Overview: How Brazil is being economically perceived.

Brazil’s economic and social progress between 2003 and 2014 lifted 29 million people out of poverty and inequality dropped significantly. Restoring fiscal sustainability is the most pressing economic challenge for Brazil.

Brazil experienced a period of economic and social progress between 2003 and 2014, when more than 29 million people left poverty and inequality declined significantly. The Gini coefficient dropped 6.6% (from 58.1 to 51.5) during that time. The income level of the poorest 40% of the population increased by an average of 7.1% (in real terms) between 2003 and 2014, compared to a 4.4% increase in income for the population as a whole. Since 2015, however, the pace of poverty and inequality reduction seems to have stagnated.

In the wake of a strong recession, Brazil has been going through a phase of highly depressed economic activity. The country’s growth rate has been slowing since the beginning of the decade, from an annual growth rate of 4.5% (between 2006 and 2010) to 2.1% (between 2011 and 2014). There was a significant contraction in economic activity in 2015 and 2016, with the GDP dropping by 3.6% and 3.4% (respectively). The economic crisis was a result of falling commodity prices and the country’s limited ability to carry out necessary fiscal reforms at all levels of government, thus undermining consumer and investor confidence. 2017 saw the beginning of a slow recovery in Brazil’s economic activity, with 1% of GDP growth. For 2018, estimates are only slightly higher than for 2017 – largely because of a weak labor market, investments deferred by uncertainties about the elections and the truckers’ general strike, which brought economic activities to a halt in May of 2018.

Restoring fiscal sustainability is the most pressing economic challenge for Brazil. To address the dynamics of unsustainable debt, the government has enacted Constitutional Amendment 95/2016, which limits the rise of public spending. This amendment imposes a fiscal adjustment of 5% of GDP through 2024 and stabilizes the debt at about 89% of GDP in 2026. Implementing this fiscal adjustment requires reducing the rigidity of public spending and revenue-earmarking mechanisms, which make more than 90% of the federal government’s primary spending mandatory. A comprehensive social security reform will also be required to limit the projected increase of the pension deficit. This large-scale fiscal imbalance also affects subnational governments, whose capacity to handle increasing wage and pension payments will be limited in the absence of reforms.

Brazil also needs to accelerate productivity growth and infrastructure development. The average income of Brazilian citizens has increased only 0.7% per year since the mid-1990s, which is one tenth of the rate in China and half the OECD average. This can be explained by a lack of Total Factor Productivity (TFP) growth between 1996 and 2015. Brazil’s productivity problem can be attributed to the absence of an adequate business environment, distortions created by market fragmentation, several support programs for companies that have yet to yield any results, a market that is relatively closed to foreign trade and little domestic competition. Brazil also features one of the lowest levels of infrastructure investment (2.1% of GDP) in comparison to its peers, and the quality of these investments is low. Accelerating productivity growth remains one of the country’s top priorities, as the demographic transition comes to an end and the fiscal space for expansionary policies remains severely limited. Higher investments in infrastructure will also be required to ensure proper maintenance of existing infrastructure, by eliminating bottlenecks and expanding access to social services. This will require improving the government’s planning capacity, improving the regulatory framework and leveraging private resources to finance investments.

A comprehensive diagnosis was produced by the World Bank’s technical team in July 2018, containing a summary of Brazil’s primary challenges in economic and social development and pointing to a possible course of action to overcome them. This material is entitled Public Policy Notes and is available for consultation on the World Bank website. It covers the following topics: stabilization and fiscal adjustment, the tax system, intergovernmental fiscal issues, the pension reform, the State reform, productivity, credit markets, infrastructure, education, logistics & transportation, the labor market, ways to address the violence epidemic, climate change (NDC) and water resources management.

And we have a champion!

We are Brazilians  passionate about football and of course we would very much like to see our beloved Brazil win a 6th title.

But our congratulations to France, the world champion, who earned the title!

And our sincere congratulations to Croatia too, which no one imagined would reach the final of the World Cup…. and there it was, fighting bravely.

Onward, Croatian Warriors! You also have a lot to be proud of!

