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Por lgarcia em 30/01/2002 na edição 157

PAUL KRUGMAN

Ana Bruno (*)

De acordo com seu último artigo para o New York Times, o professor de economia Paul Krugman, da Universidade de Princeton (EUA), sente-se condenado pela imprensa e relata sua "sentença" em texto publicado na sexta-feira (25/1) ? e reproduzido no dia seguinte em jornais brasileiros.

Lido do lado de baixo do Equador, a questão a ser levantada é outra: o quanto se aliena numa tradução sem o embasamento daquele que se propõe a trazer, para o nosso universo, parte do universo que está ali, no texto original? Um texto como do professor Paul Krugman deveria ser traduzido ? antes de mais nada, e para o bem do nosso melhor entendimento ? por um jornalista com conhecimentos mínimos de economia. Como o jornal O Globo (um dos que reproduz sua coluna) não publica o nome desse profissional, ficamos sem saber quem o faz. Já a Folha de S.Paulo apenas diz o nome do tradutor, sem informar qual a formação do indivíduo que se propôs a trazer, de novo, para nós, o universo inserido naquele texto.

Em resumo: trata-se de cuidar melhor da interpretação que se faz de um acadêmico respeitado e agora metido, ainda que indiretamente, no escândalo da bancarrota da Enron.

Começando pelo fim: "The muck stops here". O Globo traduziu mais acertadamente ? "a sujeira pára aqui" ? e a Folha optou pelo improvável "a lama não me atinge".

Outra: "(…) making me much more fastidious (…)". O Globo opta por "tornando-me mais enfadonho" enquanto a Folha vai mais certeiramente no "que me torna muito mais rigoroso", que melhor indica a intenção do autor de ser exigente.

Mais uma: "(…) speeches on world economic issues". No Globo: "palestras sobre economia global". Já a Folha insiste em "discursos sobre questões econômicas mundiais", sem considerar que "discurso" seria mais apropriado para um político, e não para um professor, como Krugman é.

A Folha traduz "(…) about issues of concern to Enron ? in particular, criticizing the role that market manipulation by energy companies played in the California power crisis (…)" assim: "sobre questões que envolviam a Enron, em especial nas críticas  que fiz ao papel da manipulação das empresas de energia na crise energética da Califórnia". Mas O Globo oferece melhor entendimento com "sobre questões de interesse da Enron ? especialmente criticando o papel que a manipulação do mercado pelas distribuidoras de energia teve na crise da Califórnia".

No trecho "(…) who tried to fight the accounting laxity that made Enron possible", a Folha e O Globo empatam e deixam a desejar. O primeiro cravou "que tentou combater a frouxidão na disciplina contábil que permitiu que o caso Enron surgisse" e, o segundo, "que tentou combater a frouxidão contábil que tornou a Enron possível" ? o que poderia ser melhor explicado, por exempo, com "que tentou enfrentar a negligente contabilidade que viabilizou a Enron".

"Blaming liberalism for Enron" ? O Globo ("Culpando o liberalismo pela Enron") se aproxima mais do que a Folha ("Culpando os liberais pela Enron").

"So I guess that makes me a Bill Gates crony". Nem comparsa, nem compadre, talvez ficasse mais claro com "daí concluo que me tornei amigo íntimo de Bill Gates" do que as opções do Globo ("Acho que isso me torna um comparsa de Bill Gates") ou a Folha ("O que presumivelmente faz de mim um compadre de Bill (sic) Clinton").

E por fim, o título "Spreading it around" que O Globo interpretou como "Espalhando a sujeira" e a Folha se distanciou com "A lama da Enron não me atinge".

Em tempo

Aguardemos que O Globo e a Folha relatem as correções feitas por Krugman em seu site pessoal < http://www.wws.princeton.edu/~pkrugman/html> ? também citadas no New York Times ? de extrema relevância para todos.

Na linha 15 do texto, ele se refere erroneamente a Lawrence Kudlow em lugar de Don Devine. Eis a retratação, no original em inglês:


THE NEW PAUL KRUGMAN WEBSITE

Error: I made a mistake in my NYT column today, and I apologize. Here’s the correction that should appear shortly in the NY Times:

In the course of Paul Krugman’s 1/25 column, he wrongly attributed to Lawrence Kudlow a quote that actually came from Don Devine of the American Conservative Union, reported in a Dec. 7 article by John Berlau from Insight on the News. Mr. Devine, not Mr. Kudlow, described this as the "Clinton-Levitt recession". Mr.Krugman apologies for the mixup.

