Wither Brazil? Rising, or fixin' for a fall?
September 19, 2010 4:19 AM   Subscribe

Is Brazil, "the country of the future, and always will be", on the rise? Or does it need a dose of constructive paranoia? Two articles from The Miami Herald take a look during this election year.
posted by joetrip (4 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, that constructive paranoia article basically boils down to "Brazil might not whore itself to multinationals and foreign powers desperate for more of its wealth, and it might not uncritically swallow the World Bank's recommendations, instead preferring self-determination instead of the modish recommendations of organisation that has both an incredibly spotty track record and a demonstrated disinterest in the wellbeing of its "charges" at the expense of free-market principle."

I'm sure Brazil faces many challenges in coming decades, but this article doesn't touch on any of them, in favour of some nebulous free market mumbo jumbo that anyone who clearly doesn't know anything about the country in question - nor could be bothered doing any research - could write.
posted by smoke at 4:58 AM on September 19, 2010 [5 favorites]

Neither of these articles really says much.

I mean, is the question “Did Brazil make the correct decision in rejecting the Washington Consensus?” Because if it is, then I’m pretty sure anyone who isn’t a shill for the Chicago School would agree that yes, Brazil made a good decision.

The IMF and World Bank can rot in hell for succumbing to the free-market robber barons.
posted by spitefulcrow at 8:16 PM on September 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

Disclaimer 1: Haven't read OP's links.
Disclaimer 2: I'm Brazilian

"I’m pretty sure anyone who isn’t a shill for the Chicago School would agree that yes, Brazil made a good decision."

Except that Brazil never adhered to the Washington Consensus (unfortunately). Brazil has, in the 90's, controlled exploding inflation by monetary policy, control of inflation and public expenditure. It has privatized big sectors of the economy that were monopolized by the state (like telecommunications) making access to cellphones and the internet cheap and affordable.

Unfortunately, the liberalization of the economy stopped there. The state still had key sectors under its control (energy), and the independent agencies that were created to regulate the industry were taken over by private interests and purposefully weakened, so that the power over the economy could be centralized by the executive branch - the presidency and its ministries.

That happens together with the rise of a new burgeouisie in Brazil - bred in the state-owned monopolies, state-owned banks, civil servant pension funds and labour unions, this new class has spread its influence through an all reaching government, and is using it to advance an authoritarian, anti-market agenda - not with the speed or ferocity of Chaves' Venezuela, but more dangerous because it is fueled by the economic advantages the country has gained by the liberalization of the economy in the 90's that is now demonized by them (even though the same monetary policies are kept). You speak of free market robber barons? You haven't seen what the state-control robber barons are capable of.

I'll comment more once I have time to read OP's links.
posted by falameufilho at 8:15 AM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

No offense, but there's not a whole hell of a lotta info in the links ...

Michael Hudson (of the Harper's article The $4.7 trillion pyramid:
Why Social Security won't be enough to save Wall Street, and the (fascinating) The End of Lehman article) recently spoke to the Council of Economic Advisors to the President of Brazil.

His subject was How Brazil Can Defend Against Financialization
posted by mrgrimm at 12:23 PM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

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