Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

The Folly of Brazil’s Exceptionalism

Posted in News and Articles by politicalrisklatam on August 9, 2010

by Daniel Wagner for The Huffington Post, August 9th, 2010.

Brazil has been referred to as a regional superpower and an emerging global power, and President Lula has been called the most popular politician in the world by President Obama. But is Brazil’s and its President’s status well deserved, and have they lived up to their reputation? This article will argue that the answer is ‘no’ to both questions.

Rather than having earned its much vaunted position among political and economic pundits, Brazil has achieved its status based more on potential than economic performance, and while President Lula has certainly earned his popularity in Brazil, on the global political stage, he has made a mess of things.

To BRIC, or not to BRIC – That is the Question

Goldman Sachs first coined the term “BRICs” in 2001, instantly catapulting Brazil into emerging regional superstar status, which was puzzling since Brazil was in the middle of a financial crisis at the time. Its $210 billion foreign debt equaled 38% of the country’s GDP, per capita GDP was just $2,800, and its real GDP growth rate was just 2.7% that year. The value of its currency had plunged by 29% from the previous year, and in 2002 — the year Lula da Silva was first elected President — the country took out a $30 billion financial assistance package from the IMF. (continue reading… )

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