EventsFeatureLiberal Democracy in Question

Trump Campaign Strategy: Don’t Discuss Him

Why won’t they say Donald Trump’s name at the Republican National Convention?

Television journalists like Rachel Maddow have been talking about it since The Mistake on the Lake went live on Monday evening, July 18. As Frank Bruni put it in a  New York Times (July 20, 2016) op-ed: By saying almost nothing about Donald Trump on Tuesday night, Paul Ryan said it all. Trump isn’t the star of his own convention. Hillary Clinton is. What really animates the Republicans gathered here is their antipathy toward her, not their embrace of him. Speaker after speaker makes the case against her, not the one for him. And a weird impression is taking hold: They’re filling the minutes and running out the clock with all the bad that they can dredge up about her because there’s not enough good to plumb in him. …

READ MORE →
CapitalismEssaysFeatureLiberal Democracy in Question

Brazil is not a Capitalist Country

The Brazilian Federal Constitution speaks of a “free market” (Art. 170) and describes the state as a “normative and regulating agent of economic activity” (Art. 174). Unfortunately, reality is completely different. We have two worlds in Brazil: the first is the naïve utopia of the legislator; the other is the crude practice of political gangsters. Life as it is differs substantially from life as it should be.

As pointed out by Professor Douglass North, economic growth is directly linked to the quality of a nation’s institutions. Prosperous countries are buttressed by strong, serious and efficient institutions; poor countries are infected by weak, dishonest and exploitative ones. 

The fact is that we do not have capitalism in Brazil. Our free market is state-directed, while our “free competition” favors powerful…

READ MORE →
EssaysFeatureIn DepthLiberal Democracy in Question

20th Century European Lessons for a 21st Century Brexit

It seems that June 23rd 2016 has become a new “zero hour” moment in European history, though I doubt it will go down in history as one next to November 9th 1989 or May 8th 1945. Those were system changing dates that eventually rippled around the world and signaled the coming of new eras in international relations history: from the multipolar world, to the bipolar cold war, and to the unipolar moment/era of U.S. supremacy. No, Brexit’s date will most likely join the other not so remembered — but still greatly important — days of European pitfall, which triggered constitutional and foreign relations turning points. 

Three dates/events come to mind: first February 21st 1947, when Great Britain relinquished its Mediterranean and European balance of power role by no longer guaranteeing Greece’s and Turkey’s security. …

READ MORE →
EssaysFeature

A Report from Turkey

The following comes to us on Friday, July 15 from a colleague in Turkey who wishes to remain anonymous.

For the past three hours my friends and I have been listening to a continuous ezan or Islamic call to prayer from the local mosques. The imam, however, is not just summoning the pious to reflect on their spiritual stations, but rallying the faithful behind Turkish President 

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. They are calling for the “preservation of democracy,” but they are also calling for war. The Turkish military, meanwhile, has announced that it has taken over state media and that martial law will be declared. No one is to leave their apartments or step outside. Erdoğan, speaking on Facetime of all things, encouraged his supporters to come out in force, and the imams heeded his call. …

READ MORE →