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788) Mr. Gordon e o Brazil (2001)

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Washington, 3 mai. 2001, 5 p. Resenha do livro de Lincoln Gordon: Brazil’s Second Chance: En Route toward the First World (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2001). Publicado na Revista Eletrônica de História do Brasil, Dep. de História e
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   1 Free translation of article on BRAZIL’S SECOND CHANCE    by Minister Paulo Roberto de Almeida at the Brazilian Embassy in Washington for publication in the  Revista  Brasileira de Politica Internacional (Brazilian Review of International Policy) , No. 1 — 2001 (July 2001) MR. GORDON AND BRAZIL Paulo Roberto de Almeida (http://pralmeida.tripod.com) Doctor in Social Sciences, Author of O estudo das relações internacionais do Brasil (São Paulo: Unimarco, 1999) [The Study of Brazil’s International Relations]. Lincoln Gordon:  Brazil’s Second Chance: En Route toward the First World (A Segunda Chance do Brasil: a caminho do Primeiro Mundo) Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2001, xviii+243 pp. ISBN 0-8157-0032-6 US$28.95 (Brookings: 1775 Massachusetts Avenue, Washington, DC 20036 www.brookings.edu Mr. Gordon, an American known directly or indirectly by all Brazilians who have studied our route  to military dictatorship, is a friendly [simpático] and attentive participant in all the discussion meetings about Brazil now taking place in the capital of the American empire. With more than 45 years of study dedicated to Brazil, he can be considered a realistic interpreter of Brazil ’  s economic and poltical journey of recent decades, and to  judge by the book summarized here, a sincere analyst of social issues as old as the Republic.  Brazil’s Second Chance  has been in the cooking oven for at least a decade and a half and, as Mr.Gordon himself acknowledges, the chances of the book being finished simply disappeared from the scene during the "lost decade" of failed macroeconomic policy during the 1980s and early 1990s. It was rescued by the "sovereign remedy" of the Real Plan, which renewed the nation ’  s hopes of dreaming about a renewal of growth and and the  prospects for an eventual leap into the First World, in the view of the former American ambassador during the governments of João Goulart and Castello Branco. For those who hoped to find in the book new revelations about American involvement in the military coup of 1964, the impression is " déjà vu all over again," since the text, apart from an account of the events that led to the coup, provides as new documents only an exchange of telegrams, dated March 30 and 31 of that year, concerning Washington ’  s expectations and the attitude of the Embassy in Rio de Janeiro toward securing a minimum of political legitimacy for the Brazilian conspirators against Goulart; that permits Gordon to reaffirm his conviction that the coup was "100% Brazilian." The work, however, is not about this series of events or the political and military  peripatetics of recent decades. It deals with the structural processes of Brazil ’  s development in the republican era, with emphasis on the economic and political aspects (including those connected with foreign policy) and also the social aspects which permeate the historical   2 experience of Brazil since the era of the "first chance" —broadly speaking, the Kubitschek era —up until the present, and still open, window of the "second chance" of the FHC [Fernando Henrique Cardoso] administrations. The book presents an exhaustive discussion of the factors which prevented Brazil from achieving the status of a developed nation during that first phase and the requirements confronting its society and political leaders in order to succeed in the present phase. Mr. Gordon ’  s judgments do not make concessions to surface appearances; those persons deceive themselves who expect that his book might show softness toward the military groups that overthrew the populist Goulart and then thought that they could achieve for Brazil the status of "great power" though massive doses of heavy investment and a welcoming attitude toward foreign investment. Brazil ’  s military  period was lacking in one of the ingredients which Mr. Gordon considers indispensable to the category of First World nations: political democracy. The failure of the miliary period was political in nature and that of the New Republic, from Sarney to Collor, was economic, because the social populism of the 1988 Constitution and the chronic inflation experience until 1994 prevented Brazil from achieving its second chance for development. The results of the 2002 elections may determine, according to Mr. Gordon, whether Brazil will succeed in achieving what he calls "full first world status" or will return to an erratic "Stop-Go" performance. Mr. Gordon ’  s  book present a rigorous econmic analysis and a sober-minded political diagnosis of the four great structural challenges facing Brazil in today ’  s framework: to consolidate macroeconomic stability; to reduce the exceptionally high levels of social inequality and  poverty; to continue the active process of international engagement and participation in globalization; and to carry through the reform of political institutions which do not meet the needs of integrated development in a country as complex and diversified as Brazil. Mr. Gordon has great respect for the intrinsic rationality of quantitative data —he was already Professor of International Economic Relations at Harvard in the 1930s, when half of Brazil ’  s present population had not yet been born —but he also does not believe that  political formulas which succeed well in some social contexts (such as in the U.S.A.) can simply be transplanted to a different institutional setting. He is well acquainted with Brazil and the Brazilians and the various authors who over the years have piled up "explanations" of the reasons for our failure in not duplicating the very successful North American experiment in economic and technological development with relative social inclusiveness. A reader of Viana Moog, he is aware of the differences in cultural roots and for this very reason can recognize in Brazil and the Brazilians the capacity to find our own route toward ascending iinto the "first world." His book is truly balanced and thorough and, if read with the objectivity which distance from 1964 commends to us, can be an excellent source of reflection for all of us, from both the pre- and post-military coup generations, who are thinking about placing Brazil, if not in the "first" surely in a more developed and humane world, as desired by all Brazilians. Paulo Roberto de Almeida Washington, 788b: May 3, 2001
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