June 18, 2019


Beyond Bolsonaro: A freedom surge in Brazil (RAFAEL JUNQUEIRA, June 17, 2019, Acton)

Firstly, the most visible sign of liberalism is seen in the figure of the current Minister of Economics, Paulo Guedes. Popular known by the media as Bolsonaro's guru, Guedes was a crucial factor in the President's victory. A disciple of the Austrian School of Economics, he obtained his PhD from the University of Chicago. The new Minister of Economics is taking huge step towards liberalism, such as reducing the overprotective barriers to enter the market, privatizing companies owned by the government, and most importantly, proposing pension reforms. The proposal is being analyzed by Congress, and if passed, it will save billions of dollars, tremendously reducing national debt. In its 197 years of existence, Brazil has never seen such classical liberal actions taken from inside the ruling government.

Secondly, liberalism is finally taking form in political parties. The New Party (NOVO) is the first classical liberal party to ever exist in Brazil. Founded in 2011, it is formed only by non politicians. NOVO is adopting innovative practices in politics, such as a process of interviews in order to become a member and refusing public money to fund its campaign, only accepting funds from donors, who share the same values.

NOVO is a strong advocate of free markets, reduction of taxes -- which are absurdly high in Brazil -- privatizations, end of subsidies and tax exemptions, and an educational system that shuns political indoctrination. Surprisingly, the party has done extremely well in its first elections in 2018. The presidential candidate Joao Amoedo obtained around 3% of the popular vote, beating traditional candidates who were well known by the general public. In addition, 8 legislators were elected to the House of Representatives. However, the most astonishing victory came in the second richest state of the country, Minas Gerais, where Romeu Zema was elected governor. The sudden rise of the New Party is a clear sign of a new mindset among Brazilians.

This new mindset was highly influenced by the activist group Free Brazil Movement (MBL). It was the main organization responsible for the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff in 2016. The movement started as a small group, originating from the middle class in the state of Sao Paulo, and became a huge phenomenon around the entire country. MBL stands for classical liberal values at its finest. Its main leaders are devoted disciples of Ludwig von Mises, and these leaders were the first popular figures to publicly teach classical liberal principles, with more than 2 million subscribers to their Youtube channel. During the Rousseff impeachment process, MBL gathered millions of Brazilians dressed in yellow and green, protesting against the corrupt government of PT. Today, the movement represents the face of a new classical liberal tradition implemented in the country. Various of its members were elected legislators in the 2018 election, promising shrink the size of government.

For the first time in Brazil's history, liberalism has been established in different sectors of society. The idea of a free and virtuous society has finally been spread in a national scale. Today, more than ever, a significant part of the population understands the importance of classical liberal principles for the formation of a successful nation. The figure of Paulo Guedes, the political party NOVO and the movement MBL are examples of it. Fortunately, these three bodies are part of the current government. What they must not do is to let politics and small differences between them create conflict. Instead, they must unite themselves for a common good, which they all advocate: a liberalism for Brazilians.

Posted by at June 18, 2019 1:13 PM