State–society cycles and political pacts in a national–dependent society: Brazil

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Bresser-Pereira, Luiz Carlos
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The history of independent Brazil may be divided into three major state–society cycles, and, after 1930, five political pacts or class coalitions can be identified. These pacts were nationalist; only in the 1990s did the Brazilian elites surrender to the neoliberal hegemony. Yet, since the mid-2000s they have been rediscovering the idea of the nation. The main claim of the essay is that Brazilian elites and Brazilian society are 'national–dependent', that is, they are ambivalent and contradictory, requiring an oxymoron to define them. They are dependent because they often see themselves as 'European' and the mass of the people as inferior. But Brazil is big enough, and there are enough common interests around its domestic market, to make the Brazilian nation less ambivalent. Today Brazil is seeking a synthesis between the last two political cycles – between social justice and economic development in the framework of democracy.

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