Lost Decade Behind, Brazil Is Definition of Optimism Turnaround in Latin America

By Lateef, Noel | The Christian Science Monitor, September 15, 1997 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Lost Decade Behind, Brazil Is Definition of Optimism Turnaround in Latin America


Lateef, Noel, The Christian Science Monitor


When President Clinton visits Brazil next month, he'll encounter a people brimming with optimism. In its latest international poll, the Gallup Organization found that Brazilians are the most optimistic people on earth. Fully two-thirds of Brazil's population of 165 million expect this year to be better than last.

For many Americans, perceptions of Brazil are outdated. A recent Foreign Policy Association survey disclosed that 9 out of 10 respondents believe that the Brazilian economy is suffering from hyperinflation, that 8 out of 10 were unaware that Brazil is a democracy, and that 7 out of 10 wrongly assumed that Russia's gross national product was larger than Brazil's.

Brazil, once a paradigm of central planning, is in the midst of a significant transition as it adopts a "market friendly" approach to economic development. Brazil's economic expansion, now in its fifth year, is displaying considerable resilience. Pedro Malan, Brazil's finance minister, forecasts that by the end of 1997 the Brazilian economy will have grown 24 percent since 1993 - a far cry from the economic slowdown of the '80s, known in Brazil as the "lost decade." Direct foreign investment in Brazil, which was below $1 billion in 1993, will surpass $15 billion in 1997. Credit for the economic turnaround goes to Brazil's president, Fernando Enrique Cardoso. While finance minister, he crafted the ingenious stabilization program (the "Real Plan") that has brought inflation down from four-digit levels in the early 1990s to 6 percent this year. A massive privatization program and a repudiation of import substitution policies have given additional momentum to the Brazilian economy. The Cardoso administration appears resolute in its commitment to liberalizing the Brazilian economy. It has taken the lead in building the Mercosur common market with Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay, creating a $1 trillion market that gives it leverage in its negotiations with the US for a Free Trade Pact of the Americas in 2005. The stabilization of the Brazilian economy has benefited a large and growing consumer base (50 percent of the population is under 20) and spurred a resumption of investment in productive assets. Brazil continues, however, to have the most skewed income distribution in the world. Economists are concerned about both the country's current account deficit and an overvalued foreign exchange rate. Speaking of Latin America in general, Maurice R.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Lost Decade Behind, Brazil Is Definition of Optimism Turnaround in Latin America
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?