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DANGER! Numbers indicate the existence of a bubble in the Bric!
Dr. Édison Freitas de Siqueira
Through a survey of the numbers published by Brazilian government institutions and NGOs, it appears that in 2010, 51.7 million Brazilians are still living in favelas (Brazilian shantingtowns) that lack of sewage, treated water supply and access to cars, through drivable streets, public transportation services, health and public safety.

The Brazilian Government, through the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Social Action, points out that 12.8 million Brazilians received the Family Allowance (one of the Brazilian Federal Government’s program to guarantee poor family’s minimum income) in the amount ranging from R$ 15 (US$ 8.39) to R$ 95 (US$ 50.34) per month. Therefore, this value, which corresponds to one third of the minimum wage, is the largest source of income of this huge population. The information is worrisome, because the number of micro enterprises registered in Brazil is less than 11 million (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics - IBGE). That is, people with low income micro-entrepreneurs and add nearly 25 million Brazilians (almost 13% population), having income close to US$ 200 monthly.

This has happened because in the last 30 years, in Brazil, economic growth rates ranged from 2.5% to 4.3% per year, an average of 3%, which represents 50% of the average world economic growth recorded in the same period. Argentina, in the last 10 years, grew by about 7% per annum; Russia over it, China has grown more than 10% pa, and the United States, with the largest GDP in the world, up 3% pa.

The U.S. economy is far greater when compared to the rest of the world: only the State of California, one of the 51 U.S. states, has got a GDP of 1.8 trillion dollars, surpassing all that is produced in Brazil during one year. Military spending and U.S. defense, every four days, discussed outweigh the R$ 10 billion (US$ 5.594 billion) that Brazil is planning to spend so as to renew its air force’s fighter squadron. Even after doing the expected purchase of 36 military aircraft, if they were to gather all the Brazilian Air Force fighters, they would fit into a single large U.S. aircraft carrier fleet.

Meanwhile, the Brazilian retail sector informs that after the fall of the IPI reduction, sales of appliances, furniture and vehicles fell sharply. Still, very strange, major world leaders have tolerated and contributed to the statement that Brazil is an example for the world economy. Also, these leaders have criticized analysts who compare the levels of growth in Brazil with China, or even the U.S..

The World Bank estimates that the growth rate of China's GDP, even after the global crisis, will be 9.5% in 2010, while in Brazil the most euphoric projections indicate that our growth rate will be 50% of this, somewhere around 5%, a percentage that is nonetheless surprising, since in the last 20 years, Brazil was one of the countries that least grew in the world.

These numbers should alert officials, politicians and businessmen who are connected to the stock market and investments in Brazil. After all, there may be, by international players, handling and maintenance of a bubble in the Brazilian market. You must sell yourself a sense of stability while still being accommodated issues concerning the world crisis (1) fiscal deficits of the countries in the Euro Zone, (2) the overvaluation of the yen and (3) the chain effect problems coming from the derivatives market and equity funds from the U.S. housing sector.

The heralded success of the Brazilian economy is not confirmed by what one sees when driving on Brazilian roads, arriving in Brazilian hourbours or trying to keep grain produce in Brazilian warehouses whose capacity to store agricultural production is not enough. Brazilians have not done the structural investments that would enhance the generation and distribution of electric power so as to improve a growth rate is less than 5% per year for two or three years running.

So the question that the numbers rise is: "How to assume economic growth without a corresponding and commensurate increase in the offer of jobs? Bringing the Brazilian workers closer to those consumers in the Euro Zone, or the Canadians, not to mention the Americans?

The fact that low-income Brazilians have been buying refrigerators, TV sets or a new stove, usually imported from China, in 36 installments does not mean Brazil has become a country with strong economy, with consistent interest rates like those observed in the United States or European Union countries. When these countries need to encourage economic growth and reduction of deficit, they practice low interest rates, eventhough they have sewage pipes, as well as health maintenance and safety on their streets and roads that are, above all, drivable. That has never happened in Brazil.
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