Erle Frayne D. Argonza
Good day to you all! Solidarity greetings to all the Brazilians and South Americans!
Another leader of the Workers’ Party of Brazil just won the presidential polls. Lula da Silva’s former presidential aide, Lady Rousseff, is among the leaders of the socialist party in the rapidly surging emerging market, and will sit as the new chief exec soon after garnering the presidency in a closely fought presidential contest.
Already sick and tired of the globalization policies that only mired Brazil in poverty hovels, the voters decided to cast their vote for a second time around now. Not only that, Brazilians are also terribly sick of the militarism that encumbered the country closer to the ambit of the Anglo-American oligarchy and rendering it into a puppet of America amid unlimited tortures and deaths on anti-tyranny detractors.
As the latest electoral exercise had shown, an exercise that is buttressed by the economic surge of Brazil and its ballooning middle class, the route to sustained democracy and economic growth is the most longed for direction for the nation. Militarism is out and any return to worn out dictatorship is getting to be a remote possibility each day.
With the ascent to power of the socialists, the redistributive policies that ambitiously addressed poverty, hunger and unemployment were tried and tested in an erstwhile anti-populist country. A cash transfer program to the poorest of the poor achieved enormous mileage during Lula’s incumbency, a program that directly addressed the social equity problems that plagued Brazil since its independence from Portugal yet.
Globalization hit the underclasses so hard, with hyper-inflation in the 1990s driving prices up so madly that the poor laboring folks just can’t keep up with the spiraling cost of living. A similar incident also brewed so hot in neighboring Argentina, which saw the ascent of the Left there as a popular anti-globalization collective action.
Lula and the Workers’ Party rode abreast the rising tide of anti-globalization sentiments, with Lula ending up as the world’s most popular chief executive. Sweeping social policy reforms were instituted, supported by a dominant constituency. In almost no time at all, poverty and hunger were addressed and largely solved, and many Brazilian poor graduated to middle income status.
Lula thus left his office with a very memorable historic record of seeing Brazilians graduating to middle class due to his stewardship. Brazil has joined the select group of ‘emerging markets’, or those economies with large populations, a significant middle class, and growing at rapid rate.
Rousseff would most likely take Brazil to the next level, which is the institution of regulatory reforms that will bring Brazil closer to a ‘social market’ economy. A hybrid economy it will be, akin to China’s and Vietnam’s respective economies.
Whether Rousseff and aides will go for a full capital & monetary control policy regime remains to be seen though. What is clear, from a fiscal & monetary point of view, is that financial instruments will be further stretched to sustain the social equity efforts achieved by Rousseff’s predecessor.
On the political front, the new chief exec will be steward over a nation that will exert greater sovereignty and sustain the climb to regional power status. On the global political level, Brazil will be among those countries popularly called upon to constitute a new balance of power alongside the nascent Asian giants China and India.
Hopefully, through Rousseff’s auspices, a Brazil-Argentina binary power entity can stir Latin America away from flawed liberalization doctrines & policies towards stronger social policies, economy driven largely by domestic demand (strong middle class), and an independent and non-aligned Latin America that will stay closer with fellow developing countries.
Such a Latin America, to my mind, can move on to sustained high growth rates that will duplicate Asia’s growth patterns. Should Latin America join Asia in creating a broader zone of global growth drivers, the possible plunge of the global economy towards a ‘dark age’ due to the economic fiasco up North will be averted.
Let me extend my own kudos to Madame Rousseff and the voters who brought her to power. Congratulations and goodluck to your incumbency, Lady Rousseff!
[Philippines, 15 November 2010]
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