Brazil is the largest country on the continent of South America and the fifth largest continent in the world. Home to the Amazon rain forest, Brazil is full of natural resources and agricultural land. History and culture runs deep in this country, but the past is full of economic turmoil and uncertainty. In the late 1990's economic crisis were being felt around the world, and the fear of the international marketplace was that if Brazil's economy collapsed, those in many Latin American countries would be next. The following is an analysis of Brazil's past and present economic situation, as well as the bold attempt by president Fernando Henrique Cardoso to keep Brazils economy prosperous.
Settled by the Portuguese in the early 1500's, there is a distinct difference between the northern and southern regions of Brazil. The south has been primarily settled by Europeans, and has become much more industrialized than the north. The north, were the population is mostly of African decent, is more geared to agriculture, such as sugarcane farming. Most of Brazil's population lives in urban centers, with a little less that half residing in the southern states. The educational system of Brazil is lacking, well behind the standards for other industrialized countries, and while the government has provided more than adequate funding, changes in educational quality has come slowly. This is reflected in the politics of the country. Many political parties fight for power, and while few of the pubic partake in important affairs, those who hold political power are those with the most economic and social power. All of these factors have been a hindrance for Brazils economic well being.
Historically the economy in Brazil has not been strong. While there have been periods of growth, the fifteen years immediately following World War II and the 1970's showed large economic growth, Brazil has always been a country deep in debt and riddled with poverty.