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Will a Shortage of Qualified Labor Derail the Brazilian Economy?
Published: January 03, 2012 in Knowledge@Wharton
Brazil is booming. In contrast to the economies of the U.S. and the Eurozone — where a mix of debt woes, dysfunctional politics and consumer weakness has conspired to dampen economic growth — Brazil is on track for yet another year of above-average GDP performance. Driven by a number of factors — including Chinese demand for raw materials, a fast-growing and highly acquisitive middle class, large inflows of foreign investment and the ongoing development of its vast pre-salt oil deposits — the country is experiencing a multiyear growth spurt unlike any in its recent past.
From the Arab Spring to the occupation of Wall Street (not to mention Oakland, Tel Aviv, and Homs), 2011 has been a historic year, and Foreign Affairs expert contributors have been providing indispensable context and insight every step of the way. Below, a handful of gems from the past year.
Joseph Nye, Jr, Distinguished Service Professor and former Dean, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
PROTECTIONISM: US, CHINA and BRAZIL
Is the US the most free-trade nation on earth as it projects itself, while vilifying other countries or economic blocs like the EU? Is China the most protectionist and most guilty of protectionism? Is Brazil engaged in unfair trade practices to strengthen its own industries, or do Brazil’s protectionist measures protect both domestic and foreign multinational corporations?
Emerging from the age of mercantilism, England was the first country in the world to industrialize, hence to have no fear of competition, so it was the first to declare that it favored a free trade regime. Prussia (Germany after unification with the other Germanic states 1871), was always in favor of regional free trade zone integration, but mindful of protecting domestic producers. The US was also protectionist when it was industrializing in the 19th century, as it would have been difficult to do otherwise. Beyond the issue of state protection for domestic producers after the nation is sufficiently strong as to not fear competition, there is the issue of whether it is possible to have a pure ‘free trade’ regime.