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Gerhard Stoltz

Gerhard Stoltz's Public Library

  • The combined capitalisation of its two largest private banks, Itaú and Bradesco, is now twice that of Petrobras and Vale, its two biggest extractive firms, and far sounder. The fortunes of these and other banks have been made from the highest long-term interest regime in the world – crippling for investors, manna for rentiers – and staggering spreads between deposits and loans, with borrowers paying anything from five to twenty times the cost of the same money to lenders.
  • When Brazil emerged from two decades of military dictatorship in the mid-1980s, this system was designed by a political class shaped under it. Objectively, its function was and is to neutralise the possibility that democracy might lead to the formation of any popular will that could threaten the enormities of Brazilian inequality, by chloroforming voter preferences in a miasma of sub-political contests for venal advantage.
  • In most contemporary democracies, the separation of powers is a polite fiction, supreme courts in general – the American is an intermittent exception – bending to the will of the governments of the day. The contortions of the German Constitutional Court – often held to be a luminous example of judicial independence – in upholding violations of both the country’s Grundgesetz and the Treaty of Maastricht at the behest of successive regimes in Berlin, can be taken as a norm.

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  • you do not disown your belief in socialism just because Stalin’s executioners claim to believe in it too, any more than you find Morocco unpleasant just because Michael Portillo drops in on the place occasionally.
  • One should be cautious of those who loudly insist on cutting the crap and telling it like it is, just as one should beware of those who find things too exquisitely complex for definitive judgment.
  • Socialism has its ‘continuist’ strand, acknowledging its indebtedness to a precious heritage of popular sentiments and middle-class liberalism without which any socialist order is likely to be stillborn. But it has its Modernist or avant-garde dimension as well, envisaging as it does a transfigured human individual whom the language of the present cannot encompass; and Orwell, unlike D.H. Lawrence, had as little feel for this revolutionary avant-gardism as he did for most avant-garde art.

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