A test for Brazilian democracy

Amidst a history full of oligarchies and military coups, Brazilian democracy emerges and give signs of maturity. An exciting presidential race challenges the supremacy of popular party PT, in office after 12 years. But what could be an easy reelection has become a nightmare for Lula and his party. President Dilma Rousseff (PT) is struggling with scandals in oil public company, Petrobras. Her administration is said to be the 3rd worst ever in terms of economic growth in Brazil. GDP is down and inflation is up.

Photo: Jornalggn

Candidate Aecio Neves (PSDB) made a spectacular turn in the week before the first round. He didn’t wave his elegant and constant attitude when Marina Silva took his place as second in the race. He kept his cool and honored his pedigree as grandson of an icon of the democratization of Brazil, Tancredo Neves.

The PT fights back with ideological catchphrases, opposing capitalism versus socialism, the rich against the poor. The tactics is to associate their opponents and critics with capitalists who think only of their own wealth and don’t care about social programs.

Under president Lula, a declared leftist politician, the liberal macro economic discipline was maintained. Under president Rousseff, things changed significantly as the ideological attitude regained status fueled by the results of social programs.

The confusion of better social levels, corruption and the ideologies revival can be a sign of the pluralism of Brazilian political scene. Or it may also mean a setback to populism. The rise of Aecio Neves is hope that a larger portion of the Brazilian society is immune to those old tricks. If this is true, Brazil will show a mature sense of democracy, way past the paternalist populism that outlives in some South American countries.

 

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Brazil presidential elections: Where will Marina voters go?

Ibope and Datafolha polls both shows Aecio Neves with 51% of valid votes, while Dilma Rousseff has 49%. Where will Marina Silva’s voters go?

First take of  Ibope poll: 64% of Marina Silva’s voters in the first round choose Aecio in the second round. Only 18% say they will vote for Dilma Rousseff. 10% blank/null and 8% have not decided.

Photo: G1news

Marina is delaying the announcement if she will support Aecio Neves. What reasons motivate Marina’s voters in the first round?

Your thoughts are welcome in the comments space below. Let’s try to understand what forces and ideas are in play.

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TED Global in Rio

 For the first in Brazil, TED Global will take place in Rio October 6-10th 2014.

The first day was dedicated to projects of the young proteges  “adopted” by the foundation that organizes the event. The so-called TED Fellows – twenty new researchers and activists in different areas – showed brief presentations of their projects. From urban art to marine biology.

More about this: http://conferences.ted.com/TEDGlobal2014/

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IMF predicts Brazilian GDP will grow only 0.3% in 2014

For the sixth time in a row, the International Monetary Fund cuts down its forecast for 2014 economic growth in Brazil. In July IMF projected an expansion of 1.3%, now it expects only  0.3%.

This figure, if  confirmed, will be the second worst GDP result since 1998. The poor performance for this year will only be better than the 0.3% drop recorded in 2009.

Amidst presidential elections, the economy is one of the top issues to be discussed.

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Brazilian design context targets the American furniture market

Table of Gustavo Martini

The Brazilian furniture industry in the South city of Bento Gonçalvez (Rio Grande do Sul) will hold a contest to develop a line of Brazilian furniture designed to please the American taste.

A team of American consultants  will assist competitors to adapt their products to trends, preferences and requirements of the American market.

The Project Orchestra Brazil exists since 2006 and promotes the competitive insertion of supplying the furniture industry in the international market. The project has the participation of 72 companies and 38 design studios. In 2013, the participating companies reported significant increase in exports. Compared to 2012, exports increased 14.6%, completing four consecutive years of growth. In 2014, the project will participate in fairs FMC China (China), Intermob Istanbul (Turkey), Sicam Pordenone (Italy) and Fenafor Peru (Lima).

The initiative is a partnership between (Apex-Brazil) Brazilian Agency for Export Promotion and the Association of Furniture Industries of Bento Gonçalves (Sindmóveis).

 

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The Economist on World Cup

The Economist reviews Brazil’s game with Germany. Personally, I think the interest in soccer is overdone and too much attention has been paid to a game. On the positive side, the pacification police seem to have cleared some of the slums, which may help the new middle class hold some of their gains.  

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Lessons of a footballing Armageddon

Brazil needs new ideas, on and off the pitch
Jul 12th 2014 | From the print edition

THE only previous time that Brazil hosted the World Cup, in 1950, it famously lost the final 2-1 to Uruguay, after shipping two goals in 13 minutes late in the second half. So deflated were Brazilians that Nelson Rodrigues, a playwright and journalist, described the occasion as a “national catastrophe…our Hiroshima”.

If that is the benchmark, then the 7-1 semi-final thrashing on July 8th at the hands of Germany in Belo Horizonte’s Mineirão stadium was Brazil’s Armageddon. It was not just the scale of defeat—the worst since 1920. It was also the manner in which Germany’s fast and technically superior players cut through the home defence, as easily as a machete through cassava. To rub salt in a gaping wound, it is Argentina—Brazil’s arch-rivals—who will face Germany in the final on July 13th.

This humiliation has left Brazilians shell-shocked. No other country in the world has a closer identification with football, as Rodrigues’s hyperbole highlights. That may partly be because Brazil has no real Hiroshimas to fear: apart from brief engagement on the Allied side in Italy in 1944-45, it has not fought a war since the 1860s (against Paraguay). Through good fortune and tolerance, it faces neither military threats, nor terrorism, nor ethnic or religious tensions.

