already tried a coup in 1935 under direct orders of Stalin, which failed, but was not a long-shot, it might have succeeded if some small details had gone their way.

    Anyway, I won’t write another wall of text on this. Let’s just say that fear that a Communist takeover might be imminent was reasonable in the circumstances of the period.

  86. 1) Complex question. I’d say that a level of crime larger than American levels is built-in in Brazil’s demographics and inequality. However, until about four decades ago, crime was low. Outside the great metropolises, people could and did leave houses and cars unlocked, that kind of thing.

    The scale of the problem today is wholly due to leftist laws making it nearly impossible to imprison criminals. If you are underage, no matter the crime you commit, you only go to a rehabilitation center until you’re 18 and then you’re set free WITH A CLEAN RECORD. We have plenty of cases of drug dealers of 17 years and 364 days of age killing, say, girlfriends they suspected of cheating them, then walking scot free, with a clean record, the very next day. If you’re an adult, you can expect to spend no more than one third of your sentence actually in jail (e.g., if you’re condemned to 15 years for murder, you will spend only 5 years in jail, the rest will be freedom “with restrictions” which are, of course, not monitored). Prisons are few and are actually run by the criminal organizations. And that’s if you’re unlucky enough to be caught, tried and convicted, for the police is whoefully understaffed, underpaid and lacks basic resources to do its job – with the result that it is also corrupt. All this is the left’s work, supported by the intellectuals and SJW elites living in safe gated compounds, who can then signal their moral superiority over the masses who do have to deal with crime. All this can and hopefully will be changed under a conservative government. If Brazil just starts imprisoning more criminals and actually keeping them in jail, it will get considerably better. Of course it will take time.

    1b) Bolsonaro doesn’t actually have a plan to arm everyone. He will just make it possible for ordinary citizens to keep firearms in their homes and will give them legal protection if they act in self-defense (another element of the crazy leftist laws we have is that there is practically no self-defense exception. If a criminal enters your home and you shoot him, he’ll be tried for trespass and you for attempted murder, and his sentence will be lower than yours).

    Lula did a referendum to ban firearm possession in his first term, but lost by almost two thirds. Then, in typical leftist fashion, he proceeded to ignore the result and severely limit legal firearm ownership. You have to prove you need to have it, and it’s almost impossible to do if you’re not directly involved in security work. Bolsonaro will liberalize that.

    My guess is that this change won’t meaningfully change anything except giving ordinary citizens the possibility of self-defense, which most won’t take outside the rural areas. Criminals in Brazil are already very well-armed, as you can imagine.

    2) Another very complex question hard to address in a combox. With considerable simplification, I’d say that Brazil, both left and right, wants a multipolar world in which South America is one of the poles and not a semicolonial region under some other power. Since Brazil is half of South America, this would entail Brazilian leadership, but also that the costs of this process would have to be paid by Brazil – and this creates ambivalence. Since we are the odd man out in the region because of language and history, nor have spare resources to pay for such a plan, it can only be done by convincing our neighbors that this is also in their interest. The difference between right and left shows up in strategy: the right usually thinks this can be achieved by closeness with the U.S. and Europe, and left that it demands a greater distance from them and closeness to other “big countries” such as the other BRICS. In this I think the left has the better orientation, but it all depends on the international situation of the moment and that changes quickly. Aligning with the US under Obama and under Trump is not quite the same thing.

    2b) I guess we’d want both, or to appear in the global stage through the South American region, but not absorbed by it. Have a look at the ten largest countries in the world by population, by territory and by GDP. The only countries that show up in all three lists are the United States, China, India and Brazil. So that’s the league Brazil should be aiming at. Of course, to do this meaningfully we must work to improve conditions in the country, and if that were easy… we wouldn’t be the eternal “country of the future”.

  87. Was there a real threat of a communist takeover back in those days that justified a military dictatorship?

    Well, there’s much to unpack here.

    First, whether anything ever justifies something else is a matter of personal preference, so I can’t give you an answer to that, just my opinion.

    Second, yes, there was a real threat of a communist takeover back then. I can’t write a whole article on this, but the threat was real. Just how close the communists were to winning, of course, is debatable. Based on the same facts, some might say they still were years away of actually getting the upper hand, while others might say that if it weren’t for the military it would have happened until 1966.

    Third, there is a difference between the military takeover of 1964 and the dictatorship with lasted 1964-1985. The military takeover itself was, IMHO, justified and necessary – and almost the entire non-Communist political spectrum of the time agreed. Congress legitimated the coup by declaring the presidency vacant. Civilian leaders who would, in the following years, became leaders of non-leftist opposition to the dictatorship – people like Juscelino Kubitschek, Carlos Lacerda, Ulysses Guimarães, and others – supported the takeover.

    However, what was not evident at the time was that the military would get in and wouldn’t leave. The initial idea was that the caretaker president after the coup, which was elected by Congress, would be a civilian. But the civilian politicians couldn’t agree among themselves which of them should be president, since this guy would be in a more favorable position to run in the elections which would happen in 1966. So the civilians asked that the caretaker president be a military officer – and so General Castello Branco, a veteran of the Italian campaign of WWII, was elected by Congress.

