Once hampered by vulnerability to global economic crises, high inflation and shocking levels of inequality, Brazil has done much in recent years to overcome these historical weaknesses. The country now boasts an energetic consumer market, large foreign reserves, a highly productive agricultural market and investment-grade status for its sovereign debt. Unprecedented economic growth, coupled with government programs which provide targeted relief to the country’s poor, have helped alleviate Brazil’s stubborn levels of inequality. New political coalitions have successfully implemented active social policies, while innovative government spending, along with more widespread and inclusive economic gains, have fostered the rise of a new Brazilian middle class. The country’s progress is especially notable considering Brazil has long been one of the world’s most unequal societies.
On October 8, the Latin America Initiative at Brookings hosted a discussion of Brazil’s social, political and economic transformation. Panelists included Marcelo Neri, director of the Center for Social Policies at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation; Carlos Pereira, visiting fellow with the Latin America Initiative; and Daniel Kaufmann, senior fellow with Global Economy and Development at Brookings. Senior Fellow Mauricio Cárdenas, director of the Latin America Initiative, provided opening remarks and moderated discussion.
After the program, panelists took audience questions.