Brazil, Land of Tomorrow?
Posted by jonathanfryer on Monday, 24th March, 2008
Brazilians have a favourite running joke, namely ‘Brazil is the country of tomorrow — and always will be!’ This mixture of cynicism and resignation was for a long time understandable, as government after government promised to deliver a better life, while all that happened was a continuation of social injustice and rampant inflation. However, some things have improved in recent years, not least since President ‘Lula’ took over, and although prices continue to rise, the national currency, the real, has held its own on the exchange markets. There are still several serious structural problems and unemployment/underemployment are endemic. But there is a very lively informal economy, which enables many millions to survive. And in certain areas of appropriate technology, the country has become a pace-setter.
Of course, the fact that most of Brazil has a terrific climate helps. I always used to feel particularly sorry for impoversihed Russians after the collapse of the Soviet Union, as they had to survive bitter winters. At least here on the Brazilian coast there is the beach and a great sense of community, though life in the interior can be pretty grim.