Abstract in English:This paper explores a theoretical and political approach to discuss the idea (and ideal) of freedom. This approach is built through a dialogue between different theoretical views, especially Isaiah Berlin's concept of freedom as non-interference, Philip Pettit's idea of freedom as non-domination, and Nancy Hirschmann's constructivist freedom. It sustains that the idea of 'non-oppression' is a useful approach to consider freedom in its complexity. Reading freedom from the 'key' of oppression allows us to think of not only 'spaces' of freedom, but also who is free. This 'key' relates freedom to freedom of choice and, at the same time, indicates the necessity of non-domination and attention to the construction of choosing subjects. This paper intends to emphasize that the choices take place in contexts, and these contexts involve relationships, emotions and values. They can be understood as a subjective aspect linked to choice; however, we want to highlight that social standards, structures of power and social meanings are what shape this subjectivity. The social construction happens constantly, quietly and every day, and must be considered whenever we discuss freedom.
Abstract in English:Despite the vast literature on social security reform there are relatively few studies that analyze the participation of representatives coming from the union movement in the decision-making process. This article aims to fill part of that gap in Brazilian academic production on unionism and public policy. In situations in which unionist representatives support the ruling party, does the union bloc tend to defend the specific interests of their base of social representation or to follow the guidance of the party coalition of which they are part? The study addresses this research problemby analyzing the participation of the union bloc in the decision-making process of a social security reform, Proposal of Amendment to the Constitution, Article 40 (PEC 40), during the first term of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's government. The main findings of the study confirm the thesis of party predominance. In an institutional political scenario in which party discipline prevails, unionist representatives and senators tend to follow the guidance of the party coalition even under contrary pressures from their electoral base. The research sheds light on the relations involved between the Executive and Legislative branches, in the process of changing public policy, in which a government considered to be allied imposes losses for specific sectors of the union base, notably the active and inactive public servants of the federal government, states and municipalities.
Abstract in English:The debate about the operation of Brazilian political institutions is far from conclusive. It could hardly be different, since current Brazilian democratic regime is only 30 years-old. This article updates a previous one, published in 2000, in which I discuss different and rival interpretations on the functioning of the Brazilian democracy. Some new works argue that a 'dialectic synthesis' of those strands has been recently produced. This article demonstrates this argument is not accurate. Instead, my main argument is that, in spite of rich analyses, new evidences and some displacements, the interpretations and paradigms guiding that debate remain the same. On the other hand, in spite of the solid position of the interpretation sustaining how the Brazilian political system ensures governability, the current institutional debate goes far beyond this paradigm by setting new themes and approaches. To demonstrate this argument, the article presents the evolution of such debate.
Abstract in English:What is the impact of small parties on electoral outcomes? This articles aims at contributing to the literature on party systems by proposing a new method to classify political parties. The methodology is applied to Brazil by focusing on the description of the election results of small parties. Cluster analysis is employed to classify political party size based on their percentage of votes in the Brazilian states. The main findings indicate that classifying parties through cluster analysis is more objective than previous classifications. As a result of this method, the article shows that small parties exert little effect on electoral volatility in Brazil as well as small parties benefit less from the disproportionality between votes and seats than the larger ones.
Abstract in English:This review presents the research paths taken in recent decades in the attempt to identify the causal relationship between international trade and development. It argues that this is a highly empirical issue which the traditional, multi-country studies have not been successful in unraveling. The academic literature found fertile ground in which to question the channels by which trade may affect development and give rise to research with more specific themes. The result is an enormous and diverse range of studies. Some of these lines of research, referencing important texts in the literature, are presented herein.
Abstract in English:The main purpose of this article is to show the relevance of the legislative branch participation in formatting bills originating in the executive. It shows that a strong executive is not necessarily accompanied by a weak legislature. By analyzing the changes the legislative made to executive bills through substitute bills and amendments to the legislation, the study shows that the legislative branch actively participates in drafting policies. By such means, the legislative branch is responsible for nearly 40 percent of the content of the laws promulgated in Brazil. Even when the executive takes steps aiming at controlling the legislative agenda, such as provisional decrees or urgency requests, the rates of legislative change do not decrease. As a result, in spite of the president institutional resources to place its own bills on the agenda, the legislative branch do discuss, analyze and modify the proposals advanced by the executive. An active instead of a passive legislative power emerges from the data shown in this article.
Abstract in English:In The Idea of Justice (2009), Amartya Sen presents an approach to justice that seeks to make comparisons based on social realizations. This approach focuses attention both on real political-social institutions and on people's behaviour, as well as other potential influences affecting the degree of justice existing in a given society. The new theoretical proposal advanced by Sen (2009) differs then from the theory of justice formulated by John Rawls (1999a) and other contemporary theorists. In the eyes of the Indian author, the theory formulated by Rawls searches for solutions to questions of perfect justice and suffers from problems of feasibility and redundancy. In this article, I argue, centring attention on the question of the appropriate primary subject of social justice, that the critique and subsequent proposal for change of the subject of justice presented by Sen (2009) can be judged mistaken. From a liberal-egalitarian perspective, the primary subject of social justice should be the basic structure of society as formulated by Rawls. Hence I explore the idea that Rawls's option to focus on this subject is directly associated with this particular conception of social justice. I also look to show that Sen's (2009) critique of the redundancy of contemporary theories of justice can be considered implausible. I argue that an ideal theory, such as the one formulated by Rawls, is central to practical guidelines for actions that seek to lessen injustices in real life situations.
Abstract in English:This study focuses on the degree of political dominance exercised on cabinets by the executive chief in presidential systems. According to a debate that began in the 1990s, presidential systems are characterized by a non-collegial decision-making process, led by and personified in the figure of the president, in contrast to parliamentary systems where a joint decision-making process is prevalent. The key argument of this research note is that, although the majority of presidents have the constitutional power to remove cabinet ministers, the executive decision-making process in presidential systems is not necessarily vertical or based on a non-collegial process. By building a new index, we reveal a significant variation in the executive power exerted by presidents over their cabinets. To classify the degree of political dominance of presidents over their cabinets, we analyzed the rules of cabinet decision-making processes as defined in 18 Latin American constitutions.