Brazilians often point out proudly how blessed their land is. “Brazil has no natural disasters: no earthquakes, no tornadoes, no volcanoes, no hurricanes,” they say. Some add, chuckling lightly, “Our disasters are all man-made!”
The financial crisis engulfing the globe has arrived recently on Brazil’s shores. Brazil is no stranger to financial and political stress; indeed, over the last thirty years, the country has endured debt crises, extended hyperinflation, currency crashes, seven currency changes, economic recession, unemployment, the transition from military to civilian government, presidential resignation to avoid impeachment, banking failures, and, more recently, a period of rapid domestic and export growth that breaks with traditional experience. The consistent theme throughout these challenging years has been Brazil’s resilience: both economic and social.