This article is part of Brazil Talk’s 2018 Elections Series and is intended to give our readers a deeper understanding of the Brazilian political system, its complex electoral process and gather diverse perspectives and opinions on what the world should expect from Brazil in the upcoming months and the future of the country at the beginning of 2019.
by Pedro Sarvat
[6 min read]
This year, when I finished teaching my last class of the semester in Campo Grande, a city in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, midwest region of Brazil, I left the school noticing a certain anxiety from students and fellow teachers, not knowing whom to vote for in the next presidential and regional elections this coming October. Despite all the recent corruption scandals involving politicians (e.g., Operation Car Wash) and general discouragement, exercising our right and duty to vote is still one of the tools that allow us to affect change. In this article, I wish to present some of the challenges faced in the public school system and possible solutions on how to overcome them, all of which will demand political action. Continue reading “Part 4 – 2018 Election Series: Political Participation and the Future of Education in Latin America’s Largest Economy”
By Tatiana Acar
[7 min read]
Assessing how credibility affects both the economy and individuals in a tangible way is a complex issue in the economic debate. We can conceive the delicate concept of confidence through the image of a horse being trained to jump obstacles. In order to gain his trust, the athlete needs to show commitment and respect. With sufficient warning, the horse tends to follow his commands, and both will have a durable relationship. However, unexpectedly forcing it to jump will make the horse suspicious. If surprised, he can harm the athlete and destroy all the environment around him. Worse, once the trust is betrayed, it is hard to recover it. Brazil’s current crisis scenario could be linked to this metaphor since the fiscal misconduct seen in the last years has undermined the population’s confidence and generated great disarray among consumers, businesses, and investors. Output growth has fallen more than 7% in two years, causing unemployment more than doubling. Recovering the lost development will consume a large part of Brazil’s next presidential term, which has been predicted by some analysts already. But why has the country reached this stage? What is the relationship between credibility and the level of employment and income?
Credibility is built when people notice, over time, that the government has not only committed to the policy it communicated, but it has also managed to achieve its goals. When a government spends continuously and increasingly, uncertainty about the country’s fiscal solvency tends to be higher. Thus, the effect of fiscal stimulus on the economy and individuals might become counterproductive by pushing up long-term interest rates, inflationary expectations and undermining longer-term growth prospects. This puts the government into a dangerous vicious circle, as the fall in the output causes a drop on tax revenues, further increasing the fiscal imbalance.
Continue reading “The Brazilian Fiscal Crisis: The Lost Credibility”
by Gustavo Macedo
[8 minute read]
On March 14th, less than a month into a federal military intervention that is supposed to fix the security crisis in the state of Rio de Janeiro, the brutal assassination of a Rio de Janeiro’s Councilwoman, Marielle Franco, has dragged new actors into an already intricate political situation – and this time they are international. The United Nations (UN), which had already been expressing concerns about the unfolding political situation, may now dive into the story head first.
The case of Marielle meets all the criteria for setting the UN machinery in motion. Politically, the great commotion that the story of Marielle’s murder generated nationally in Brazil earned it international political attention, including that of the UN, an organization that strategically chooses to focus its work on emblematic cases that can serve as examples of the fight for human rights around the world. Technically, the history of other recent similar cases killings in Brazil, the profile of the victim, the circumstances of the crime, its modus operandi and the allegations of people close to the victim should, in theory, be sufficient in order for the case to be picked up by the UN.
Continue reading “The killing of Marielle Franco on the UN radar”
by Laura Ribeiro, MPA Candidate 2018
The news of Google’s downturn this past trimester shocked the world and raised serious questions about effective management and product delivery. Indicators on employee performance and financial returns tanked in an unprecedented way. When interviewed, the CEO argued that he wasn’t to blame for the bad outcomes, and that the government or the community should be held accountable for not supporting the enterprise.
Of course, the previous paragraph is a lie (don’t worry, Google is very much alive and well), but why don’t we see the same standards of efficiency and employee performance being set for our public education system? Why are our “school CEOs” so exempt of responsibilities? Continue reading “What We Can Learn from Google”