Dantas is the past and Lemman is the future of Tupi capitalism: Just about every single Brazilian business publication has published a version of this editorial now, including the IstoÉ Dinheiro editorial translated here, a similar editorial in Exame, and an editorial to this effect by Elio Gaspari, cited by Globo’s (slick but generally useless, or sometimes worse) Época Negócios.
Daniel Dantas was the latest manifestation of an outworn model of Brazilian capitalism, as intimate with the State as it was tangled up in political interests. In the face of this failed model, eager to privatize strategic sectors and dependent on massive investments, and foreign investment in particular, Dantas presented himself as a fixer, able to bridge the old and the new without the need for major ruptures. He was the face of the Cardoso years, of what came to be called conservative modernization.
Former President Cardoso has put in quite a few appearances in the op-ed pages recently himself, trying to dissociate his program of government (and not without some cogent arguments, mind you) from Dantas and the taint of privataria — a play on words that suggests that the Cardoso-era privatization was an era of swashbuckling financial piracy (pirataria).
The Brazilian press — Globo, Três, Abril, the Folha, and to a lesser degree the Estadão — can be relied on to shift into Manichean moralizing mode at times like this.
But of course, not all of the Opportunity Group’s deals, past, present and future, could have been deeply sleazy — just as many of the advertising accounts handled by Marcos Valerio de Souza were legitimate, and many of the journalists who interviewed Naji Nahas and Dantas over the years were doing legitimate reporting, despite being subjected to guilt by association in the federal police report that deals with Dantas’ manipulations of news media.
There is an element of “the folklore of the evil corporation” to this treatment.
File under “hamfisted memes, chanted like a mantra by all and sundry.” Full text in translation (PDF):