    Castello Branco wanted to end his term and return the country to a normally elected civilian president. But the middle ranks of the military soon showed they were strongly opposed to this, because the coup had been a close-run thing and they feared that the civilians would just make a mess of it again and the cycle would repeat. I can’t summarize the whole complex history of civil-military relations in 20th century Brazil here, so I’ll just say that these fears were not unfounded. Of course, ambitious generals picked up on them to ride their way into power. So Castello, under pressure, in the end had to change the electoral laws, purge some of the civilian politicians, and hand power to a military officer, not a civilian (though elected by Congress and not handpicked). Then large-scale terrorist attacks by leftist groups became common (they had been happening ever since before the coup, but had not reached such a scale until now), and the hardliners in the military had an even better excuse for not returning power to the civilians.

    All this to say that the way the military takeover of 1964 became the military dictatorship of 1964-1985 was not direct, obvious or expected by anyone at the time. It could be defended that yes, the military had to intervene in 1964 because it was an extreme situation, but did not need to stay in power, and in doing so did lasting damage to the country. I tend to this opinion, but would need to study much more to state this with full confidence.

  88. Czechs have different reference frame. While now they are the richest post Soviet country they do not compare themselves to Poland or Hungary. They think what could they have been if it was not for the Soviet communism. Before the WWII Czechoslovakia (minus the backward Slovakia) was comparable to the most developed Western European countries.

  89. Ali Choudhury says

    Thanks for the exceptional quality of these comments.

  90. Engineers go in to the City anyway, a fair number in to consulting too.


    Largely a product of recent US evangelical groups. Traditional protestant churches in Europe tend to be very pro Palestinian.

  92. Czechs are now far freer and wealthier than in Soviet times

    It depends. Quite a many people do well, but there’s also large underclass living from hand to mouth. This didn’t exist back then (when almost everybody could be counted as middle class).

    When the communist regime fell down, it was hoped we will reasonably soon reach economical level comparable with (much idealized) West Germany. This didn’t happened and it looks like impossible dream by now. 1990’s, including the privatization, especially the privatization, are now perceived as period, when we screwed up completely and gambled away our future.

  93. the Czechs are now far freer and wealthier than in Soviet times

    capitalism is more efficient than socialism so there will almost always be some benefit to switching but the net benefit over time is a different question, particularly 30+ years later when the consequences of letting neoliberals dominate economic policy comes home to roost (not necessarily due to the initial privatization but because they don’t care about long-term national prosperity only short term cash grabs)

    also a lot of privatization is just disguised looting i.e. privatize cheap, sell off the land and other assets for a quick buck and then close it all down

    the transition of economies from based on industries to based on services is very common in the developed world.

    it’s a scam – it’s true that increasing productivity over time in the MIMO* parts of the economy leads to fewer manufacturing jobs supporting many more service jobs but the key word there is “supporting” – take away the MIMO component and all those service jobs die too)

    (*MIMO: money-in, money-out of the system – as opposed to money simply circulating round and round inside the system)

    It is a development that is good and inevitable

    it was (mostly) looting and it will end in tears.

  94. It was caused by a new policy of prenatal vaccinations. The policy has since been revised, which is why the scare went away. Obviously you can’t have people at large knowing the truth and blaming the government and big pharma, so they invented the story about a rogue virus.

  95. adreadline says

    Lula did a referendum to ban firearm possession in his first term, but lost by almost two thirds. Then, in typical leftist fashion, he proceeded to ignore the result and severely limit legal firearm ownership.

    I may be being pedantic and a tiny bit autistic, but actually…

    The Estatuto do Desarmamento became law in 2003. The referendum happened in 2005, and it was about whether an specific article of the Estatuto — the one prohibiting the commerce of firearms and ammunition — would apply or not, so much that the question was ”should the commerce of firearms and ammunition be prohibited in Brazil?” The ”no” option won, and all that accomplished was that it’s still possible for the common citizen to legally buy guns and ammo (though yes, more in theory than in practice. Needless to say, actually getting a gun for noncriminal purposes is indeed a pain in the ass here) The referendum results didn’t do shit besides that, and were never intended to.

    My point is that firearm ownership was restricted before the referendum. As far as I know, Lula ignored whether the Brazilian people would want the Estatuto to even be a thing, as it does not appear to have been mentioned in his 2002 government plan, but the referendum happened after all that. Most of the plan was laid out way before the vote.

    Feel free to correct me if you want.

  96. “First, the military intervened only to forestall a Communist takeover, and only after pushed to it by the largest mass protests in the history of the country, and they always said that democracy would be restored when the threat had abated.”
    Translation: The Brazilian comprador elites brutally suppressed a popular worker’s uprising so that they could continue to exploit by them and so that Western corporations could use Brazil a a cheap labor pool with zero worker’s rights, sustaining western imperialism and global capitalism as a result. These Pro-US Latin American dictatorships are the reason why Russia, the country you allegedly support, had (and will have with the next CIA monkey puppet), so little geopolitical influence in the western hemisphere.

    I guess the meaning of democracy for you is an oligarchy, as expected for a bourgeois cocksucker like you.

  97. They are definitely a GO, how about Vatican?

    Yes, how about those guys owning one hill and a few palaces?

    “King of the Hill” should be a new title on election.