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Starting Over

Brazil Since 1985

Albert Fishlow

Publication Year: 2011

Brazil has undergone transformative change over the twenty-five years of the Nova República. As the nation prepares to inaugurate Dilma Rousseff as its new president, Albert Fishlow traces the social, political, economic, and diplomatic history of Brazil during the last quarter century and looks forward to the future.

Politics has been profoundly altered in Brazil, as popular participation in the electoral process has widened. Economic rules are now more permanent, and economic advance more regular. A healthier and longer life is now available to a broader swath of the population; there is opportunity for social advance. Foreign policy has consequence, now internally as well as externally. Fishlow details and interprets these developments and envisions what the future holds for Latin America's largest nation.

Rousseff's two immediate predecessors —Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula) —are tough acts to follow. Their influence has been profound, and Brazil is now a very different nation than it was in the 1980s. Fishlow's insightful book clearly explains how and why these developments unfolded and what they portend for the future —it is essential reading for anyone trying to grasp what is happening down in Rio.

Contents 1. Introduction 2. Political Change 3. Searching for Economic Growth 4. An Inherited Social Debt 5. Foreign Policy in a Changing World 6. Democracy Deepens 7. Economic Advance Begins 8. Social Policy Firmly Implanted 9. Brazil as a Global Player 10. Looking Forward

Published by: Brookings Institution Press

Front Cover

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Front Flap

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Title Page

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Copyright Information

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Table of Contents

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pp. vii

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pp. ix-x

I am grateful to Mauricio Cardenas, director of the Brookings Latin American Initiative, for his many suggestions and his active engagement in moving the manuscript to publication. Everyone at the Brookings Institution Press has been helpful as the final form thanks for partially underwriting this volume. Over my recent years there in the Institute of Latin American Studies and the Center for ...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-5

Brazil has undergone transformative change since its return to civil rule in 1985. The country has started over. As electoral participation has widened, politics has altered. Effective economic policies have become permanent, and economic advance has become more widespread and consistent. With rising income a healthier and longer life is available to a much broader swath of the population, and there is increased opportunity for social...

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2. Political Change

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pp. 6-32

Constitutional change dominated the agenda following the return to civilian government. The new National Congress, elected in November 1986, served simultaneously as the Constituent Assembly with direct responsibility for promulgating the constitution. That effort required almost two years before completion and enlisted Brazilian society in all its modern diversity. Extensive ...

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3. Economic Growth Is the Priority

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pp. 33-86

Over the last twenty-five years, the Brazilian economy dramatically changed. In 1985 inflation and debt owed to the outside world were the main subjects of interest. Today, a fast-growing Brazil is a respected and active participant within the Group of Twenty. That transformation is the subject of this chapter, which The first subject, not surprisingly, is inflation. Its mounting ...

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4. Sustaining Social Progress

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pp. 87-139

The New Republic faced an inherited social debt. Prior Brazilian economic growth led to only marginal gains in education, health, and old age security. Advances occurred, but almost always, they were skewed in favor of the well situated. As a single indicator, the high degree of Brazilian inequality stands out. Earlier policy had not compensated for the sometimes harsh outcomes ...

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5. Foreign Policy in a Changing World

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pp. 140-185

Brazilian foreign policy took on increasing importance as the country returned to civil leadership. Globalization had an impact economically and, subsequently, politically. During these before had these neighbors pursued joint policies as actively. This tale of Mercosul (known as Mercosur in Spanish) incorporates the boldness of the initiative but also stresses its limits: trade among ...

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6. Evaluating the Past and Looking to the Future

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pp. 186-196

Anticipating Dilma Rousseff’s election as Brazil’s president, The Economist stated: “Success has bred an atmosphere of hubris in Brasília. With the outlook for the world economy so uncertain, that is potentially dangerous. . . . [T]here are three difficult sets of issues . . . Ms. Rousseff will have to deal with. The first is corruption. . . . The second concerns the role of the state in the economy. ...


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pp. 197-220


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pp. 221-236

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780815721444
E-ISBN-10: 0815721447

Page Count: 300
Publication Year: 2011