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April 27, 2007

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Jorge

He might be a good researcher, but is not a very ethical one. After president Lula called him to this "special secretariat" he took out an article in his site where he argued that government Lula was “the most corrupt of our history” and that it was “obligation of the Congress” to declare its impediment. Attention professor Rodrik!!
Ps: I didn't found any site in english with this news, but here in Brazil it was notified in all newspapers.

toJorge

To Jorge: or maybe removing that paper critical of Lula demonstrates that Unger is a good pragmatist after all (never mind his seemingly impenetrable philosophical prose on pragmatics).
I don't know the Brazilian context well enough to answer this myself, but I ask: What does Brazil need more now, a purist who never takes back any of his past statements in the name of 'ethical purity', or someone who is willing to roll up his sleeves and start work to tackle the country's very serious challenges with those that he once criticized?

Kenji

Prof. Rodrik:

I'd be interested in finding out more about how wide the network is of scholars and other individuals who are promoting variations of what is increasingly known as "democratic experimentalism." This is an incredibly refreshing progressive idea about which I would like to educate myself more. Thank you.

Torben

Well my question to Dani is, " Come on! If a politician can chage living standard of its people by doing sth then why don't they do it?" Isn't planting your name for the good fortune like what General Park or many others did is of less importance? Or, There is little politicians and there policies can do to make a difference? If corruption and bad governance is the key, then isn't grabing from greater pie better than from the smaller one? So why they are stuck with low income?

Camilo Telles

I think that to pull of the article is not a good idea. Mangabeira can be a pragmatic and still have the article in the Web. He doesn´t need to deny his history to do a good work. I like his thoughts and ideas, but I really didn´t like his position to take off the article. I hope that he roll up her sleeves for our country, we really need more mans like him in the governement.

L Monasterio

Prof Rodrik,

FYI: The party of Mangabeira Unger (PRB)is considered one the most corrupt parties in Brazil. (And you know how tough is the competition there.)
Furthermore, it is the political arm of the Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus. The honesty of the Church's leaders is widely disputed.
O Globo, a Brazilian newspaper, said that members of PRB visited IPEA (the Institute of Applied Research- an independent government institution) last week in order to know the budget and the positions that were available to the party. Scary.

Bryan

Colegas,
The problem with Mangabeira Unger withdrawing an article critical of Lula from his website moments after accepting a ministerial post is not that he censored himself retrospectively, but that the article in question is indeed brilliant. It was one of the most succinct and acute indictments of corruption in Lula's government to appear in the mainstream press. By withdrawing it now, Mangabeira shows he is so seduced by power he cannot recognize his own best work.

In a few years, when the damage of Lula's government is clear to everyone, will Mangabeira rush to retrieve his article from the trash and admit he knew it all along?

It is also ironic that Mangabeira, who will not stand by his own words, has been named Minister of Long-Term Actions. This is clearly one more second-rank secretariat invented to suck taxpayer money and buy political loyalty.

Here is the first paragraph of the article in question, translated:
"I affirm that Lula's government is the most corrupt in our national history. A corruption made that much more pernicious in that it serves for purchasing congressmen, politicizing the Federal Police and regulating agencies, making a mockery of political parties and attempting to tame any state institution capable of opposing its misdeeds."

Anyone who would like to read the entire article can find it in the archives of the Folha de Sao Paulo, from the 15 Nov 2005 edition.

claudio

Prof. Rodrik,

Mangabeira Unger was against the use of the so called CC (public employees who gain their job from political indication, like, e.g., Wolfowitz in the World Bank, but without the need of the board's approval.

Brazilian government has problems with this (it distorts the incentives among all the public employees, for example) and so Mangabeira, among others, was one very good critical of this.

Now, he just have gained a lot of jobs to distribute among his fellows and the silence is so loud to ignore.

Who could say if this is the so called "pragmatism" or a simple search for power? I think all your work about institutions have just one answer to this, despite your friendship with prof. Unger. Let's consider the positive answer, not the normative one.

