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The BRICs are coming: Will Brazil ever arrive?

February 2011

Brazil's economy is thriving, yet real development can be more complex than economic growth

The BRICs are coming: Will Brazil ever arrive?

There is more to Brazil than the Amazon Rainforest and favelas. Brazil is a country on the verge of change. In the past it has failed to live up to the hype of becoming a new superpower and it is not yet able to compete on the world stage. Yet the situation is changing. The Brazilian joke: ‘Brazil is a country of the future; and always will be…’ is perhaps wearing thin.

In this article we firstly take a look at the thriving economy and reasons for the recent growth. However real development is more complex than economic growth.

This article highlights the development challenges for Brazil and encourages thinking about what the future holds for Brazil and asks whether it really will become a superpower.

The themes in this article relate to:

  • Development and inequalities
  • Energy security and environmental impacts
  • Superpowers geographies- theory of emergence, implications of rise

Characteristics of emerging superpowers

  • Strong economic growth
  • Large population
  • Access to key resources, especially fossil fuels
  • Market economies
  • Regional power and influence.

(Source: Dunn et al, 2009)

Brazil has all the characteristics of an emerging superpower yet it is China and India that dominate discussions of superpower geography.

Relevance

AQA: A2 Contemporary Global Issues: Unit 5 Development and Globalisation

OCR: AS Managing Change in Human Environments; What is the relationship between energy use and economic development?;What are the social, economic and environmental issues associated with the increasing demand for energy?

A2 Global Issues Section B: Economic Issues; Option B3 Development and Inequalities

Edexcel: A2 Unit 3 Contested planet - Energy Security; Superpower Geographies; Bridging the development gap

WJEC: A2 Contemporary Themes and Research in Geography - Theme 4 Development, Theme 5 Globalisation

IB: Note for IB teachers This article could be used to support schemes of work for the teaching of ‘Population, resources and development’ and ‘contemporary issues in geographical regions’

In the Members' Area:

  • Brazil is booming: the rise of economic growth
  • Will the party be crashed in Brazil?

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