Texto para Discussão, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (IPEA) 1432
This paper examines the discussions that took place during the 2007 National Social Welfare Forum (Forum Nacional da Previdência Social, FNPS) which aimed at discussing long-term reforms to the General Social Security System (Regime Geral da Previdência Social, RGPS). The forum brought together representatives from key institutions, including employers, workers and various sectors of the federal government. The research utilized the following as empirical data; the minutes and transcriptions of the discussions that were held during the sixteen forum meetings, official documents generated during the forum, interviews with participants and the opinions of experts on the issues. The results indicate that there was scant agreement on the reforms, particularly on how to structure the issues for discussions concerning social welfare in Brazil. Among these questions was the lack of agreement on (a) the differences between welfare and assistance benefits, (b) how to analyze and understand the Social Security Budget (Orçamento da Seguridade Social) and (c) the nature of the so called deficit. The text concludes that the considerable disagreement on conceptual and analytical issues will unlikely be agreed upon during discussions structured in this type of forum. This is particularly true if government representatives do not take a more homogeneous and incisive stance in proposing changes to the system that they consider pursuing.