Why is Brazil so angry?


Diogo Costa, a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Economy at King’s College London, wrote this insightful article that helps to try to explain why “over a million people took to the streets over the weekend (March 15) calling for the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, five months after she won a general election.”

Some brief excerpts from the article includes:

– (President) Dilma Rousseff is experiencing the culmination of two crises that have been building up since she took office in 2011.  The political crisis began as six of her ministries fell in the first ten months of her government due to corruption accusations. It escalated during her first term when senior members of PT were found guilty of a vote-buying scheme taking place in the national Congress.  Now the crisis has reached a peak as the Federal Police carries on an investigation for a multi-billion bribe scheme that allegedly channeled money from Petrobras,the giant state-controlled oil company, to Ms Rousseff’s party and perhaps to her own campaign.

– Lack of economic growth will put in risk the welfare programs that are considered PT’s greatest social achievement. Brazil must face its productivity challenge.  During the first decade of the century, gains in productivity represented 60 percent of growth in Mexico, 82 percent in India and 93 percent in China. In comparison, only about 25 percent of Brazil’s growth came from productivity gains. Much of previous growth seems to have been caused by an increase in cheap subsidized credit. During Rousseff’s first term, public banks surpassed private institutions in domestic credit supply.

– During her International Women’s Day speech, one week before Sunday’s demonstrations, Ms Rousseff had a chance to convince the population of her willingness to admit mistakes and to work for serious reforms. Instead, her speech mentioned punctual fiscal reforms and insubstantial corruption legislation.  She blamed inflation on “the greatest drought in our history” and said the international crisis was the central culprit for Brazil’s economic woes. Skilled publicity works to win elections, but it performs less well when it comes to actually governing a country. Much of the rest of the speech was harder to hear as people in urban neighbourhoods began to bang pots and pans from their windows.

To read the entire article written by Diogo Costa, click here.

Occasio team



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