Guido Mantega, Nelson Marconi, Affonso Celso Pastore and Henrique Meirelles: the economists of Lula, respectively Ciro, Moro and Doria. Photo: reproduction
“Path of social development”, “national development plan agreed between the public and private sectors”, “strong state (does not mean being great)”, growth with “improved institutions”. The economists who advise the four presidential candidates – Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT), Ciro Gomes (PDT), Sergio Moro (Podemos) and João Doria (PSDB) – set out their views for the sector in recently published articles in Folha de S. Paulo. In common between the four texts, the criticism of President Jair Bolsonaro (PL), pre-candidate for his re-election in October.
The administration of the current President of the Republic is defined in the text of the economist PT as representing “anachronistic neoliberalism”; in the PDT, in the continuity of a “failed economic model”; in Podemos, as an example of a “politics of confrontation”; and that of the PSDB, as incapable of reversing the country’s stagnation.
The differences between the texts of economists confirm what is expected of pre-candidates ideologically placed on the left or center-left, or on the right and center-right. The ideas for the country of the economic “gurus” of Lula and Ciro foresee state action as a key tool to stimulate the economy. On the other hand, the texts of the economists of Doria and Moro emphasize the potential of the private sector and consider the State as above all an entity which would provide “legal security” to market agents.
Below is a summary of the main points of each of the economists’ texts related to Bolsonaro’s competitors in the 2022 elections:
Lula’s economist wants “ambitious investment plan”
The article on the economy of the representatives of the PT was written by Guido Mantega, who was Minister of Finance, Planning and President of the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES) during the PT administrations.
The text salutes the achievements of the PT in the social and economic fields. Mantega, however, tackles the numbers and compares current data with elements of the economy from a range that ends in 2013 or, at most, 2014. The era of the PT lasted until 2016, when the president of the time, Dilma Rousseff, saw her mandate interrupted by impeachment. . And the 2015/2016 biennium was when the country faced a historic recession, with GDP contracting 3.5% in 2015 and 3.3% the following year.
According to the former minister, the policy of the Bolsonaro government is in line with what was put in place under the administration of Michel Temer (MDB), between 2016 and 2018. disqualification.
As an alternative to this, Mantega suggests the adoption of an “economic and social development program” which contains emergency measures to fight against hunger, long-term investments coordinated by the public authorities, a tax reform which increases taxation of the richest and policies of industrial strengthening and technological investment.
Folha’s text ends with a warning: “This article does not express the point of view of Lula’s candidacy, which has not yet been launched, being the result of discussions by a group of economists who advise former President Lula “.
For the guru of Ciro, the objective is to achieve “high expenditure on infrastructure”
Presidential candidate Ciro Gomes called Mantega’s text “one of the most hypocritical and ambiguous pieces ever seen”. “If Brazil depends on these gentlemen to get out of the quagmire, we will sink for good. The central issue – the change in business model – is becoming a very small and cowardly question, ”Ciro posted on his Twitter profile.
The defense of his economic program, signed by Nelson Marconi, professor at the FGV, seeks to differentiate Ciro’s proposals from the legacy left by the PT administrations.
The article talks about a “failed economic model that prevailed for decades” and an image of deindustrialisation and difficulties for entrepreneurs that existed in the country long before Bolsonaro came to power.
Most of the proposals described by Marconi are, however, similar to those presented by Mantega. The role of the State as an inducer of growth is essential in the reasoning of the economist linked to the pre-candidate of the PDT. Marconi speaks, for example, of “high spending on infrastructure and development”, which would be vital for growth. It also indicates that the state contribution to education must be increased. In summary, the text defends “a national development plan agreed between the public and private sectors”.
The environmental agenda is mentioned by Marconi as necessary for conservation but also as an investment opportunity. The improvement of the sector, according to the professor, will stimulate “innovation and technological sophistication, including microelectronics, software and artificial intelligence. And let’s think of all the services that will be demanded by these activities.”
Moro economist expects growth through ‘institution building’
The text that speaks of Sergio Moro’s government program, prepared by Affonso Celso Pastore, former president of the Central Bank, highlights one of the guidelines of the Podemos presidential candidate: the strengthening of institutions, which falls under as part of the anti-corruption project in the former judge of Lava Jato.
According to Pastore, the consolidation of institutions would increase the country’s legal security, which would improve the business environment and contribute to the resumption of economic development.
According to him, this proposal is different from that practiced by the current government, which opts for the “policy of confrontation”. On the other hand, the PT administrations, according to Pastore, were “a crony capitalism and a model of co-opting political support”. The strengthening of institutions advocated by Pastore includes measures such as “the end of re-elections to executive positions, the removal of privileges and the reform of the judiciary”.
The reduction of privileges, for Pastore, would open the way for the public power to accumulate more resources, which could be transferred to “sectors and activities with greater social return, that is to say which generate profits for society as a whole, and not directed to political markets “.
The text dismisses the idea of a “minimal state”, indicating that such a concept was abandoned decades ago. And he argues that nations have achieved economic and social successes with different recipes, such as inferior social protection in the United States and large state size in European countries. But he specifies that the development of infrastructures will be done with a significant participation of the private sector, through concession programs.
As a sign of taking a distance from the policy of the Bolsonaro government, Pastore evokes “a goal of zero deforestation” and the capacity of agribusiness to increase its productivity “without needing to incorporate new land”.
Doria’s guru plan emphasizes investment and productivity
Who signs the text of Doria’s pre-candidacy is Henrique Meirelles, former President of the Central Bank and former Minister of Finance, and who is currently Secretary of Finance and Planning of the government of São Paulo.
According to Meirelles, the recipe for economic growth is an increase in the rate of investment and productivity gains. Regarding the second point, the former minister said that the participation of the private sector is essential.
Meirelles evokes the objective of a “strong state (which does not need to be big)”, which would act mainly in the construction of four pillars: restoration of a stable macroeconomic framework, reduction of social inequalities, investment in the formation of human capital and the promotion of an environment which facilitates production and is ecologically sustainable.
As in Moro’s campaign text, Doria’s team article uses phrases that refer to the environmental agenda, such as stepping up green fuels and “zero deforestation”. The preservation of the Amazon is described as “imperative”.
Meirelles’ text ends with a reasoning that can be interpreted as self-praise: “only an experienced team, with proven results, will be able to guarantee the necessary transformations in Brazil”.