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Abstract

Brazil is one of the countries that show stable and rapid growth in their promising development. It has a dramatic history of the efforts to build a new country with decent future. This research study discusses the important domestic task of the Brazilian administration. It highlights the position of the country in the 20th century. It embraces all the movements and political events that took place within the country in the years of economical and social decrease. It also tells about great achievements that were made by the country at the beginning of the 21st century. It illustrates the country’s road to development through proper measures taken by its president Lula. The paper discusses the attempt of modernization policy, which also contributed to increase of Brazil’s international prestige.

Brazil

Introduction

Position of Latin America

It may be the true that Latin America is experiencing one of the most fascinating phases in its history. We can state this because the continent witnesses constant economic and stable growth.. Latin America stepped onto the path of modern economic growth in the second half of the 20th century. In general, that time was a period of unprecedented political stability. South American countries have been able to found their own requirements that meet a specific model of the development. The result of this process was as follows: the countries of Latin America have strengthened their independence; conducted the reforms in agriculture; established the right direction of the export industry, and displaced the imported goods; created new modern social and economic infrastructures; improved the macroeconomic regulations; managed to mobilize their own resources. Moreover, they applied the practice of the countries with high developed economy to local experiences. It was achieved by the wide use of the capital and technologies offered by developed countries. Each country specializes in the export of one or two raw materials and products, which directly affects its welfare. Ecuador exports oil and bananas, Bolivia - tin and natural gas, Colombia – coffee and oil, Peru - ferrous metals, Venezuela - oil, Chile – copper and fruit, Argentina - meat, wool, and wheat, Brazil - iron ore, coffee, cocoa, and soy (Buvinic & Mazza, 2004).

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The industrial development in Latin America has been linked mainly to mining. Also, the production of environmentally unsound and labor-intensive minerals and raw materials has been moved from the developed countries to Latin America. For example, there are major copper smelters in Chile, factories that enrich tin ore and smelters that produce tin in Bolivia, as well as oil refineries in Venezuela. In countries all over Latin America, the leading sector of the economy is combined with a backward agriculture. Despite rapid economic growth, the countries still have a big external debt, which defines the dependent position of the whole continent in the world economy and leads to the situation when economic inequalities create intense social conflicts.

Brazil in the 20th Century

Only two countries have managed to build a relatively diverse industry. Brazil is one of them. It managed to develop the automobile and even the aviation industry. Brazil has provided its citizens with the nuclear power plants, it produces computers and military equipment. Brazil is a great example of the country of Latin America that has taken all necessary measures for raising the country from the poverty to leadership in South America and globally.

Brazil as a Country with a Huge Stock of Raw Materials

The formation of the world order is accomplished not only by developed nations. Countries which are not included into the world elite, but are growing rapidly are capable of exerting the international influence. Brazil is the South American leader that has applied for a new role in the global economy and politics. Its economic dynamics and international hyperactive evidence this. Brazil is a strong leadership in Latin America. Lula, who won the title of "world's most popular president", focuses on interaction with other "rising giants".

However, the socio-economic position of Brazil was not always as we know it today. It came through different reforms and struggles. Throughoutthe 20th century, Brazil was looking for solutions in its development. The country with a huge stock of raw materials and a great potential found proper solutions only at the turn of the 20th and 21th centuries.

Brazil in the First Half of the 20th Century

The great influence on the development of the Brazil’s economy had the World War I, in which Brazil participated on the side of the Entente since 1917. The growth of the industry in the country was encouraged by the lack of industrial goods and difficulty of obtaining them from abroad. After the World War I, middle and lower urban strata became more involved in the political life of the country. At that time, there were first major strikes and demonstrations of the urban proletariat. Those years were characterized by activity of the widespread political movement organized by the middle and junior officers. They campaigned against the economic and political authority of the traditional oligarchy. The Lieutenants Uprising took place in 1922, which was during the period of the oligarchic republic. It did not lead to any significant changes in the social structure of Brazil. Yet, it was a warning. Eventually, the ruling oligarchy could not withstand the severe crisis of global capitalism in 1929. As a matter of fact, the sharp decline in the economic activity was brought by the economic crisis of 1929-1933.

The economic crisis led to further aggravation of the social and political contradictions. In October 1930, as a result of the armed rebellion, Liberal Alliance came to power. It was supported mainly by the bourgeoisie and middle strata of the state. Getulio Vargas Dornellas became the President and kept the position of the Alliance until 1945.

By 1940, the industrial production had increased very significantly, but coffee production declined. Yet, in order to save the interests of the old oligarchy, the government invested heavily in the production of coffee, which continued to be the main export product of Brazil. During the World War II, the Brazilian industry obtained the further growth and development. The population of the country greatly increased. The proportion of people living on wages increased as well. After the World War II, the regime of personal dictatorship of Vargas was destroyed by the raise of the democratic movement. Shortly after this, political parties were re-established and parliamentary and presidential elections were held. In 1946, a new constitution of the liberal-democratic character was adopted.