⚽ Fifa World Cup: Brazil laments quarter-final loss to Belgium as supporters return to the reality of turmoil

Quite interesting article published in South China Morning Post:

https://www.scmp.com/sport/soccer/article/2154215/fifa-world-cup-brazil-laments-quarter-final-loss-belgium-supporters

Marcelo, like much of the Brazil squad, failed to reach his true level in Russia

The stinging 2-1 defeat came just as the Seleção, as the team is known, had begun to gather steam, and Brazilians dared to hope that a victory could wash away years of recession, political uncertainty – and a humiliating defeat to Germany four years ago.

“The World Cup allowed us a moment to forget our problems,” said Cristiano Conceição, who works in a furniture store and watched the game with thousands of others in a traditional gathering place for football fans, a several-block stretch of Rio de Janeiro known as the Alzirao. “Break’s over now,” he said.

Soccer is more than just a game in Brazil, where it is central to national identity. But the World Cup in Russia has been an especially welcome distraction. Brazil is just emerging from a deep, prolonged recession. It has lost confidence in its leaders as a corruption investigation revealed endemic graft among its political and corporate elite that shocked even the most cynical. Crime is rising in many cities, many Brazilians feel the last president was improperly removed from office, and the population is heading into national elections more divided than it has been in recent memory.

The Brazilian team got off to a slow start this year, and its star turn Neymar particularly came in for criticism for not meeting expectations. But as strong teams were unexpectedly eliminated – among them Germany, Spain and Argentina – confidence began to rise in Brazil that the Selecao might actually be able to win the title and purge the memories of their 7-1 semi-final loss to Germany at the last World Cup. There was a feeling that finally the tide was turning – not just on the field, but also in the country’s overall fortunes.

In the hours before Friday’s game, local media reported that Sao Paulo’s roads experienced record-breaking congestion as Brazilians left work early and rushed to get into position to watch. Bars and squares steadily filled up and people from airports to offices looked for the nearest TV to huddle around.

In Rio’s Maua Square, groups started arriving three hours before kick-off. They wore super hero outfits and draped themselves in Brazil’s flag. The atmosphere was festive and light, with the weekend and a hoped-for win on the horizon. When Belgium scored twice in the first half, the atmosphere grew tense. By half-time, with Brazil down 2-0, the crowd was on edge, though some still cried out, “I believe!”

The mood lifted when Brazil scored deep in the second half. The crowd erupted in jumping and cheers; they sprayed beer and honked air horns.

When the final whistle blew, many hugged and cried.

Neymar could not save Brazil from a World Cup quarter-final exit

A reporter on the Globo network teared up as she described watching the game with family members of the players. She talked about how they never lost hope and even prayed at half-time. When she threw it back to the anchor, he then faltered.

But, in Maua Square, many were determined to keep the party going, dancing and joking as a way to relieve the pain of defeat.

On social media, that trademark gallows humour was evident. One image lamented Brazil’s inability to get over the loss to Germany four years ago. Over a picture of the German flag was written: “The enemy didn’t go away.” Below was a picture of the Belgian flag – which, like the German one, has a black, yellow and red stripe – and the words: “It disguised itself.”

“We always knew that the World Cup would not solve our problems,” said Isabela Santos, a law student who watched the game in the Alzirao. “But how sweet it would have been to win it!”

Interesting Facts about ⚽ soccer and Brazil

How much are they worth of? Check here the Leading players of the national football team of Brazil at FIFA World Cup as of June 2018, by market value (in million euros).

The statistic displays the leading players of the national football team of Brazil at FIFA World Cup as of June 2018, by market value. The most valuable player was Neymar, with a market value of 180 million euros.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/871055/leading-brazil-national-football-team-players-at-fifa-world-cup-by-market-value/
Leading Brazilian national team players at FIFA World Cup 2018, by market value.

True funny history from the research field: the day when a respondent claimed to be interviewed while possessed by an entity

By Dolores Garcia

Very few people know the awkward funny situations that happen to our researchers and interviewers when we’re conducting a study in Brazil. If those cases were put together someday, probably a book could be published. The book subject would include not only research or marketing information, but also funny facts able to produce a whole movie screenplay based in true histories.

This one happened some years ago. The interviewer asked us not to reveal her actual age. It’s ok, we understand that she is trying to look younger. Lying is not permitted ere, but we’ll allow her to cover her age for self-esteem reasons.

It happened during a study we were conducting for a large company which produced and commercialized butter. A brand new butter was created, and they wanted to assess the general responsiveness to the product. Actually it was a product placement or IHUT – in home usage test. T

he brand was not printed on the pot, and respondents should use it for a week and, then, tell our interviewers their opinion about the butter. Respondents answered the screening questions and, after qualifying for the sample, they received a butter pot to be used for a week. After this week, our interviewer would come back to apply a second questionnaire and get results to be put on the database sent to the client.

