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Post-Davos, Roubini Disappears

Nouriel_Roubini_-_World_Economic_Forum_Annual_Meeting_2012_cropped

Source: Diário do Centro do Mundo

Nouriel Roubini is the closest thing to a celebrity economist that exists.

In Davos, several days ago, Roubini was constantly surrounded by journalists. A video in which he discussed the U.S. economy with a Bloomberg correspondent went viral.

Everyone wants to know what Roubini, an Iranian based in the U.S., is thinking.

And for good reason.

He is credited with having been the first to predict the economic collapse of 2008 from which the world has yet to recover.

Despite all that, when Roubini visited Brazil to give a lecture yesterday at Credite Suisse, he was ignored by the local press at a time when economics is all anyone talks about.

Was this a case of collective stupidity?

That is always a possibility, given the quality of our media, but the more plausible explanation for the media to ignore an economist with the world-class reputation of a Roubini is as follows.

Roubini is not saying the things that media groups prefer to hear and to transmit to their audiences — or rather, their victims, not to put too fine a point on it.

In the encounter offered by Credite Suisse, Roubini said he views the second mandate of Dilma with “cautious optimism.”

What? Is everything that can go wrong not going wrong? Is the apocalypse not upon us in a manner of hours, as the media groups and their spokespersons repeatedly insist at the top of their lungs?

Roubini also rejected comparisons between the Brazilian situation and the Venezuelan. No, he said, Brazil is not turning into a “Bolivarian” republic, in the sinister connotation the Brazilian media has given the term.

Geniuses like Míriam Leitão, Carlos Sardenberg and Rodrigo Constantino – who among these are Roubini’s equal? — monopolize the microphones that are denied Roubini in Brazil.

That is how the Brazilian media works.

You take a nobody like  Marco Antônio Villa and try to turn him into an authority on politics, economics, history and whatever else you want to discuss.

You give him ample space in newspapers, magazines, and TV shows. As long as he says the things he says he will predictably say, everything is fine.

This is one of many similar cases.

As an expert, Roubini just won’t do – not unless he were to prophesy the collapse of Brazil.

In that case, you would see him in the “yellow pages” interview section of Veja, and answering questions on Roda Viva and Globonews.

From an international perspective, Roubini has said things that the media establishment finds detestable.

In Davos, he said that the U.S. is a plutocracy — government by the rich — and not a democracy.

With million-dollar donations to political campaigns, wealthy Americans end up having a decisive influence over legislation.

The people? The people be damned.

This, he says, is the principal factor for the growth of inequality in the United States.

He supported Obama’s attempt to tax the plutocracy and lower the burden on everyone else.

The similarity with Brazil is striking. The million-real donations of major corporations also invariably have their intended effect.

To make things worse, a Supreme Court (STF) justice, Gilmar Mendes, has taken it upon himself to withhold action on an election finance reform bill for an entire year — without explaining himself to anyone.

“Bolivarianeously,” Mendes usurps legislative powers that are not within his purview as a judge. Recall that Gilmar Mendes joined the STF by a margin of one vandote: that of Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

All in all, it is better to forget that Roubini exists and is visiting Brazil — better from the twisted, vicious perspective of the Brazilian press.