Social Movements and Political Events after the World War II

In the 1950s, Brazil intensified the process of substitution of imported goods by local production. The import was difficult because of the lack of currency. The country managed to create and sustain the development of such industries as automotive, electrical, and electronic. The huge step was done in the manufacture of energy, civil construction, and road construction .A new capital of the country, Brasilia, was built. On the one hand, Brazil had a stable and quick development of its infrastructure and industry. On the other hand, the development of the economy to a large extent was due to foreign investment, and was accompanied by a huge rise in the external debt. In turn, the domestic investment was low, which generated inflation. All these events and inadequate actions by the government have contributed to the aggravation of class contradictions of the Brazilian society and constant growth of social tension. In the country, mass political movements were organized, where the most active position was taken by trade union. Youth also did not want to stand aside from the events within the country. Student leagues and other organizations were seeking to exert greater influence on political decisions. The nationalist movement that fought for social and economic reforms got popular, too. The country was filled with the internal political struggles. As a result, the country faced the change of the authority under the military force. A new political regime, led by the military person, came to power.

Brazil in the Second Half of the 20th Century

Since the middle of the 70s, the process of liberalization in politics was gradually gaining strength. During that process, the country saw the recovery of political rights. political refugees were allowed to come back. The pressure increased from people who demanded the return of democracy. As a result, governors were elected by direct vote in 1982. It was a beginning of the policy based on democratic values. Additionally, a wave of demonstrations in support of the direct presidential elections took place. “Brazil has experienced significant changes in the twentieth century (involving industrialization, urbanization, the integration of previously isolated regions, and patterns of demographic change dominated by the population movements), but also confronts historical continuity in the form of trenchant social inequalities” (Davila, Sachs, Wilheim, & Pinheiro, 2009). The organized civil society of the middle class and students played a critical role in the process of the significant changes in the Brazil. They made the contribution to the living spirit of the country’s life. The population began to hope that politics and power can be ethical. They expected great changes.

Brazil at the End of the 20th and at the Beginning of 21st Centuries

Brazil Has a Special Place on the International Scene

Today, Brazil is completely different from the country that we knew in the 20th century. Brazil is one of the countries that have a special place on the international scene. Brazil’s natural and human resources, its level of economic development , as well as its science and technology equal those found in the leading countries of the new world system that has developed in the 21st century. Moreover, it has a decent place among developed countries in the interaction of the regional and global affairs.

However, the purposeful tendency of Brazil in the world trade, and in economic and political space has been a relatively recent phenomenon, attributed to deep inner transformation and changes that have occurred in the last two decades. It is the economic and political changes that ensured the rise and modernization of the country. The latter has become possible due to application of many measures. Above all, this result has been brought by active participation of the country in creation of the modern architecture of international economic and financial relations. Brazil, a country with a great potential, has woken up. The country did it in the geo-economic and geopolitical sense. A lot of facts evidence the success of the development of the country. It holds the firm position on the key issues of world politics. It has strong relationship with other countries of Latin America and participation in the Great Twenty. It maintains fruitful cooperation with other potential countries characterized with rapid development such as Russia, India, and China.

Achievements of Brazil in the Last Century

Brazil had a lot of achievements during the last century. They were mixed with the positive and negative consequences for the country. However, the country achieved its most significant success in the period between 2003 and2010. It was during the period of presidency of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. He established clear goals for the development of his country. The president said that by 2020 Brazil would be, as a minimum, the fifth economy in the world (Brainard & Martinez-Diaz, 2009). This defines the vector and sets guidelines for the further ascent of the Brazilian State.

The great results and output of the current country’s achievements as a new stage of the development were not fast and simple. The time period over 500 years of  this country’s existence was full of social upheavals and economic failures. By the end of the 20th century, the outcomes of those events had led to the formation of a difficult situation in which the country faced profound economic imbalances, mass poverty, total corruption, and extreme social inequality. All of those were accompanied by political instability. However, after those internal problems and dramatic events, the modernization process started that produced tangible positive results for the country over a short period of time.

Brazil’s Way to the Economic Growth

The recent success in economics of the country is the result of the transition to a model with the open economy and structural reforms since the early 1990s. It is also necessary to note that the country made significant transformation in the direction towards modernizing its entire economic mechanism. As a result of the macroeconomic strategic decisions, the national economy has not only got rid from the uncontrolled inflation, but also acquired a new dimension and quality.

