The reason that the population is now backing the movement towards progression, however, is simple: we need to subject all political figures to the demands of the people; we have to develop among politicians a real sense that they are working at the service of the population, so that the objective of each party and deputy is not exclusively in winning elections but in implementing a truly emancipative political project in which political mandates are a means and not and end in themselves. This is not a play for power, however, since many such initiatives already exist. It is crucial that we create and implement a project for the country, which will require new actors with the conviction that urgent matters in the interest of the people can no longer be delayed.
One of the many forces that could participate in this undertaking is the Brazilian Socialist Party, which has been preparing itself for some time to provide an effective alternative for the construction of our place in the world. This will demand an intensification of our democracy, characterized by popular protagonism and a combination of representa-.
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The Brazil we want should not be built only for Brazilians, but by Brazilians. This requires a wide reorganization our political process and the political institutions we have. Contrary to popular belief, what is lacking in Brazil is political engagement, to the extent that politics has been reduced to a business transaction of interests and economic power.
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This type of politics has nothing to do with the noble pursuit of organizing the polis from which true politics emerges. E-mail: jose. Macroeconomic policy in Brazil has undergone significant transformation over the last 15 years. The macroeconomic tripod was maintained, although it was made more. In fact, from the National. At the time of the more rigid regime, economic growth was seen as being determined by the level of supply.
With the flexible tripod, growth started to be seen as determined by aggregate demand. From this moment on, macroeconomic policy began to focus on generating increased levels of domestic aggregate demand. An important element in attaining this objective was the policy to increase the minimum wage adopted by the Lula government.
As a result, the minimum wage started to increase significantly in real terms, reducing the difference be-. Monetary Council maintained the target inflation rate at 4. This reduced wage dispersion, leading to an improvement in personal and functional income distribution that stimulated consumer spending among the working class. The solid expansion of domestic aggregate demand over this period, which was driven by government primary spending increasing after at a faster pace than GDP, occurred alongside a significant increase in real exchange rates, leading to the reemergence of current account deficits from onwards.
The aim of this article is to evaluate the evolution and consistency of the macroeconomic policy regime hereby referred to as MPR in Brazil over the last 15 years. In practice, this incompatibility is resolved by neglecting external competitiveness in favour of other macroeconomic objectives, causing growth to be unsustainable in the medium and long term. In fact, not only was monetary policy driven specifically in order to control inflation, relegating the stabilization of economic activity to the background, but fiscal and exchange rate policy were also neglected in order to safeguard price stability.
Indeed, the generation of substantial primary surpluses as a percentage of GDP with a view to stabilizing public sector debt was seen as necessary in order to restrict the monetization of public debt in the long term, thereby controlling inflation. Similarly, the floating exchange rate regime was seen as indispensable to price stability as this offers the Central Bank the.
Figure 1 contains the objectives, targets and instruments included in macroeconomic tripod policy. Indeed, monetary policy is guided in order to stabilize inflation in the short-term within the calendar year and to attain low rates of inflation in the medium and long term. To achieve this, a declining inflation targets system was adopted, together with a convergence term of just one year for short-term targets. This objective requires the primary surplus target to be fixed above 3.
The absence of a formal model to control the growth of consumer and government spending meant that in practice the instrument used to attain primary surplus targets was the control, if not reduction, of public investment. Finally, exchange rate policy was totally neglected in favour of monetary policy so that the latter had the freedom it required in order to achieve short-term inflation targets. The result of this MPR in terms of growth was disappointing to say the least. In fact, the average growth in GDP was just 2. Monetary Policy Stabilization of Declining inflation Short-term inflation in the targets interest rates short term Low inflation rates in the long term Fiscal Policy Low and stable Primary surplus Reduction of public debt as a target public percentage of GDP investment in the medium and long term Exchange Rate Autonomy of None Free-floating Policy monetary policy nominal exchange rate.
This reduction in growth is largely explained by the shrinking of investment rates when the macroeconomic tripod was in force, reducing potential growth. Gross fixed capital formation at constant prices increased to Another factor explaining this poor performance in terms of economic growth during the macroeconomic tripod period is the maintenance of elevated real interest rates Figure 3. In the period between March and September , the macroeconomic tripod started to be made more flexible through the reduction of primary surpluses as a percentage of GDP, the elimination of the declining inflation targets system and the significant accumulation of international reserves by the Central Bank.
As a result, primary surpluses as a percentage of GDP fell from 3. In the target inflation rate was fixed at 4. In the end, the Cen-. Another important element in flexibilizing the macroeconomic tripod was wage policy, more specifically the policy adjusting the minimum wage. The minimum wage increased by Between March and February , however, the minimum wage increased by These elements allow us to conclude that the aim of the flexible tripod regime was not just to stabilize prices, but also to accelerate economic growth, sta-.
Acceleration of economic growth would result from increased public investment, made feasible through the reduction of the primary surplus target, increases in consumption driven by higher wages and the reduction in real interest rates made possible by the extinction of the declining inflation targets system. The real exchange rate would be stabilized through the purchase of international reserves, which would be responsible for absorbing the enormous capital inflows that the Brazilian economy started to observe from the year Finally, the sharp growth in real wages would be a consequence of the wage policy adopted by the government,.
