Brazil: Reversal of Fortune, Alfred P. Montero
Despite recent problems of economic stagnation and social unrest, Brazil, in the last 20 years, has undergone a striking reversal of fortune. Policymaking institutions have improved, and better economic and social policies have resulted, leading to sustained low inflation, a long economic boom, and significant reductions in Brazil’s notoriously high levels of poverty and inequality. These advances in governability and policy quality confounded the pessimistic predictions that dominated analyses of Brazil during the country’s first decade of democracy (1985–1995). Yet they have also generated a degree of optimism about Brazil’s economic and political future that probably is not warranted. Precisely how—and how much—has Brazil changed for the better since the early 1990s? Can we find a reasonable middle ground between the excessive pessimism of early analyses and the excessive optimism of more recent ones? For a reader interested in these questions, there are few better places to look than Alfred P. Montero’s clear, wide-ranging, and consistently interesting new book.
Montero identifies three dimensions of possible turnaround: governability, the quality of policy, and the qualit
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