Opinion

Jair Bolsonaro, the quintessential Brazilian libertarian?

President Bolsonaro's intervention in the economy gives an indication of his true character. Investors are not encouraged by what they see

Jair Bolsonaro, the quintessential Brazilian libertarian
Jair Bolsonaro and cabinet ministers take part in the inauguration of a track and field center in Cascavel, Paraná. Photo: Alan Santos/PR

Back in December 2018, while Brazil was still undergoing its transition from the outgoing Michel Temer administration and the Jair Bolsonaro era, I met with Paulo Kramer, a political advisor to the president-elect. I wanted to know how much of a pro-market libertarian Mr. Bolsonaro really was, given that his track record contrasted with his campaign promises to let the markets loose.

“How long did it take you to become a libertarian?,” Mr. Kramer asked me in return. 

Considering that my alma mater, the University of Brasília, is a left-leaning institution, I calculated that it took about five...

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