The objectives, targets and instruments that comprise the flexible tripod are shown in Figure 4 below. The performance of the flexible tripod in terms of economic growth was undoubtedly superior to that for the previous regime. In fact, the average GDP growth rate accelerated to 5. This increase in real output was accompanied by a sharp rise in the rate of investment, which went from Public investment increased to an average of 3.
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The flexible tripod was not able to stem the trend towards increasing real exchange rates, however, observed from March onwards see Figure 6. In fact, the effective real exchange rate reduced from The combination of accelerated economic growth and appreciated real exchange rates resulted in a sharp deterioration in the balance of payments, which went from a surplus of 1. The appreciation of the real exchange rate played an important part in the reduction of the inflation rate observed for compared to , as shown in Figure 7. While the annual variation of the IPCA price index went from 8.
This significant deceleration in inflation rates during the flexible tripod regime can be explained as a result of the 3. It is interesting to note in Figure 7 that the reduction in interest rates coincides with the appreciation of the real exchange rate between March and May The combined effect of the appreciation of the real exchange rate, the corresponding reduction in the rate of inflation and the discontinuation of the declining inflation targets.
Notes: i The real exchange rate is measured on the left-hand axis and IPCA variation is measured on the right-hand axis. Despite the accelerated growth observed during the flexible tripod regime, the continuity of high real interest rates from an international perspective ended up causing a sharp increase in the real exchange rate, which on one hand was useful in controlling the rate of inflation but on the other contributed to a strong deterioration in the balance of payments. It can therefore be verified that in practice acceleration of growth, control of inflation and stabilization of real exchange rates are objectives that are incompatible with one other, meaning policy makers need to sacrifice stable real exchange rates in order to accelerate growth and control inflation.
This inconsistency within the MPR is partly a result of the lack of coordination between monetary, fiscal, wage and exchange rate policies.
For example, during this period wage policy produced a real increase in the minimum wage to levels consistently higher than any reasonable estimate for growth in labour productivity, creating inflationary pressure in terms of production costs and complicating the task of controlling inf lation through monetary policy. As primary surpluses as a percentage of GDP were relative stable for , this increase in primary spending was essentially financed through tax increases, generating an impact on aggregate demand equivalent to the increase in primary spending as a percentage of GDP.
The international financial crisis and inconsistent development The financial crisis, which began after the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy on September 15, , led to further flexibilization of the macroeconomic tripod, establishing the basis for a new MPR in Brazil. The combined effect of this fiscal, monetary and credit expansion allowed the Brazilian economy to recover from the crisis fairly rapidly, exhibiting growth of 7.
New-developmentalism is a concept that disseminated throughout Brazil via the work of Bresser-Pereira , , and is defined as a set of proposals for institutional reform and economic policies through which medium developing countries seek to achieve the level of. The implantation of this strategy requires the adoption of an active exchange rate policy, which maintains the real exchange rate at a competitive level in the medium and long term, combined.
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In the new developmentalist model, economic growth is driven by exports. The public deficit plays no relevant role.
Consumer spending should grow at a pace about equal to the GDP in the medium and long term. Maintaining the real exchange rate at a competitive level in the medium and long term demands not just the adoption of an active exchange rate policy, but also a wage policy that promotes wage moderation by linking real wage increases to growths in labour productivity, in this way guaranteeing the stability of functional income distribution in the long term. The combination of responsible fiscal policy with wage moderation would maintain inflation stable and at a low level, allowing monetary policy to be used to stabilize economic activity and at the same time allow for a significant and permanent reduction in real interest rates.
In the new-developmentalist model, however, economic growth is driven through exports and sustained by private and public investment in the expansion of productive capacity and basic infrastructure. Lastly, the stability of functional income distribution ensures that consumer spending increases at a level approximately the same as that for real GDP in the medium and long term, guaranteeing the maintenance of growth in terms of domestic demand.
The evolution of primary spending in the period before the crisis reflects the choices made regarding the desired growth regime for the Brazilian economy. In fact, data seems to point towards growth driven by an increase in government spending in The government tried to prevent this increase in real exchange rates through the continuation of its policy to accumulate international reserves and the gradual introduction of capital inflow controls.
Although these policies proved to be effective in preventing increases in the real exchange rate between October and January , they were unable to recover the effective real exchange rate to pre-crisis levels and they did not prevent the re-. The policy to increase the real value of the minimum wage continued during the period prior to the crisis through the institutionalization of the minimum wage adjustment model in This significantly increased the minimum wage in real terms, as shown in Figure One of the collateral effects of the continuation of this trend towards increasing real exchange rates after the crisis was the deceleration of gross fixed capital formation GFCF.
As can be seen in Figure 12, this resulted in the gross fixed capital formation growing at 5. Source: Prepared by the author using data from the Ministry of Labour. Data deflated according to IPCA.
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Rates calculated using the GFCF rolling average over the previous 12 months. Part of this deceleration in investment is clearly related to the crisis.