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THE LEFT IN BRAZIL 4/5/2010. What is the Left? Economic intervention Taxation Level of regulation Ownership of infrastructure State as creditor State.

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Presentation on theme: "THE LEFT IN BRAZIL 4/5/2010. What is the Left? Economic intervention Taxation Level of regulation Ownership of infrastructure State as creditor State."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE LEFT IN BRAZIL 4/5/2010

2 What is the Left? Economic intervention Taxation Level of regulation Ownership of infrastructure State as creditor State as enterprise Price and production controls Social intervention Provision for social goods Social welfare programs Provision of social services Establishing social justice There is no single, agreed upon definition or measurement The ability and willingness of the state to intervene in non- political spheres:

3 What is the Left? Specific ideas and programs vary between countries Two broad political agendas which the Left today tends to encompass: Socioeconomic reform: the redistribution of the economic benefits of society in order to achieve a more equal outcome Deepening democracy: offering opportunities to genuinely engage in the political life of the country to a wider range of its citizens

4 What is the Left? How do we measure success? External evaluation Macroeconomic indicators such as GDP Quality of democracy Human Development Index and the Millennium Development Goals Internal evaluation: Efficiency of state intervention progress towards achieving stated goals Immediate impact of reforms v. sustainability

5 Has Latin America Turned Left? 1959: Cuba, Castro* 1990: Chile**, Concertación 1999: Venezuela*, Ch ávez 2003: Brazil*, Lula Argentina*, Kirchner 2005: Uruguay*, Vázquez * Reelected * Reversed 2006: Bolivia, Morales Peru, García Honduras, Zelaya** 2007: Nicaragua, Ortega Ecuador, Correa Guatemala, Colom 2008: Paraguay, Méndez 2009: El Salvador, Funes Reelection of the left Majority support Consistently increasing vote share since the early 1990s Preference for moderates

6 Turning Left General Factors Democracies with high inequality tend towards redistributive measures associated with leftist politics Anger over the failure of economic policies associated with previous democratic regimes Younger citizens become a more important electoral force. Younger citizens have only known democracy and so may be more sensitive to its shortcomings Younger citizens did not live through the military dictatorships of the 1970s and 1980s and thus may be more tolerant of non-democratic leaders The dirty wars destroyed radical leftist groups and raised popular fears of communism but did not address underlying causes (poverty and inequality). The left has thus reemerged with time and in new forms.

7 Turning Left: Brazils Path The Workers Party (PT) forms in 1980 as the voice of new unionism The PT does not participate in the behind-the-scenes dealing during the transition to democracy (1985) The PT organizes and wins local political positions Internal democracy Participatory governing structures

8 Turning Left: Brazils Path Success at the local level builds and the PT gains more and higher political positions The election of Lula to the presidency in 2002 Issues of scale: broadening of the number of groups that form the party base Issues of scope: broadening of the number of issues the base expects the PT to deal with competently

9 Turning Left: Brazils Path Attempts to deliver social change without alienating either the public or the market Market instability surrounding Lulas election pressured his commitment to continuing previous macroeconomic policies and respecting IMF agreements Reduced pensions (apx. 30%), wages (apx. 12%), and social programs (apx. 10%) – initially Since Lula took power, Brazil's social spending increased to 17 billion reals ($8 billion) in 2005 from 6 billion reals in % of GDP (approx. 50 billion USD) set aside to meet foreign debt payments Lula repaid Brazils IMF loans early – in 2005

10 Turning Left: Brazils Path Bolsa Familia Direct cash transfer program, R$15-$95 (US$7-$45) per month 94% of the funds reach the poorest 40% of the population Most of the money is used to buy food, school supplies, and childrens clothes Inexpensive and has a real impact on the lived experience of its 46 million recipients Poverty fell 27% during Lulas first term in office Income inequality fell by 4.6% from 1995 and 2004 Does not address the root causes of poverty and may increase dependence on the state


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