Gustavo Ballvé on October 19th, 2010
Corporate Governance, Food for thought, Home, Portfolio Management, Risk management

A subject we’re very concerned about and with is the state of governance/ accountability in politics. It’s always worth returning to this subject every now and then, so here are some links we consider very important.

Update: we’ve included New York Times’ two-part series “The Education of President Obama”, about the administration’s first two years.

– The most recent piece is an Oct. 5th video interview with Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO. He starts right away by saying how poorly impressed he is with the political system and that “Washington is an incumbent protection machine”. That said, the hope comes from the fact that “Technology is fundamentally disruptive.”

– Eric Schmidt doesn’t say anything new, if we’re to judge by this long and somewhat pro-Democrat biased article on New Yorker magazine called “Washington, we have a problem“. It is an impressive account of how the current political process is flawed even in the US (comparisons to Brazil are usually a saddening experience). The amazing and growing power of the lobbies in the election process is also highlighted in the much smaller NYT article “The secret election”.

– Please note that we’re aware of biases, and the VF article above is in the same line of this next one: “Obama in Command” by Rolling Stone magazine. That said, it’s a rare long interview with Obama discussing the political process in the US. We’re aware that the Tea Party movement, while presenting some very interesting proposals for the political process and seeking to balance the US budget, also represents some political tendencies we don’t subscribe to. Even so, the subset of proposals involving the law-making and budget-setting processes still deserves a lot of attention, regardless of ideological sympathies.

Update: Again very much in the same line and from a decidedly Democrat newspaper (the New York Times), here’s a very interesting two-part article (October 2010) about the first two years of Obama’s administration. Part 1 is called “The Education of President Obama”, an 8-page “inside view”-type story. But the 2nd part is better, since it’s an 8-page excerpt of an interview with Obama in which he is quite frank about the first 2 years’ achievements and failures, and about the political process.

– Finally, two July 2010 Economist articles we think have a lot in common with the theme: the first one is about strange connections between corporations and politics in France, as evidenced by the L’Óreal – Sarkozy affair. The second one is about Brazil and rampart corruption in the Legislative power (not just there, but focus is needed) and the then-new “Clean Slate” provision (Ficha Limpa in Portuguese).

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