World Conference on Global Issues: Brazil

In the past couple of decades Brazil has faced a tremendous amount of growth. Whilst it has had its issues, it has continuously grown and has changed into a country, in which there are more people living above the poverty line than below it. However, there are still a number of problems we’d like to address at the International Forum. Regardless of Brazil's growth, the issues of yesterday continue to be the issues that Brazil faces today. Corruption, political unrest, poverty, and environmental issues hold Brazil back from reaching its full potential of being a world superpower.

CORRUPTION

In 2015, we were once known as a “country of the future”, whilst we have been moving towards this title, even in 2030 we have not yet reached it. One of the major issues we are currently facing is corruption, and political unrest as a result of it. A country is given a corruption score out of 100, and in 2010, this score was at 63. Since then, it has gone down, however, corruption is almost a de facto part of the system in every industry. The government’s actions have not been enough to combat corruption to achieve corruption levels below 20/100. In fact, within the past decades, Brazil has seen many corruption scandals both within the government, and within private companies. In fact, it seems as if the Brazilian people have an affinity for corrupt politicians. For years, embezzlement and corruption have plagued Brazilian elections, and yet the electorate continues to vote for the same convicted politicians time and time again. For instance, Brazil’s supreme court Brazil has investigated dozens of senior politicians, including a former president and leaders of congress, for alleged connections to what prosecutors call the country’s biggest ever corruption scandal involving the petroleum company Petrobras. This level of corruption has persisted. Where the majority of the money in the country has stayed in the hands of the rich people in power, whilst the rest of the country has suffered. In the past, and even now Brazil is currently dealing with mass political protests against this inequality. has led to mass protests, similar to those against the FIFA world cup and the Olympic games being held in Brazil, as they were both against money being used in a way that doesn’t benefit the country. In fact, it is said that corruption costs the Brazilian government $53 billion, this is money that could go be put into improving the infrastructure or investing in the health system. These are issues that will continue to persist unless active action is taken against them in the government. In order to solve these issues, Brazil must have changes in its political system and more transparency in what concerns all funds raised in order to promote candidates, political parties, or policies in elections. In addition to this,  there must be reforms in the judicial system to punish more individuals and , in the fiscal system and an increase in control of government spending.

POVERTY

For decades Brazil was known as one of the most unequal countries in the world. The vast slums that shape its city landscapes have become symbols of extreme poverty and systemic inequality that contradicts Brazil’s ambitions of growth and modernity. Brazil is one of the richest countries in Latin America, with its economy amongst the ten largest in the world, however, in terms of poverty, and income inequality it is one of the worst. Evidence shows that poverty in Brazil tends to be less responsive to growth compared to the rest of the world, an observation that is attributed to extremely high levels of inequality. Thus it is the difficulty of reducing inequality and not the lack of resources, that is the key obstacle to overcoming poverty in this country. Whilst the economic boom of the past couple of decades have led to a significant decrease in the country’s poverty rates, poverty and inequality are still a serious problem and one of the major challenges faced by the government. Brazil has dealt with extreme poverty in a fairly effective manner over the past couple of decades, as a result of the institution of several social welfare programs. However, these have not been a permanent fix to this problem. For instance, anytime in the past Brazil has faced any economic downturn or stagnation, these programs are amongst the first to go. This is a problem as, many many people in Brazil are dependent on these economic programs as these are their only source of income due to a lack of opportunity, and as a result they fall back into extreme poverty. In addition to this, the steps the Brazilian government has taken has only worked on extreme poverty, and not on general poverty, which is a major problem facing the government. In addition to this, the program has really only been effective in more urban areas. The Brazilian people should not be content with the still significantly high levels of poverty in their country. Furthermore, it has been proven that people of colour and indigenous communities are more prone to these situations as a result of racial inequality. The government has not done enough to solve these issues at their core. In order to combat this issue, the government should put money into the creation of jobs, and more sustainable sources of income, in order for the poorer people in the country to sustain themselves. In addition to this, the government needs to find a long-term solution for the poverty problem in Brazil.

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

In a society in which we value money over the sustainability of our species, it is no surprise that Brazil is facing a significant number of environmental issues that the government continues to ignore. As time progresses we see a continued destruction of our environment. We see the continued deforestation of the Amazon forest, a once very large forest with a beautiful ecosystem, being cut down in favour of timber.  Every minute, vast proportions of these forests, dubbed the “Lungs of the World” for the Oxygen that they produce, are being torn down for timber, development and agriculture. Due to the forest being a carbon sink, (a large storage area for carbon dioxide), each time a tree is cut down, large numbers of carbon dioxide is released in the air. This results in increased global warming. Deforestation in Amazon Basin-almost 11000 square kilometres a year- destroys the habitat and endangers a multitude of plant and animal species indigenous to the area. Due to the fertile conditions of Brazil, it has always been the home of an array of animal and plant species. However, due to hunting, the destruction of habitat and the introduction of foreign, competitive species, Brazil’s natural fauna has experienced a huge decline in numbers. There are hundreds of species under threat of extinction. Some of them include the jaguar, sea turtle, spiny rice rat, bushy-tailed opossum. Additional environmental problems include water pollution in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and several other large cities making it increasingly difficult for citizens living in poverty to access clean water sources.  In order to combat these issues, it's important for Brazil to take legislative action to protect the Amazon rainforest, and  to protect its ecosystem. Furthermore, Brazil should get involved in the effort to prevent climate change by taking action themselves but also encourage its citizens to take action.

CONCLUSION

Although Brazil has done a lot to combat the major issues it has faced as  country, it has not done enough to deal with those in an effective manner which would not prevent it from growing as a nation. Brazil needs to find positive long-term solutions for the corruption, poverty, and environmental problems faced by the country, in order to secure an increasingly positive role on the world stage.

Works Cited List

"BRAZIL." Brazil Environmental Issues. Web. 9 June 2015.

"Brazil." Overview. Web. 9 June 2015. http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/brazil/overview

"Brazilian Society: The Year Ahead." Pulsamerica Latin American News Politics and Economics. Web. 9 June 2015.

Economist, The. "Corruption In Brazil." Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 3 Jan. 2015. Web. 9 June 2015.

"Environmental Problems in Brazil." WWF -. Web. 9 June 2015.

"The Cost Of Corruption In Brazil Could Be Up To $53 Billion Just This Year Alone." Forbes. Forbes Magazine. Web. 9 June 2015.

Jelmayer, Rojerio. "Brazil Corruption Scandal Spreads Beyond Petrobras." WSJ. Web. 9 June 2015.

Comment Stream