BRAZIL: AN AGENDA FOR THE DECADE
In this second decade of the millennium, Brazil is taking off from a new level. In a most impressive way it withstood the worst economic crisis since 1929 and is pointing toward a course essentially based on common sense and a balanced outlook of economic interests, social needs and environmental requirements. The traditional economic standpoint tied to the simplifications of the Washington Consensus, aged suddenly and is no longer capable of meeting the challenges of a modern and complex society that must look for new expressions of economic, social and environmental policies.
We believe today that the presence of a strong public sector is not a hindrance but an essential support. Regulation of finance does not imply bureaucratization, it is a safeguard needed against irresponsibility. To warrant workers better wages and rights is not demagogy, it is a more simple and straightforward way of generating demand and stimulating the economy. To support the bottom of the pyramid is not charity, it is justice, as well as common sense since it also stimulates the economy at the base. To invest in the poorer regions is not a sacrifice, it generates new opportunities for future investments through external economies. Expanding social social policies is not a giving up a greater slice of the economic pie to less productive sectors, it is an investment in people, and this enhances economic development as Amarty Sen has already analyzed. To support social movements is not to distribute benefits, but to provide working instruments for organizations that have a much deeper knowledge of their economic, social and cultural environment, and are flexible and efficient in their specific domains. To determine environmental policies does not “retard” progress, since energy alternatives and family farming generate more jobs than to drill for oil and to deforest in quest of short term profits. To maintain a solid tax basis is not “to take away from the people” it means to assure indispensable counterweights for the country’s balanced development. Brazil is working on solid ground.