The view from São Paulo

ccrawfo5's picture
São Paulo , SP
São Paulo BR

I find myself in São Paulo because I was asked to participate in the Second Annual Seminar on "Dialogue Among Judges", hosted by the Mackenzie Presbyterian University, one of this capital city's very best private universities.

Say what? you ask. Dialogue between judges? Yes, dialogue. You see, in civil law countries (those that depend primarily on legislature-made codes for their laws) generally judges do not refer to one another's reasoning, as is true in common law countries like the United States or the United Kingdom. This is particularly true in a country like Brazil which, while a nation for centuries, has dramatically reformed its political and civil institutions since 1988 and so continues to develop its institutional and professional traditions. And questions — development questions — of institutional design are of central importance to this process. It is exciting to be a small part of this discussion — to consider, for example, the role in which discussion among judges can lead to a better, stronger rule of law. And it is especially exciting to be a part of this discussion where the judges of the region have the capacity to influence positively the lives of so many millions of people and so much economic activity.

All of this helps remind me that development is not just or even most importantly about building physical capacity. Rather, it is about improving human capacity to conduct activities intelligently and efficiently and coherently.

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