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Victor777

Dear Prof. Rodrik

I was born in Brazil and I was raised here in Massachusetts. I immigrated to this country at the age of eleven and I’m twenty-three now and I’m on my way to law school. There are two issues that I would like to address in your blog. The first is Prof. Unger’s merit in becoming a Harvard Law School professor. Roberto Unger attended HLS shortly after the military government was established in Brazil. Although Prof. Unger received his L.L.M. degree and later S.J.D. from Harvard, I don’t believe that he would be in the position he is if he had to face the ‘cut-throat’ competition that exists in the admissions process to HLS’s J.D. program. I don’t know exactly what Prof. Unger had to undergo in order to be acceptance to HLS, but I am certain that he did not have to face the same level of competition that Harvard J.D. applicants face every year. Having said that, I’m not saying that Prof. Unger doesn’t deserve to be teaching at HLS, rather, what I am saying is that perhaps he wouldn’t be in the position he is today if he had to go through the type of competition that J.D. applicants have to go through. I’m not second-guessing Prof. Unger’s brilliance, but I must say that there are others in Brazil with superior intellect, but who don’t have the ‘history of public service’ in one’s family, who will never be considered for admission at Harvard Law School. And of course, since Prof. Unger represents the whims of the left, why not grant him admissions?

The second issue that I would like to address is Prof. Unger’s ability to help shape the future of Brazil for the better. First of all, let’s not be fooled: President Lula’s appointed of Roberto Mangabeira Unger to the Secretariat of long-term action is nothing more than a political stunt. Everyone knows that Unger has been a vigorous critic of the Lula government and what’s the best way to shut up a critic? To promote him; in this case, to create a bogus executive branch to not only quiet a political opponent, but to also give the Brazilian people that false perception that a branch of government is working on a better future for Brazilians. Not only that, but as Jorge mentioned in this blog, why did Unger accept the nomination? He accepted the nomination because he saw an opportunity to be working, first-hand, with the Brazilian corrupt establishment whom he has criticized on many occasions, but has worked with on many more. You see, Unger has failed miserably in Brazilian politics. He failed when he ran for mayor of Sao Paulo and in many other attempts that he made towards Brazilian politics. The truth is, Unger is just as part of the establishment as Lula. I mean, even at HLS, guess who’s Unger’s assistant in Brazil? None other than another Brazilian undeserving of Harvard Law School, Daniel Vargas. Mr. Vargas was a student of Unger’s at HLS and share in his view for the future of Brazil. Also, it will interest many of you to know that Unger was involved in a corruption probe into his cozy relationship with Brazilian banker Dantas who was involved in the Brazilian telecom scandal. A purist? Hardly.

The cold-hard truth about Brazil is that it will take no less than a full-blown revolution to put the country towards the right path. Unfortunately, Unger is part of the problem and not the SOLUTION. My father is an attorney in Brazil and he will be the first to tell you that Brazil’s constitution needs MAJOR overhauling. Brazil is a country that is rich in natural resources and whose people are crying for a change. A change for the better, however. Life in prison sentencing needs to be the rule when it comes to government corruption. That is the only way to curb government corruption.

Better days will come to Brazil. But it doesn’t start with Roberto Mangabeira Unger.

Victor

Dear Prof. Rodrik

I was born in Brazil and I was raised here in Massachusetts. I immigrated to this country at the age of eleven. I’m twenty-three now and I’m on my way to law school. There are two issues that I would like to address in your blog. The first is Prof. Unger’s merit in becoming a Harvard Law School professor. Roberto Unger attended HLS shortly after the military government was established in Brazil. Although Prof. Unger received his L.L.M. degree and later S.J.D. from Harvard, he never had to face the ‘cut-throat’ competition in the HLS J.D. program admissions process. I don’t know exactly what Prof. Unger had to undergo as part of his admissions process, but I am certain that he didn't face the same level of competition that Harvard J.D. applicants face every year. Having said that, I’m not saying that Prof. Unger doesn’t deserve to be teaching at HLS, rather, what I am saying is that perhaps he wouldn’t be teaching at HLS if he had to go through the same type of competition that J.D. applicants go through. I’m not second-guessing Prof. Unger’s brilliance, but I must say that there are others in Brazil with superior abilities, but who don’t have the ‘history of public service’ in the family and who will never be considered for admissions at Harvard Law School. And of course, since Prof. Unger represents the whims of the left, why not grant him admissions?