It is important to select the main structural changes that have taken place in the last two decades and have shaped the modern look of the Brazilian economy. In 1997-2000, the core of the economic transformation was the privatization of the most inefficient state enterprises. Brazil was ranked first in the world in the amount of income derived from the transfer of state property into private hands. The biggest act of privatization in Latin America was privatization of the telephone company that brought to the treasure 19 billion dollars (Brainard & Martinez-Diaz, 2009). It was the third large privatization in the world.

Development of Different Branches of Industry

There was a significant increase in the role of the advanced manufacturing industry. It was a result of the efficient government policy. The government rightfully identified and supported the strategic direction of development in the sphere of production of capital goods, pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, and software. Special attention was paid to the improvement of technological culture production. By the end of the first decade of this century, the local production provided 90% of the demand for industrial products, including more than 80% for machinery and equipment. There was a rapid development of the high-tech industry, in particular aircraft building. The Embraer is the third largest aircraft manufacturer. It is smaller only to such great corporations as Boeing and Airbus. The significant position was occupied by the mining industry. The country is the world's first producer of iron ore. It has large reserves of manganese and tantalum. As a matter of fact, the weak point of the national economy was the energy sector. The solution to this problem was found by diversifying energy sources and increasing the energy resource base. The development of the new oil fields is going to play a key role in the further development of the country. Brazil became the record for deep-water drilling and makes the production at a depth of up to 3 thousand meters. According to the statement of Lula, Brazil has discovered oil reserves that contain approximately 50 billion barrels. Through such development of the country, it may become one of the world leaders in the future, as well as the largest producer and exporter of hydrocarbons. One of the main advantages of Brazilian economy is a highly developed and diversified agricultural sector. Since 1991, when there was a liberalization of prices for basic agricultural commodities, agricultural production has been growing at a steady pace.

Global Trade and Social Development

Measures of the Government to Support and Promote Agriculture

It should be noted that the government has taken serious measures to support and promote agriculture. It devised a program of agricultural credit on favorable terms. Specific progress has been made in the cultivation of soybeans. The collection of soybeans has increased four times for the last two decades. This result is second only to that in the USA. Other impressive results were achieved in production of poultry, beef, citrus and other products. Now, the country covers their food need through the domestic production at 92% (Buvinic & Mazza, 2004). This percentage trend is going to grow up. Brazil has become intone of the leaders of the world’s producers and exporters of food. The country has become one of the guarantors of global food security.  

Involvement of the Country in the International Trade

The important feature of the restructuring of the Brazilian economy is a significantly increased value of foreign trade in national development strategies. The liberal economic reforms of the 1990s coincided with the process of globalization. The country became involved in the international trade and economic exchanges, and was forced to adapt to the strict requirements of the global market. This meant that an intelligent and efficient export promotion policy was needed for the compensation of the inevitable growth of import purchases. The President of the country announced that the growth of the foreign trade was a strategic priority in its macroeconomic policies. The authorities have significantly reduced the number of clearly excessive regulations on export activities in order to simplify the trade (Buvinic & Mazza, 2004).

Attention of the Authorities to the Urgent Social Problems

The characteristic feature of the President Lula’s activity is the attention of authorities to the urgent social problems. Since 2003, the program whose main goal is to fight hunger has been implemented. The realization of this program is very important for the country. The authorities of the country remember that at the beginning of this century about a third of Brazilian population had lack of food. Half of rural residents had incomes less than one dollar per day. The situation was particularly unreasonable due to the success of the Brazilian agriculture and increase of the food exports. The presence of large hunger, poverty and misery in the country divided the nation into two opposing parts.

The aforementioned economic chasm generated blatant social inequality, excluded the tens of millions of Brazilians out of the market economy, and caused mass crime. This is why the fight against hunger was written into the general policy of the national security and was seen as a necessary tool to promote the country on the path of economic and social progress. This program does not mean the usual distribution of food. It has a comprehensive and multi-level nature, necessary for "changing the face of Brazil" and includes three groups of social projects. There were developed programs that were aimed to directly support the most vulnerable families. They included the organization of alternative channels of selling products to needy citizens, providing a minimum rent, free school meals, and the establishment of consumer cooperatives. Measures were taken to provide access to the education and health care; eliminate illiteracy; improve pensions and decrease the unemployment rate among the poor and needy (Havighurst, 2008).

Conclusion

The growing economic power of Brazil has allowed it to speak at regional and global levels in a stronger position and clearly claim to a significant role in global affairs. Now, there are many reasons to talk about the new geo-economic and geo-political parameters of the international positioning of the Brazilian State. One of the key political challenges of the country is the consolidation of South American Nations. The prime goal is to deepen the bilateral relations with neighboring countries and strengthen the development of effective regional institutions that can enhance the centripetal tendencies. It is necessary for the government of the country to give a new impetus to the integration process and to increase the influence of Latin America on the world stage.

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