Sunday, October 29, 2006

Forever young

I am completely disillusioned with Brazil. Today’s election is probably the most depressing one since the return of democracy.

It is not just the fact that Lula is part of this “retrograde left” that has been controlling the country for who knows how much time. The real problem is the overall lack of alternatives.

Among all the gazillion parties that call themselves opposition, there is no discussion around real reform. Just the stupid generalities about how one party privatized this and that and how the other party is keeping the interest rates too high. No one talks specifics about how to reform the education system; or how to improve the business environment; or even if we should have more taxes, less taxes, etc.

And when I remember how big and rich in resources Brazil is, it just drives me nuts.

Especially when you look at countries like Georgia. That’s a piece of land less than 1/100th of Brazil’s, frozen for half of the year and who still got big bad Russia huffing and puffing on its heels. Still, they try hard to improve: According to the Doing Business index 2007, Georgia has moved from place 112 to 37 in just one year – unprecedented in the history of the report (via Johan Norberg).

Georgia has a GDP per capita of $3100 (less than half of Brazil’s $7600) and has an incredible 54% of its population below the poverty line. Even so, they elected a President with law degrees from Columbia and George Washington. On the other hand, Brazil politicians used its population below the poverty line (approximately 20%) to justify the election Lula, an illiterate in every sense of the word.

It’s been like that for ages. Brazil is a country made of excuses. First it was Portugal’s fault. Then it became capitalism’s fault. Ah, if we could only get rid of the hyper inflation, IMF, corruption, the US, the multi party system, NAFTA, the constitution, China, the lack of representation at the UN, etc, etc. There is always an excuse, ready to be used.

When is Brazil going to grow up?