But this identification with football is also because the sport has provided a national narrative and a social glue. In a country that for long periods has failed to live up to its potential, prowess at the game provided “a confidence in ourselves that no other institution has given Brazil to the same extent”, as Roberto DaMatta, an anthropologist, wrote in the 1980s. Brazil has won five World Cups but no Brazilian has won a Nobel prize.

In winning the right to host this year’s World Cup (and the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016) Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil’s then president, wanted to highlight that the country now has other reasons for confidence beyond football. The tournament would showcase the planet’s seventh-largest economy, a vibrant democracy and remarkable social progress that has seen poverty and income inequality fall steadily in this century.

But the tournament has taken place just as Brazilians are feeling less confident about their country’s course. The economy has slowed to a crawl; inflation is at 6.5%, despite a succession of interest-rate rises. The $11 billion of publicly financed spending on stadiums helped to trigger huge protests last year over poor public services, corruption and the misplaced priorities of politicians. The last-minute rush to complete the stadiums, and the tragic collapse of a newly-built flyover in Belo Horizonte this month, have highlighted Brazil’s difficulties with infrastructure projects.

Contrary to some forecasts, the event itself has gone smoothly, without transport breakdowns or significant protests. Predictably, most fans have had a great time. Polls showed that Brazilians were warming to the idea of hosting the tournament. Despite being booed at the opening ceremony, Dilma Rousseff, Lula’s successor and protégée, had felt emboldened to announce that she would attend the final.

Brazil’s shattering defeat has robbed Ms Rousseff of any hope she might have nurtured that the World Cup would provide her with a boost in an election in October at which she will seek a second term. But in itself it will not help the opposition either. Things are not as simple as that. Brazilians were always going to have other matters on their mind when they vote in three months’ time. The incumbent president won in 1998 when Brazil lost badly in the World Cup final, after all; and his chosen successor lost in 2002 when Brazil won.

At a deeper level, however, the humiliation of the Mineirão is likely to reinforce the country’s negative mood. And that is potentially dangerous for Ms Rousseff. Though polls still make her the favourite, the campaign will only now start in earnest. Her approval rating hovers barely above 40%, and polls consistently show between 60% and 70% of Brazilians wanting change. With her centre-left Workers’ Party having been in power for 12 years, can she offer it? Her appeal is in essence to past achievements—to a huge rise in employment and real wages, both of which are only just starting to move into reverse.

Similarly, the Mineirão disaster showed that Brazilian football is no longer a source of national confidence. It too needs changes that go far beyond building shiny new stadiums. Its officials are corrupt and its domestic league poorly run. Living on past glory, it is inward-looking and tactically outdated. Brazilians may end up concluding that they need new management and new ideas, both on and off the pitch.

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World Cup – Halftime Verdict, Belindia, the Germany match

I am not much of a soccer (Futbol) fan, but with the Germany match all in the news, I will say this on behalf of Brazil, a country I have come to love in the last few years:

Arguably the most famous German, Gisele Bundschen is still Brazilian, graphic evidence that the best German genes found their way to Rio Grande do Sul between 1890 and 1950

This may seem like a cocktail tidbit, but it belies the reason Brazil is such a great nation — I’ve never seen a country that welcomes more of the World’s cultures within it’s own borders than Brazil.

The World Cup in Brazil

The half-time verdict

Expectations were low. They have been exceeded

THE winners of the football World Cup will not be known until July 13th. But the tournament is already a sporting success. Draws, especially of the goalless variety, have been mercifully rare (see chart). Not since 1958 have so many goals been scored per game in the group stage of a World Cup. What about off the pitch?

Start with Brazil’s economy. On the whole, economists agree, big sporting events have negligible impact on output. Money for the infrastructure bonanza beloved of politicians is not conjured from thin air; it is diverted from elsewhere. Productivity dips, too. Holidays have been decreed on some match days to ease pressure on creaking public transport. Before the Brazil-Cameroon game on June 23rd, for example, Brasília was a ghost town; to spare fans inevitable gridlock, public institutions and private firms let workers off early.

http://www.economist.com/node/21604202/print

Comparing Brazil’s states

Welcome to Italordan

Brazil’s income disparities are great, but so is its progress

IN 1974, to capture the income inequality for which his country was infamous, Edmar Bacha, a Brazilian economist, coined the term “Belíndia”—a small rich Belgium surrounded by a vast poor India. Football players and fans descending on the country for the World Cup, which began this week, will still see several Brazils, if not the disparities of Belíndia.

As our map of Brazil’s states shows, the richest part of the country, around the capital, Brasília, is not quite at Belgian levels. But it is as wealthy as Italy, measured by GDP per person in 2011 (the latest available data set) at market exchange rates. India, meanwhile, is much poorer than even the most destitute Brazilian states, Maranhão and Piauí, where income per head is three times higher than on the subcontinent and roughly equal to that of Jordan.

http://www.economist.com/node/21606616/print

Football in Brazil
Out with a whimper

Jul 8th 2014, 23:42 by J.P. | SÃO PAULO

“TO EXPLAIN the inexplicable is complicated.” That is how Júlio César, Brazil’s goal-keeper, summed up the 7-1 rout by the Germans in the semifinals of the World Cup on July 8th. The 2-1 defeat to Uruguay at Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro in 1950, the last time Brazil hosted the event, looks mild by comparison. So does the 3-0 loss to the then-host France in 1998.

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