Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Brazil as an Economic Superpower?

Brazil as an Economic Superpower?: Understanding Brazil's Changing Role in the Global Economy

Lael Brainard
Leonardo Martinez-Diaz
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 291
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Brazil as an Economic Superpower?
    Book Description:

    In Brazil, the confluence of strong global demand for the country's major products, global successes for its major corporations, and steady results from its economic policies is building confidence and even reviving dreams of grandeza -the greatness that has proven elusive in the past. Even as the current economic crisis tempers expectations of the future, the trends identified in this book suggest that Brazil will continue its path toward becoming a leading economic power in the future.

    Once seen as an economic backwater, Brazil now occupies key niches in energy, agriculture, service industries, and even high technology. Yet Latin America's largest nation still struggles with endemic inequality issues and deep-seated ambivalence toward global economic integration.

    Scholars and policy practitioners from Brazil, the United States, and Europe recently gathered to investigate the present state and likely future of the Brazilian economy. This important volume is the timely result. InBrazil as an Economic Superpower?international authorities focus on five key topics: agribusiness, energy, trade, social investment, and multinational corporations. Their analyses and expertise provide not only a unique and authoritative picture of the Brazilian economy but also a useful lens through which to view the changing global economy as a whole.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-0365-5
    Subjects: Political Science, Economics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-x)
    Strobe Talbott

    Brookings is giving new and sustained priority to Latin America and to emerging powers in the world like Brazil. In 2008 we launched our Latin America Initiative and convened the Partnership for the Americas Commission, which, under the chairmanship of Ernesto Zedillo and Thomas Pickering, made recommendations to the Obama administration. This volume is further evidence of our commitment to the region in general and to the importance of Brazil in particular.

    Brazil is once again in the international spotlight, even as the world reels in economic crisis. For the past decade, Brazil’s role in the world economy has been...

  4. CHAPTER ONE Brazil: The “B” Belongs in the BRICs
    (pp. 1-14)

    Brazil’s economy has yet again become an object of fascination and speculation for international investors, academics, pundits, and policymakers in the United States and Europe. As a country replete with natural resources, endowed with a large internal market, and home to dynamic and increasingly global corporations, Brazil has been famously anointed as a “BRIC”—thus identified along with Russia, India, and China as one of the four very large, rapidly emerging economies that are key growth engines of the global economy.¹ Yet, coming only months after the International Monetary Fund provided a large loan to stabilize Brazil’s economy in 2003,...

  5. PART ONE Brazil as an Agricultural and Energy Superpower

    • CHAPTER TWO Brazil as an International Energy Player
      (pp. 17-54)

      Brazil has been rapidly modifying its international strategy and insertion into world energy markets during the course of the last two decades. This outcome has been partly planned and state oriented and partly the result of pressures exerted by market forces and civil society at large. And it has also been a response to a multidimensional scenario that is imposing qualitative changes on the country’s foreign policy and international outlook.

      Several features have shaped these developments. In the first place, Brazil presently relies upon a relatively solid and stable macroeconomic context. In this manner, it enjoys a favorable balance of...

    • CHAPTER THREE Brazil as an Agricultural and Agroenergy Superpower
      (pp. 55-80)

      The world’s population is facing new challenges in relation to the supply and demand for agriculture-based products. The rising prices of agricultural commodities indicate that the world market is not in the desirable equilibrium of agricultural raw materials for food, feed, and fuel. The world debate is evolving from a discussion about the effects of increasing commodity prices on costs to vocal manifestations from governments and supranational agencies with respect to the risks of high food prices for the political stability of food-importing countries. Neo-Malthusian theories are being touted by alarmists who insist on singling out biofuels as the main...

