Sunday, January 20, 2008

Brazil Is An Adult Nation-State That Often Acts Like an Adolescent in International Affairs

The following passage, attributable to Dr. Stein, is extracted from

Rediscovering the Value of Intellectual Property Rights: How Brazil's Recognition and Protection of Foreign IPRs Can Stimulate Innovation and Generate Economic Growth, International Journal of Economic Development, Vol. 8, Nos. 1-2 (Sept. 2006), at pp. 301-302 and accompanying endnotes, at:

At least one expert in clinical psychology and international affairs1156 has evaluated Brazil‘s conduct [of ‘ip opportunism’ under the pretense of communal policies of ‘universal access to healthcare’ and ‘universal access to knowledge’] in psychological terms.

In his estimation, Brazil is an adult that often acts like an adolescent.1157 It is suffering from an acute sense of inadequacy, which prom pts it to continually ‘act-out’ on the world stage in search of its true identity. On the one hand, Brazil is frustrated because it is caught, developmentally speaking, between childhood and early adulthood. Although it has become, because of its economic size and newfound technological potential, a major actor (an ‘adult’) both in the hemisphere and in the world, it believes that it has not yet been taken seriously enough by older and more established actors. As a result, Brazil (‘the adult’) feels that it must aggressively assert itself (as would an ‘adolescent’) in international affairs to command the respect and acknowledgement it believes it (as an ‘adult’) deserves. Simultaneously, how ever, Brazil often finds it convenient to regress back and assume the posture of a weak enfeebled adolescent so that the OECD nations (‘the older adults’) will excuse its prior intransigent behavior. 1158

According to this expert, it is to be expected that some OECD nations, including the United States, which have invested much to maintain the established global order, will insist that Brazil be punished. They are justified in believing that this is necessary in order to teach other adventurous emerging and developing economies (true adolescents) a lesson. The problem, however, is that once the Government of Brazil has ‘acted out’ publicly on the world stage, its behavior has been indelibly etched in the minds of those other governments, and cannot be erased without considerable effort. Undoubtedly, Brazil‘s peers and the less fortunate developing countries have taken notice of Brazil’s opportunistic conduct and are likely to try repeating its successful tactics in the future to the detriment of the world community.1159

Lastly, this expert believes that the Brazilian government’s continued ability to exact sympathies from OECD nations as it opportunistically acquires their technologies in the name of public health and information sharing, has only further reinforced its sense of invincibility and derring-do.

This, in turn, has encouraged the Government of Brazil to persist in its opportunistic conduct to the point of obsession. As a result, the government has become unable to distinguish between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, and no longer finds it necessary to disguise its true contempt for the current world intellectual property system. Therefore, it has embarked on an all-out campaign of opportunism to disrespect all intellectual property, including that created by its own industries, even if it harms itself in the process.1160


Accompanying Endnotes

1156 Robert Stein, Ph.D., is a Clinical Psychologist licensed in the State of New York. He is a certified Bilingual School Psychologist and teaches Psychology part-time at SUNY Rockland Community College,
where he specializes in developmental psychology. Dr. Stein also received an M.A, in Diplomacy & International Relations from the John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations at
Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ. He has extensive experience in psychological assessment and therapy, working with adolescents and adults, and has testified as an expert witness and currently serves on a misconduct review board for the Carmelite Order.
1157 The Inter-American Development Bank has also used this analogy to describe the stage of development o f Brazil‘s largest cities in a recently released report that documents how Brazil has converted urban slums into m ore affluent suburbs. “Progress… continues to be slow and uneven. One problem – highlighted by the IADB in a recent report – is governance. Latin America, with its strong traditions of centralized authoritarian government, has embraced the idea of elected local government only within the last 20 years or so. Local government tends to be poorly resourced: while 35 percent of public spending is directed through local government structures in Europe or the US, the figure is only about 20 percent in Latin America. More importantly, urban growth has been so rapid that it has often rendered irrelevant many administrative decisions. Latin America‘s penchant for bureaucracy has made matters worse. Mr. Rojas at the IADB says that more effective and properly resourced local government will be an essential ingredient in tackling the region’s housing problem s. He compares cities such as Sao Paulo and Rio to fast growing teenagers. ‘Their brain – or governance – is just not able to cope with the speed of fast-growing limbs’” (emphasis added). See Richard Lapper, “From Slum s Into Suburbs: How Sao Paulo is Showing the Way to Civilise the Megacity”, Financial Times Comment and Analysis (8/25/06), at: p. 7.
1158 “Nation-states, being composed of people, are subject to the same broad types of developmental and behavioral disorders as their citizens. Group process however, consists of more than a simple summation of
the constituent parts. Rather, group dynamics, in this case, national group dynamics, has both a summative and interactive effect. Often, despite advancing to the next developmental level, both nations and individuals continue to maintain immature and regressed identities and continue to utilize immature coping strategies, which are no longer consistent with their advanced development. Viewed from a developmental perspective, Brazil can be seen to have graduated to this next level, which roughly corresponds to early adulthood. It is self-sufficient both economically and agriculturally. It has become an acknowledged major player in the hemisphere and internationally. It commands the respect and solicitude of states around the world. And yet, it still clings to outmoded and self-defeating behaviors… that relate to an inadequate self image… Brazil still view s itself as the psychological equivalent of a weak adolescent, who must constantly project a false bravado, despite its obvious well endowed adult status.” See “Comments from Dr. Robert Stein”, provided during a series of written and telephone interviews conducted during February 15-20,
1159 “When an adult believes it is still an adolescent all kind s of problems are created. When adults act like adolescents and engage in vandalism and non-conformist behaviors, it creates two problems. The first, true adolescents, in this case less developed nations, feel more emboldened to engage in similar acts which show contempt for the basic world order. Second, it causes responsible adults, in this case the developed nations, to take retaliatory actions and to insist on punishment. Adolescents are typically excused for all sorts of unseemly behavior. In most western cultures they are viewed with annoyance or bemused indifference. As a not-so-young adult which engages in such behaviors, Brazil currently runs the risk of incurring these kinds of responses, despite its obvious capacity to compete ‘with the big boys’”. Ibid.
1160 “Further, as with various adult compulsive behaviors which begin as voluntary, nations with a major stake in the present world order that indulge in the economic equivalent of shoplifting eventually degenerate into kleptomania. The self-reinforcing nature of getting something for nothing makes it increasingly difficult to cease such behaviors, once begun. The further an individual, or nation, becomes consumed with such behavior, the more difficult it becomes to distinguish reality from its own rationalizations, resulting in more overt insults to the other adult members of the community and eventually provoking retaliation. Not only that, it encourages disrespect for its own inventions and innovations from newly emerging states, which seek to replicate the developed state‘s progress.” Ibid.

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