The Political Economy of an Emerging Power: In Search of the Brazil Dream
By Lourdes Casanova and Julian Kassum
Twelve years of significant
growth in social and economic
development have made Brazil
the seventh largest economy in
the world, but now the country
seeks a second wind. A new book
by Johnson's Lourdes Casanova,
senior lecturer and academic
director of the Emerging Markets
Institute at Johnson, encapsulates
Brazil's role in the new order of
emerging economies and the steps
the country needs to propel its
economic growth forward. The
Political Economy of an Emerging Power: In Search of the Brazil Dream,
co-authored by Casanova and Julian Kassum, an independent consultant
and author of The G20: A Business Guide, analyzes Brazil's achievements
and its soft and hard power.
While Brazil's international stature has risen thanks to its ambitious and friendly foreign policies, it has reached an economic standstill. "To correct this situation and kick-start growth again, Brazil needs political consensus and social inclusion," Casanova says. "Social development programs need to be maintained and scaled up."
The book asks whether Brazil's rise on the global stage is barely beginning or has already hit a plateau, held back by numerous domestic challenges and the external constraints of the global governance system. The authors show that Brazil's hard power capability is greater than is often believed, and that this power largely rests on its energy, food, and financial reserves.
But Brazil's biggest strength lies in soft power, because Brazil is able to "seduce" other states with its culture, values, and policies. The book describes how Brazil is developing its own model of growth and development with some features of state capitalism and innovative forms of welfare. The authors examine the role the state plays in Brazilian business and industry and ask whether the "Brasília model" can be an alternative to the old "Washington consensus."
Finally, the authors assess Brazil's numerous domestic challenges and how these may prevent it from becoming an effective global power. These include economic, social, and educational challenges.
"For academicians and policy makers, the book provides a political and economic framework that can be studied and applied in Brazil and in other emerging nations," says Casanova. For students, she hopes, her book will provide insights into Brazil's economy and into emerging markets in general. "Brazil's problems are similar to those of other emerging countries," she says. "People who moved from poverty to middle class now demand better services: affordable and efficient public transportation, education, and health care. But the government has not kept up with it."
Brazil enjoys the presence of large, local companies that provide economic stability, but only a few at the top wield a lot of power. Generally, the economic model known as the Brasilia Consensus, which has worked up to this point, now needs updating. Casanova and Kassum also address Brazil's role on the global stage. A survey of Brazilian opinion leaders, experts, and practitioners revealed that the outlook for its international policies needs to be more focused. "Brazil has to establish a clear international policy, including how to balance its relations with the U.S., Europe, and the BRICS," she says. "The country now needs to be vocal as one of the leaders in South America."