March 18, 2015

Brazilian truckers have been going on strike and creating roadblocks over rising freight costs. In order to placate them, President Dilma Rousseff signed into law a bill that would, among other things, exempt some truckers from paying tolls. Although equal treatment under the law is a fundamental principle of free societies, industry players are frequently able carve out legal exceptions for themselves by banding together and lobbying government officials for special treatment. That’s why Rodrigo Constantino, president of Atlas Network partner Instituto Liberal and a frequent media commentator, wrote a recent analysis arguing against the special benefits that the trucking industry receives in Brazil.

“It is not difficult to understand why organized interest groups have much to lose or gain from certain measures, and therefore unite in support of privileges,” Constantino explains. It is a classic case of concentrated benefits and diffuse costs. The common car drivers, or, as Constantino calls them, “ants without a political voice,” ultimately bear the costs of special privileges.

Instituto Liberal has been an indispensable voice for classical liberalism in Brazil for many years. In 1983, Instituto Liberal started out translating classical liberal texts into Portuguese, but since has expanded the size and scope of the organization and its mission. It has also helped to foster the birth and growth of other classical liberal think tanks in Brazil, including the Freedom Institute, the Open Order Institute, and the Millennium Institute. Instituto Liberal actively promotes the principles of classical liberalism with lectures, discussions, seminars, and media commentary.

Read Rodrigo Constantino’s full analysis, “Truck drivers benefit and you pay the bill.”