Economy Education Politics

Brazil continues to think small

Brazil continues to think small

The path of greater visibility of Brazil in the international agenda is intimately connected to a green economy. All foreign eyes associate Brazil with the Amazon and its potential. This is how Lula was received with open doors in his trips abroad with all the world leaders and it is with this agenda that the country will be able to insert itself in the group of the largest economies in the world and bring resources.

But, this week, the signals given by the government were opposite. First the dismantling of the Ministries of Environment and Indigenous Peoples. Then a ridiculous dispute over Ibama's decision to deny an environmental license for oil exploration by Petrobras. Further on, a statement by the president of BNDES that Brazilian industries need subsidies (I have already manifested my total opposition to economic subsidies to private companies), and to finish, a joint statement by President Lula and his vice-president Geraldo Alkmin, in an article on May 25, in the Estadão newspaper, affirming their commitment to reindustrialization. All these facts published together in the same week have shaken the government's green economy agenda and, consequently, the easiest path for the insertion of the country in the 21st century. Add to this, the pithy agenda focused on basic and higher education.

This obsession with the industrial agenda seems out of step with the technological developments of recent decades. Modern industrialization will no longer generate jobs as it once did. Jobs no longer exist. On the contrary, industry has evolved in large strides towards Artificial Intelligence and the robotization of the production process. Therefore, the future path to job creation lies in the provision of qualified services, and for this strong investments in education will be necessary.

Encouraging public resources for an old industry aiming to export ethanol combustion engines to Africa is dreaming small. To bet on the semiconductor industry, as mentioned in the article, is to dream too big. Does Brazil want to compete with Taiwan, China and the United States? In the aforementioned article, little is said about basic education.

Are the Asian Tigers really an example?

When developmentalists cite the Asian Tigers as an example of reindustrialization, they forget to mention the political regimes, or the non-existence of labor and social rights. There was indeed heavy public investment in the modern digital industry to compete with the Western powers, but there was also heavy investment in basic education and higher education. How many engineers, analysts, data scientists, application developers and programmers are placed on the market every year by these countries?

In Brazil we will not have a solid technology industry and we will not be a digital country as long as we have little investment in basic and higher education. A 21st century industry doesn't just need money. It is driven by brains. If the promise about reindustrialization is serious, it should start with the Ministry of Education.

But this week what we saw was the foolish irritation of the Palacio do Planalto with Ibama in the oil exploration near the mouth of the Amazon. In 2023, does the fetish of "oil is ours" still survive? We also saw a lame program to sell new cars for less than R$ 60 thousand to an indebted middle class that can barely pay its bills. The green industry, with carbon credits, the scientific exploration of biodiversity and its patents, are being left aside, along with the promises of energy transition, investments in startups, and the insertion of the country in the elite of the world economy.

I know that the green industry and education agenda does not enjoy much support and prestige in a reactionary Congress thirsty for public funds. But for the government itself to renounce its "convictions," if they even exist, is another thing altogether.

This government needs to wake up, it still seems lost and improve its political articulations, its communication and prioritize its actions towards the natural economic vocation of the country, with investments in green industry and in basic and higher education. For the Brazil of the 21st century to be different from the Brazil of the 20th century, we must stop thinking small and think big.

About Author

Maurício Ferro

What do soccer, wine, law, politics, and economics have in common? Much more than you can imagine. And contrary to what the popular saying says, they can and should be debated and analyzed, yes. Welcome to Maurício Ferro's site, a channel to create and exchange thoughts and opinions. Maurício Ferro is a lawyer, graduated from PUC university in Rio de Janeiro, with a Master's degree and specializations from universities such as the London School and the University of London. He studied OPM at Harvard Business School. Author of published works in the commercial and capital markets areas, and acting in the Board of Directors of large companies, he based his legal and executive career with a focus on Business Law. But his passion goes beyond the corporate world. A passionate Flamenguista, Mauricio knows the ins and outs of the professional world of soccer and other sports. He is a partner in innovative companies such as 2Blive, a global startup focused on technological solutions to fill the education gap, especially in areas of great need such as Africa. He also invests in the Flow Kana company, based in California, and focused on the scientific production of cannabis for various purposes, such as medicinal, clothing production, or recreational use. To all these ingredients, add a deep knowledge of wine and the delicious ways of winemaking. That is the recipe for what you will find here.

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