Butter for the IHUT
Butter for the IHUT

One of the respondents was absolutely unique in terms of behavior. Actually, she seemed to behave as if she had two absolutely different personalities…something like “The Three Faces of Eve“.  Maybe, two different souls. But we’ll clarify that later on.

The initial interview was done with her. Things went smoothly, she qualified within the screener questions, and received the butter pot. In the second interview one week later, however, something must have happened.

Our interviewer came back as promised, but the first reaction from the respondent was asking:

What? Who the hell are you? Which butter pot are you referring to? Are you sure I received it? What interview? How come“?

Patiently and meekly our interviewer explained: “Calm down, madam. Don´t you remember me? I’ve been here last week, you received me in your house, you answered some questions and I gave you a butter pot for testing“. The respondent kept denying.

At this point, our interviewer was intrigued, wondering whether the respondent had any psychological problem. How knows? Maybe she had Alzheimer, pathological memory slips…whatever.

Our interviewer recalled that the madam looked just a bit tired during the first interview, as if recovering from a hangover, but nothing to be concerned about. By then, she answered all questions perfectly, and entirely qualified for sampling.

Our interviewer politely continued: “It´s ok. I´ll help you remember. Your name is so and so, your ID number is so and so, we were together for about 30 minutes, we talked and you even let me enter your house. Do you remember now“?

Out of the blue, the respondent showed some hope of remembering: “Oooooooow. Is it a white little pot, no brand, with some codes on the cover“?

Yes, yes, yes! That´s it! And according to my control, your code is B“!

Yes, it has a big ‘B’ letter” – respondent promptly recalled.

Our interviewer went in a bit afraid, sit on the living room, and the respondent kept explaining:

Wow! I remember now! I was wondering how come that butter pot had got into my refrigerator.  I even thought my husband had bought it and put there. Oh my goodness…nowadays I can’t tell anymore when it’s me speaking through my mouth or my guiding spirit, “Pomba-Gira”. You know that I’m involved with Candomblé and witchcraft? It makes my life so exciting nowadays! The only problem is when Pomba-Gira takes hold of me and I lose consciousness. She is so unpredictable! By the way, do you know Pomba-Gira“?

Shocked and perplexed as she was, our interviewer response was “NO, I DON´T KNOW POMBA-GIRA. WERE WE INTRODUCED IN THE FIRST INTERVIEW. THIS POMBA-GIRA that sometimes grabs a hold on you…does she use butter“?

Quick facts now, just for information. Candomblé is a kind of cult or religion based on ancient African spiritual traditions, with some elements derived from Christianity, practiced chiefly in Brazil. Candomblémay be called Macumbain some regions, and it involves witchcraft, spirit possession, “incorporation” of deities and entities along with some ritual sacrifices.

Now Pomba-Gira, which roughly translated means “twisting-pigeon”. Pomba-Gira is an entity herself, personified and allegedly able to possess people. It represents female beauty, lustful sexuality and desire. Pomba-Gira is also viewed as a beautiful woman who is insatiable.

Pomba-Gira Statuette
Pomba-Gira Statuette

Yes, our respondent was a Candomblé follower and claimed to be possessed by Pomba-Gira during the first interview. Of course it led us to believe that Pomba-Gira herself was interested in the research and was more than eager to test the brand new butter. The respondent affirmed she was not able to remember anything, once that the entity was in control.

Deceitful and tricky! That’s my guiding spirit, Pomba-Gira! She’s so funny”! – said the respondent, laughing out loud.

Of course this respondent was eliminated from the study, cut from the sample, and replaced with a more reliable participant.  We believe that methodologies must be innovative, but certainly we are not interviewing spiritual entities yet. Maybe in the near future, when some client ask us to conduct a research about possible consuming habits and usages that only deities have. On the meanwhile, let’s play it safe interviewing humans

Many lessons were learnt from this experience. First, always make sure that it´s the respondent herself answering questions. Second, when market research in Brazil is at stake, think about reaching absolutely new consumers, from human or spiritual realms. Third, it’s better interviewing respondents from the human realm. As long as results are accurate, we’ll be more than happy. Forth, never undermine cultural behavior. A spirit may be interested in participating….