The second issue that I would like to address is Prof. Unger’s ability to help shape the future of Brazil for the better. First of all, let’s not be fooled: President Lula’s appointed of Roberto Mangabeira Unger to the Secretariat of Long-Term Action is nothing more than a political stunt. Everyone knows that Unger has been a fervent critic of the Lula government and what’s the best way to shut up a critic? To promote him; in this case, to create a bogus executive branch of government to not only quiet a political opponent, but to also give the Brazilian people the false perception that a branch of government is actually working towards their future. Not only that, but as Jorge mentioned in this blog, why did Unger accept the nomination? He accepted because he saw an opportunity to be working, first-hand, with the Brazilian corrupt establishment whom he has criticized on many occasions, but has worked with on many more. You see, Unger has failed miserably in Brazilian politics. He failed when he ran for mayor of Sao Paulo and in many other attempts in Brazilian politics. The truth is, Unger is just as part of the establishment as Lula. I mean, even at HLS, guess who’s Unger’s assistant in Brazil? None other than another Brazilian undeserving of Harvard Law School study, Daniel Vargas. Mr. Vargas was a student of Unger’s at HLS and share in his view for the future of Brazil. Also, it will interest many of you to know that Unger was involved in a corruption probe into his cozy relationship with Brazilian banker Dantas who was involved in the Brazilian telecom scandal. A purist? Hardly.

The cold-hard truth about Brazil is that it will take no less than a full-blown revolution to put the country towards the right path. Unfortunately, Unger the man that's going to do it. My father is an attorney in Brazil and he will be the first to tell you that Brazil’s constitution needs MAJOR overhaul. Brazil is a country that is rich in natural resources and whose people are crying for change. Change for the better, however. Life in prison sentences needs to be the rule when it comes to government corruption. That is the only way to curb it.

Better days will come to Brazil. But it doesn’t start with Roberto Mangabeira Unger.

Al Pecadini

what you know ??? YOu are a fucking immigrante who does not know anything about life ..... you are only 23 and you will never get into HARVARD LAW SCHOOL SCHOOL ...

Victor

First of all, you should learn how to type instead of wasting everyone's time by bringing up nonsense that's not edifying to the conversation in any way. Second, I could care less about being accepted to Harvard Law School. Harvard has undoubtedly produced some of the greatest legal minds of our time (I’m not disputing that). However, Harvard has also produced some of the most vile leftist figures that we have ever seen. People like Barack Hussein Obama and ex-New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. I would much rather attend a conservative law school that is more in-line with my personal views.

The law is the law; if you have the right will, the right tools and the right mind—you can out learn Harvard Law School students ANY DAY OF THE WEEK. Also, let’s not forget: Harvard Law School is not number one, Yale Law School is.
Something to think about…

ernie

vile leftist figures, Barack Obama and Eliot Spitzer? I thought you presented some good points but not all I see in you is a right-wing tool.

Victor

right-wing tool? Why because I don't bow down to Harvard Law School? Give me a break...

A. Sanctus

Two years after having being seduced by power at any cost and betrayed his own conscience by withdrawing a correct article calling Lula's government the most corrupt in Brazil's history, today is Mangabera Unger's last day in Lula's cabinet. He was informed by Harvard that his leave of absence has expired and would not be renewed. I wonder if Harvard Law School's administration is really aware of the full content of his article and has realized that his unashamed decision to work for a government he himself calls "the most corrupt" will leave a perennial stain in his academic career. Some of the comments above euphemistically call his decision to join Lula's government just "pragmatism". Far from "pragmatic", his decision is a classic case of seduction by power at any cost. An academic like him should have known better and I wonder how he'll be able to face his students next semester at Harvard and teach them ethical values and criticize the traditional political view shared by may dictators that "the ends justify the means". And how is he going to respond a possible student question about his involvement with the mega Brazilian corrupt/corruptor, Daniel Dantas? Rather than going back to HLS, Mangabera Unger should seriously think of an early retirement both from political and academic life.

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Two years after having being seduced by power at any cost and betrayed his own conscience by withdrawing a correct article calling Lula's government the most corrupt in Brazil's history, today is Mangabera Unger's last day in Lula's cabinet. He was informed by Harvard that his leave of absence has expired and would not be renewed. I wonder if Harvard Law School's administration is really aware of the full content of his article and has realized that his unashamed decision to work for a government he himself calls "the most corrupt" will leave a perennial stain in his academic career. Some of the comments above euphemistically call his decision to join Lula's government just "pragmatism".

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He might be a good researcher, but is not a very ethical one. After president Lula called him to this "special secretariat" he took out an article in his site where he argued that government Lula was “the most corrupt of our history” and that it was “obligation of the Congress” to declare its impediment. Attention professor Rodrik!!
Ps: I didn't found any site in english with this news, but here in Brazil it was notified in all newspapers.

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