Under the Empire of Technique: Instrumental Reason and the Rejection of Politics in the Formation of the Central Bank of Brazil



instrumental reason, banality of evil, technocracy, Central Bank of Brazil


Using the critique of instrumental rationality, based on Weber, Habermas and Arendt, we analyze, through interviews of the leaders involved in the creation of the Central Bank of Brazil (BCB), the tension between politics and technique in its formation as a bureaucracy. This oral history research was based on interviews conducted by CPDOC/FGV, published in 2019, in 25 volumes of the "Told History of the Central Bank of Brazil Collection," with leaders who participated in the creation of the BCB. As a result, we identified a discourse of rejection of politics in general and aversion to left-wing policies in particular, in addition to the sacredness of technique, giving rise to a technocratic vision of the BCB, an organization that is seen as bureaucratically insulated, but in which only one technique would be possible: the neoclassical liberal economic view. These two dimensions combine to establish a position of subjection of politics to technique in which even democracy can be sacrificed as an opportunity to implement a certain technical-economic agenda. There are
indications, therefore, of an instrumentality of reason in the manifestations analyzed, in pitting
technique against politics, which can lead to a process of banalization of evil as criticized by Arendt, especially in seeing regimes of exception in the country as mere opportunities to create the BCB and to implement a liberal-economic agenda. This perspective transforms technique into a political obstacle, including with the rejection of the greatest product of democratic political participation in
the country, the 1988 Constitution.


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Author Biographies

Ricardo Vinicius Cornélio dos Santos e Carvalho, Banco Central do Brasil

Doctoral student and Master in Administration from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG).
Specialist in Public Management from the João Pinheiro Foundation/MG. Economist and
Administrator. Analyst at the Central Bank of Brazil. 

Ana Paula Paes de Paula, Centro de Pós-Graduação e Pesquisas em Administração - CEPEAD (FACE-UFMG)

PhD in Social Sciences from the Institute of Philosophy and Human Sciences of the State University of Campinas (IFCH-UNICAMP), with a post-doctorate in Administration from the São Paulo School of Business Administration of the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (EAESP-FGV), Master in Public Administration and Government from EAESP-FGV, and Professor at the School of Economic Sciences of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (FACE-CEPEAD-UFMG).



How to Cite

Cornélio dos Santos e Carvalho RV, Paes de Paula AP. Under the Empire of Technique: Instrumental Reason and the Rejection of Politics in the Formation of the Central Bank of Brazil. Organ. Soc. [Internet]. 2023Aug.21 [cited 2024Apr.23];30(106). Available from: https://periodicos.ufba.br/index.php/revistaoes/article/view/50454