Publicado em : 26/06/2014

Autor : Marçal Justen Filho

Schadenfreude (shadenfroide) is a German word used to indicate the sensation of pleasure caused by the suffering of others. Possibly it is the result of the feeling of inferiority or individual impotence: the misfortune of others produces a psychological compensation, which is experienced as an equivalent to a positive event.
I refer to the bureaucratic schadenfreude to indicate the satisfaction experienced by the person in charge of a bureaucratic procedure when the development of formalities makes it impossible to satisfy an interest of others. Three emblematic cases, the maitres de restaurateurs, the doctors' offices, and the airline employees, come to mind. On so many occasions, arriving at a restaurant without having made a reservation beforehand, I see in the eyes, the tone of voice and the corporal expression of the maitre the great satisfaction of informing me that I can be attended to after midnight. In other cases, the doctor's attendant can not disguise the satisfaction of informing you that the doctor is late for two hours, had an emergency operation, you can sit and wait. And there are the unfortunate cases where, upon arriving at the airport,
But what motivates this meditation is the bureaucratic-administrative schadenfreude that develops within the state apparatus. For many decades, there was a character of Jô Soares who was amused in denying the receipt of petitions of the individuals by lack of completion piaget altiplano replica watches of irrelevant formalities. In a classic frame, Jô Soares's character was weighing the client's folder and said that it was very light, which certainly did not contain something like the birth certificate of the applicant's great-uncle's brothers. The exaggerations of this comic representation did not depart from the picture of a reality that remains in existence over time.
All Us Citizens, we continuously experience this situation within the administrative divisions. It is not just a question of useless formalities, unnecessary information, irrelevant documents. The most serious problem is the clear psychological satisfaction that accompanies the performance of the administrative agents. The denial of the request or of its own processing shall be pronounced with satisfaction by the agent. Any argumentation about the purpose to be achieved, about reasonableness or proportionality is taken as a manifestation of insubordination of the individual, who is responsible for collecting his frustration and withdrawing humbly from the presence of authority.
One could argue that the administrative bureaucratic schadenfreude presents its own peculiarities and escapes the concept itself. In this case, the administrative agent acts directly and concretely to produce the situation of unhappiness of others that gives him pleasure. But that is not the case for this article. Because the problem is not the psychological or sociological diagnosis of the issue. The key lies in the incompatibility of the practical solutions generated by the administrative bureaucracy in view of fundamental legal values.
The State - and all its agents - are an instrument for the realization of fundamental values. Bureaucracy is a solution to standardize procedures and facilitate decisions, but always taking into account the primacy of the citizen. The individual is not an obstacle to the tranquility of administrative life. It is the raison d'être of the existence of state services. The public servant serves the interests of each of the individuals and private subjects that make up the Nation. It does not serve itself, nor the decisions of the immediate head nor the will of the political authorities.
Schadenfreude is a psychological drift, which reveals individual psychological vulnerabilities. Rejoicing in the misfortune of others is deplorable. But bureaucratic-administrative schadenfreude is much more than that. It is a violation of the legal system, an insult to the democratic structuring of state power. It is an institutional deviation whose elimination can only be obtained by means of the u-boat thousands of feet replica watches  permanent affirmation of the relation of dependence of the State in face of the Nation. The fulfillment of the administrative functions involves great decisions and structural measures. However, at the individual level, what is essential is the concrete solution of the
problems of our lives, which routinely depend on the functioning of state services. It is necessary to solve the major infrastructure problems in Brazil. But as important as this is to eliminate bureaucratic-administrative schadenfreude and ensure solidarity between public authorities and private individuals.

JUSTEN FILHO, Marçal. Bureaucratic-Administrative Schadenfreude.
Informational Justen, Pereira, Oliveira and Talamini, Curitiba, no. 88, June
2014, available at, access on [date].


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