Interesse, ideologia & incompetência: a guerra do Iraque e o segundo consenso de Washington

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All social science schools have a common assumption: self-interest is the central variable explaining human behavior in society. In contemporary societies a second variable is turning increasingly relevant when one is willing to explain social outcomes: policymakers technical, ideological and emotional incompetence. Incompetent policymakers, who fail to choose the alternative more consistent with their own objectives, even when interests were neutralized, always existed. But now, that an increasing number of social outcomes are dependent on government policy, competence has turned strategic. In Part 2, the recent Irak war is offered as an example. The age of balance of powers diplomacy and imperial wars is over. We live now in the world of global capitalism and democracy, where national states compete through their business enterprises. In the Global System the main task is to develop an international institutional system through multilateral actions. The Bush administration, however, did not understand that, and waged a unilateral war against Iraq. In acting this way, without the support of the United Nations, president Bush s conservative and messianic entourage is ruling the US against its real national interests. The world is today more insecure than before the war, and lacks the required leadership to fight the real enemies: terrorism, drugs, poverty, and climate change. In Part 3, the macroeconomic policies adopted by the American Treasury and by the IMF in relation to developing countries, are presented as a second example of incompetence. The assumption is that is not of the interest of the United States a permanent crisis in Latin America. The policies consist in the Second Washington Consensus, and involve financial opening (a reform that was not included in the first consensus) and growth with foreign savings. The consequence is an overvalued exchange rate, low growth rates, high foreign indebtedness, and balance of payment crises. The case of Brazil and its two financial crises (1998 and 2002) is singled out. Although we may also speak of interests behind, incompetence is the dominant cause of the policy mistakes.

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