[PAST EVENT] "The Brazilian Economy After the Great Recession"

March 16, 2011
Washington Hall, Room 201
241 Jamestown Rd
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
Brazil's speedy recovery from the Great Recession produced a wave of optimism, spurring a surge of investments. Foreign capital has poured in and Brazilian investors have jumped in as well. Contrasted with the sluggish recovery of the American, European, and Japanese economies, Brazil sparkled. Since Brazil had been bunched together with Russia, India, and China, to liken Brazil's economic outlook to that of other BRICs has been but a short step.

This study takes stock of the situation. The good news is that some remarkable structural shifts (demographic transition, oil discoveries, reduction of economic inequalities, revolution in agriculture, and so on) do justify the hopes for a brighter future. But there is a downside. The economy is overheated, current accounts are deteriorating, fiscal and monetary policies are working in opposite directions. Aside for the lingering difficulties stemming from the foreclosures of housing loans, there is a striking resemblance between the problems that threaten to derail growth in Brazil and those that may retard the U.S. recovery. It is with regards to the determinants of long term growth that differences between the two countries become sharper.

The analysis delves into the short term difficulties of the Brazilian economy and on its long run outlook. Parallels are drawn with the American economy. Brazil's growth will be more modest than the present wave of optimism would predict. The recession's greatest impact has been in the realm of ideas. It has contributed to a renewed emphasis on market regulation, government intervention and mistrust of globalization. An added danger is that the U.S. could be seen as an unrepentant defender of an outmoded globalization, thus leading to a souring of U.S.-Brazilian relations.

[[whfish, William Fisher, Associate Professor of Anthropology]]