Nonprofit Organizations of Culture in Contemporary Brazil: Ambiguous Relations with the State and Adjacency to Founding Companies

Wednesday, 13 July 2016
Location: Seminar 31 (Juridicum)
Distributed Paper
Miqueli MICHETTI, Fundacao Getulio Vargas - Escola de Administracao de Empresas de Sao Paulo - FGV, Brazil, Institute of Latin American Studies - Columbia University, USA
After the collapse of the socialist alternative and the crisis of the Fordist regime of accumulation, the “third sector” was praised as a good option in between the State and the Market. Since the 1980’s, civil society organizations have grown around the world and the same happened in Brazil, where the process had a particular feature consisting in the end of a thirty-year long dictatorship. The civil society was urgently needed to foster democracy in the country. In this conjuncture, large companies in the sectors of finance, mining and energy launched nonprofit organizations, many of them in the field of culture. Their uprise follows the inception of laws stimulating private donation to artistic and cultural initiatives through tax breaks. The two main laws, called Rouanet Law and Audiovisual Law, allow individuals and legal entities to deduct a percentage of the tax due to donate to art and culture. The bigger the company the more it can “donate”, which has led to the concentration of the donations in some large corporations that seek to “invest” in well-known artists and events, as a marketing strategy. In the case of a cultural institute founded and sponsored by a bank, for instance, there are strong bonds between the nonprofit organization and the founding company, even though they claim independence. It happens that banks are the largest donors and their nonprofit organizations are the biggest beneficiaries of the laws incentivizing culture. As they control a considerable budget passing through the public rule, their increasing role in the shaping of public policies is an example of the transformation of economic capital in public power. The paper will focus on the private and public agency of the cultural nonprofit organizations, their close and ambiguous relations with the State and their adjacency to their founding companies.