National-developmentalism, agribusiness and the "recovery" of the economy

With the enduring crisis that Brazil is experiencing again, there is a debate about the way out of the national economy. The discourse of national-developmentalism gains strength after many years treated as "eccentricity" or "irresponsibility". The debate about the importance of agribusiness for the national economy also appears strongly. They are not dissociated issues and must be taken into account together.

National-developmentalism is an essentially political historical phenomenon; it is a political project, not just a theoretical paradigm. Of course there is a lot of theory behind this, the Latin American structuralism of ECLAC, and other authors from the rest of the world, and in Brazil the biggest representative of this tradition is Celso Furtado.

But the important thing is to conceptualize national-developmentalism as a historical phenomenon of the twentieth century in the peripheral countries of capitalism. Several countries, such as Getúlio Vargas's Brazil, Juan Domingo Perón's Argentina in the first half of the twentieth century, and countries such as South Korea of ​​General Park Chung-hee in the beginning of the second half of the century, among several other examples, were countries totally subject to the industrial powers of the capitalist center. What did these countries do?

They established a strategic development policy planned by the State. And the forms varied widely, with more or less democracy, with more or less private or public companies.

The fact is that what they had in common is what has been called National Development Project , which involves planning with methods, goals and targets, and articulation between the public and private sectors to increase the productivity of the economy. This is through industrialization, the development of a country's productive forces. That is, speaking in development is speaking in industry.

The term national-developmentalism is a binomial whose first term points out that historically, even in central countries, it was the national state that managed to articulate this project, even with private development. The US is famous for conducting a development of private industrial enterprises, but none of this would have happened without its national state.

In her book, The State of Entrepreneurs, the Italian-British professor Mariana Mazzucatto shows the importance of the State through several examples, and the most emblematic case is that of Apple and the IPhone, which was only possible because the company was driven by commercial use of sensitive military technologies developed by the US Armed Forces, and by public capital investments in the US that make the technology, not to mention the tax and commercial policies that the Americans do to protect their large companies. And this is just one example, all of Silicon Valley was developed like that, in addition to other sectors like biotechnology and etc. One of the institutions that performs this type of action by the US State in the economy is DARPA, which is an agency of the Armed Forces for the promotion of private investment in technology. In this way, the State is the protagonist of technological innovation even in the leading country of privatism and neoliberalism.

In Brazil, as a peripheral country, the situation demands even more State presence. Just look at the origin of our great industries, were built by the state. CSN was Getulio who got in an agreement with the Americans. Petrobras is a power in the world oil market. Even to bring productive investment of foreign capital requires coordination of the state. Our auto industry, which was the pinnacle of technology at the time it was created (it would be the equivalent of bringing factories from Apple to Brazil today) was brought by Juscelino Kubistchek's Goals Plan. In addition, he articulated the auto parts industry to supply the automakers with domestic private equity.

All our infrastructure, hydroelectric, and etc, were made by the State. Embraer, which produces state-of-the-art aviation technology, competes with the Americans who now want to buy it, was also created by the state and then privatized. Finally, like the US, Brazil also has several examples to show that the State has played a leading role in our industrial development.

Thus, national-developmentalism was that political process that lasted from about 1930 to 1979 in Brazil, which was basically the state leading industrialization, increasing the productivity of Brazil's economy.

Since agricultural activities do not have the same level of complexity and division of labor as industry, therefore, in addition to generating less added value to the goods, they generate fewer jobs. But agribusiness is an essential sector for our economy, mainly because we have been deindustrializing for 30 years.

Who has paid the account of our balance of payments, that is, who has created income through exports to finance our imports, which are many, is agribusiness. That is, it is an industry that can not be less valued or treated as an enemy in the abstract. Of course, it must be controlled, we must not commit the violations of the environment and human rights that are happening in the Brazilian rural world.

It is necessary that the State inspects, punish, take away the business, who commits this type of crime or illegality. But it is also necessary for the State to continue investing in agribusiness as it has always invested, nowadays mainly through the Safra Plan, giving credit to small producers, which feeds the Brazilian people, and also to the large export agribusiness, which produces wealth in dollars to pay our external accounts.

Even from the point of view of development, it is important to industrialize the countryside, increase its productivity, and increase the income generated in the countryside. Of course, again, it is necessary to inspect, prevent violations and etc., but it is not possible to defend that a National Project is going to destroy the most dynamic sector of the Brazilian economy. Even if the currencies created by the primary export sectors are well used as exchange reserves and as a fund for productive investment, they can leverage a new cycle of industrial development.

The coup government installed in the country is celebrating that it has left the crisis. It's a lie. The economy continues to grow, industrial activity continues to decline. What is growing again and balances the economy a little, is agribusiness. So when looking at the numbers of GDP, they only look at the general number, which has the growth of agribusiness holding the tips, while where it actually has jobs, in industry, the production and income of the people continues to fall.


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