    • CHAPTER FOUR Brazil: The Challenges in Becoming an Agricultural Superpower
      (pp. 81-110)

      The impressive performance of Brazil’s agribusiness (agriculture and agroindustry) during the twentieth century resulted from an ambitious national economic development strategy, conceived in the early 1930s, whose implementation took six or seven decades. This project promoting industrialization and urbanization demanded overcoming restrictions on the food supply and on foreign reserves, with a key role played by agriculture. The project also entailed territorial occupation based on infrastructure expansion, research and technology, and human capital investments (including substantial immigration), plus a set of sectoral policies that were intermittently but consistently carried out throughout several different political regimes and government administrations.

      The major...

  6. PART TWO Opening Markets:: Brazil’s Trade Policy

    • CHAPTER FIVE Brazil’s Trade Policy: Moving Away from Old Paradigms?
      (pp. 113-136)

      This chapter analyzes the political economy of trade policies in Brazil since the unilateral liberalization undertaken in the early 1990s, as well as the emergence of structural trends whose consolidation could challenge the dominant policy paradigms and shift the balance of power in the trade policy arena. After an episode of intense trade liberalization in the early 1990s, import policies in Brazil remained virtually unchanged, while activist export and investment policies were reintroduced during the second half of the decade. The level of tariff and nontariff protection that resulted from liberalization was much lower than the one prevailing in the...

    • CHAPTER SIX Brazil’s Trade Policy: Old and New Issues
      (pp. 137-156)

      After a half century of overtly inward-oriented policies, Brazil finally moved to open its trade regime in the early 1990s. Being one of the last countries to make this move in a region that notoriously lagged behind East Asia, Brazil was quick to implement a comprehensive trade liberalization program that had strong unilateral and regional components. In roughly five years, tariffs were slashed, nontariff barriers (NTBs) were removed, and Mercosur became a reality. Later on, even the possibility of a free trade zone for the hemisphere was entertained.

      Yet this initial momentum lost steam in the mid-1990s, undermined by inhospitable...

  7. PART THREE Extending Brazilian Multinationals’ Global Reach

    • CHAPTER SEVEN Big Business in Brazil: Leveraging Natural Endowments and State Support for International Expansion
      (pp. 159-186)

      By the late 2000s,The Economistwas no longer poking fun at Brazilian multinational corporations (MNCs) and was instead running fairly breathless stories on emerging MNCs from developing countries, with Brazil prominent among them.¹ In the 1990s and early 2000s, neither the business press nor academics had much to say about Brazilian business. Most attention then was devoted to more macroeconomic issues of stabilization and market reform, and, as the reform process progressed, to reforming the reforms. There was little mention, in the evolving Washington Consensus, of the fate of big business in developing countries and the impact it might...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT Technology, Public Policy, and the Emergence of Brazilian Multinationals
      (pp. 187-218)

      The explosive growth in outward foreign direct investment (FDI) from emerging market countries is a salient feature of the changing global economic landscape. These emerging markets—long accustomed to being mere recipients of FDI from Europe, North America, and Japan—now increasingly form the home bases for genuinely global enterprises. Brazil has certainly proved no exception to this trend. Across six continents, Brazilian corporations are entering takeover contests, establishing greenfield operations, breaking into new export markets, or bidding for resource extraction concessions. The names Embraer, Petrobrás, and Odebrecht are fast becoming as globally recognized in their sectors as Boeing, Shell,...

  8. PART FOUR Brazil as an Equitable Opportunity Society

    • CHAPTER NINE Income Policies, Income Distribution, and the Distribution of Opportunities in Brazil
      (pp. 221-270)

      During the last thirty years, changes in those Brazilian social indicators that are based on per capita income—such as inequality, poverty, and social welfare—have reflected the marked volatility of the nation’s macroeconomic environment. Until 1994, the source of instability was the rise and failure of successive stabilization attempts, though after this period the main source of instability was the impact of external crises. This chapter argues that to understand the mechanics of these sharp macroeconomic fluctuations, as well as their consequences for income-based social indicators, it is crucial to understand the role played by various state-sponsored income policies....

  9. Contributors
    (pp. 271-276)
  10. Index
    (pp. 277-292)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 293-294)