Simone Deos, Adriana Nunes Ferreira, and Alex Wilhans Antonio Palludeto | Latin American Perspectives


Neoliberalism is a normative system that endeavors to universalize competition and the generation of inequality as fundamental behavioral norms, encompassing not only corporate entities but extending to the whole society. The tenets of this system came under strain amid the coronavirus pandemic which, on one hand, has accentuated its more assertive traits, and on the other, compelled certain strategic concessions primarily in response to pressures coming from society. An assessment of a representative array of economic, political, and health care measures implemented by the neoliberal administration of Jair Bolsonaro during the critical period of 2020–2021, corresponding to the most acute phase of the pandemic, indicates that these measures were underpinned by a regrettable, misguided, and detrimental notion positing a dichotomy between economic prosperity and public health preservation. They were based on the idea that life is not a right for everyone, only for the strongest, and that individual freedom should prevail over the collective interest. The outcomes of this orientation, in aggregate, manifested themselves as a deleterious combination of high unemployment, declining wages, liquidity and solvency problems in businesses, and, most significantly, a substantial loss of human lives.


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