Correction to correction: What should appear is this: Paul Krugman’s column yesterday misattributed the source of the phrase "Clinton-Levitt recession". It came from Don Devine of the American Conservative Union, not Lawrence Kudlow. Mr. Krugman apologizes.


Abaixo, a íntegra do texto analisado neste artigo, na lingua original


SPREADING IT AROUND

By Paul Krugman

<krugman@nytimes.com>; <http//://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/25/opinion/25krug.html>

A bizarre thing happened to me over the past week: Conservative newspapers and columnists made a concerted effort to portray me as a guilty party in the Enron scandal. Why? Because in 1999, before coming to The New York Times, I was briefly paid to serve on an Enron advisory board.

Never mind that, scrupulously following the Times conflict of interest rules, I resigned from that board as soon as I agreed to write for this newspaper – making me much more fastidious than, say, William Kristol, who served on that same board while editing The Weekly Standard. Never mind that I disclosed that past connection a year ago, the first time I wrote about Enron in this column – and also disclosed it the one time I mentioned Enron before, in a Fortune column. Never mind that the compensation I received per day was actually somewhat less than other companies were paying me at the time for speeches on world economic issues.

And never mind that when I started writing in this column about issues of concern to Enron – in particular, criticizing the role that market manipulation by energy companies played in the California power crisis – my position was not at all what the company wanted to hear. (Compare this with the board member Lawrence Kudlow, a commentator for National Review and CNBC. He wrote vehemently in favor of the Cheney energy plan – and has called this the "Clinton-Levitt recession," blaming Arthur Levitt, the former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, who tried to fight the accounting laxity that made Enron possible.)

Yet reading those attacks, you would think that I was a major- league white-collar criminal.

It’s tempting to take this vendetta as a personal compliment: Some people are so worried about the effect of my writing that they will try anything to get me off this page. But actually it was part of a broader effort by conservatives to sling Enron muck toward their left, hoping that some of it would stick.

A few days ago Tim Noah published a very funny piece in Slate about this effort, titled "Blaming liberalism for Enron." (Full disclosure: I used to write a column for Slate – and Slate is owned by Microsoft. So I guess that makes me a Bill Gates crony. I even shook his hand once.) It describes the strategies conservative pundits have used to shift the blame for the Enron scandal onto the other side of the political spectrum.

Among the ploys: Enron was in favor of the Kyoto treaty, because it thought it could make money trading emission permits; see, environmentalism is the villain. Or how about this: Enron made money by exploiting the quirks of electricity markets that had been only partly deregulated; see, regulation is the villain.

And, of course – you knew this was coming – it’s all a reflection of Clinton-era moral decline. Traditionally, as we all know, Texas businessmen and politicians were models of probity; they never cooked their books or engaged in mutual back- scratching.

One doubts that the people putting out this stuff really expect to convince anyone. But they do hope to muddy the waters. If they can get a little bit of Enron dirt on everyone ? the Clinton administration, environmentalists, liberal columnists – the stain on people and ideas they support will be less noticeable.

Why is Enron a problem for conservatives? Even if the Bush administration turns out to be squeaky clean, which we’ll never know unless it starts to be more forthcoming, the scandal threatens perceptions that the right has spent decades creating.

After all that effort to discredit concerns about the gap between haves and have-nots as obsolete "class warfare," along comes a real-life story that reads like a leftist morality play: wealthy executives make off with millions while ordinary workers lose their jobs and their life savings. After all that effort to convince people that the private sector can police itself, the most admired company in America turns out to have been a giant Ponzi scheme – and the most respected accounting firm turns out to have been an accomplice.

You might think that the shock of the Enron scandal – and it is shocking, even to us hardened cynics – would make some conservatives reconsider their beliefs. But the die-hards prefer to sling muck at liberals, hoping it will stick. Sorry, guys; I’m clean. The muck stops here.


(*) Estudante de jornalismo

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