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Brazil Blows Own Horn | Economist Outlook Dismal

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Is it just me, or does anyone else feel nostalgia for the days of an Economist with a stiff upper lip and no sense of humor at all?

Recent pronouncements on the state of the business ecosystem have Brazilian readers in a contentious mood, as always — and yet the Dismal Scientist manages to co-exist peaceably with its local content partner, Carta Capital — not a team-up what you would necessarily expect to provide a comfortable fit. The magazine does seem to be arguing with itself at times, but not to the detriment of its editorial output.

I have yet to see any translated material from Carta in the Econo yet, however. There is some good stuff in there.

Meanwhile, from today’s Folha de S.Paulo:

If in 2009 the British magazine “The Economist” pointed to signs that the Brazilian economy was ready to take off, today the prevailing sensibility is pessimmism.

In 2009, the magazine’s cover portrayed the status of Cristo Redentor as a rocket, ready to take off — In the most recent edition, dated October, it shows the Cristo again, but this time in a downward trajectory.

Yes, we can all see that.

This is not the first time the magazine has criticized Brazil. 

Notoriously, it called for the head of SecTreasury Guido Mantega.

In June, it said the country’s performance had been mediocre since 2011 and asked, in an ironic tone, for Mantega to be maintained in office. In a prevous article, it had called for his head.

Since 2012 the  British monthly has adopted a more cautious tone when the subject is Brazil. Articles on the country call attention, among other facts, to the political risks, high costs of doing business and protectionism in the oil industry, which might drive some foreign investors away.

Coincidentally, the Brazilian Carta Maior — franchiser of the Che T-shirt and matching flip-flops for the socially conscious youth of the eternal Ipamenema — has just produced an interesting analysis of capital market language games, between pessimism and optimism, of the type we are talking about here.

Technically, the gambit is known as the false dichotomy or false dilemma.

In social sciences the term Manichaean Allegory has been used to explain relations of subordination and domination — or rather, to explain their rationalizations as the outcomes of fallacious dichotomies.

A frequently occurring counterexample to false dichotomization in Brazilian public discourse is the false dichotomization of State and Private Sector — often in the slogans of the blogging, twitting neoliberal youth.

Brazil, however, is an interesting laboratory in the application of the PPP — the public-private partnership — for example. In my limited layman’s experience with them, I cannot say I understand all the nuances, but there seem to be genuine innovations mixed in among the pyramid schemes.

Oh, where have gone, great Hermogenes?

At any rate, I will translate it for your instruction and enjoyment.

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