A dictatorship against the republic: economic power and political power in Roberto Campos

Ricardo V. Silva About the author

This article examines the political thought of Roberto Campos between the decades of 1950 and 1970. In this period, in addition to holding important governmental positions, Campos also devoted himself to struggles around ideas, publishing a large number of articles and essays. Our hypothesis is that his political thought points to the institutionalization of a political system that is authoritarian in nature as the most adequate for the cultural and political conditions of Brazilian society. The main characteristic of this type of system is the hypertrophy - in relation to other republican powers - of State executive power under military and technocratic command. The main function of the hypertrophied executive is the collaboration with and implementation of institutional reforms and "rational" economic policies, against the supposedly particularist and irrational resistence of different sectors of Brazilian society. This view collides head on with Campos´ suggestion that the regime that was instituted after 1964 represents a sort of updating, under prevailing societal conditions, of the ancient Roman republic institution of the "comissary dictatorship", in which the election of a dictator for a short period of time in order to contain possible threats to republic institutions was permitted.

Brazilian political thought; authoritarianism; comissary dictatorship; Roberto Campos; republic

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