Facilitating a Geographical Corporate Environment of Human Rights in Brazil
This company has been retained by The New Global Link (TNGL), a corporation that has recently been awarded a license to do business in the country of Brazil. As such, TNGL, in retaining this company, seeks to understand the Brazil in terms of its socio-economic-political environments. TNGL, an American corporation, has a reporting responsibility and a fiscal responsibility to its shareholders, and is to ensure its success globally, beginning in Brazil, where it will be working towards further global expansion in South America. It therefore essential that TNGL establish itself not just as a corporate business partner with the country of Brazil, but as a social and economic partner that realizes that the social and economic health and well being of the country will reflect itself on TNGL in numerous ways. Therefore, TNGL is seeking a comprehensive briefing that will allow the company to begin its new venture in the right social, economic and political direction. This information will benefit TNGL in a positive way in its short- and long-term corporate and employee goals as it works towards its objectives in Brazil. This report will provide TNGL with the profile and information it needs regarding Brazil, and will assist the organization in acquiring the understanding and tools with which to begin work in Brazil.
Social Aspects of Brazil
Since World War II, Brazil has experienced social changes and political upheavals and changes that has left the country little time or opportunity to explore the potential innovativeness of its own citizens. The population is diverse, representing a mixture of indigenous Indians, people of African descent whose ancestors came to Brazil as slaves, Portuguese, Spanish, and people of European descent (Balderston, Gonzalez, and Lopez, 2000, p. 4). Brazil has led the way in South American popular culture by way of its cultural openness and the fact that it seemingly embraces its diversity. During the 1920s and well into the 1960s, Brazilian documentary film spoke volumes about the struggles of the impoverished rural people, and the middle class city dwellers who were really not much better off economically than the rural people (Balderston, Gonzalez, et al., p. 4). The middle class protested in two ways after World War II (Malloy, 1979, p. 28).
First, there was the appearance of diverse groups of middle class intellectuals and activists who articulated a variety of ideological critiques of the existing system of political economy. These groups ran from the more conservative, elitist, and quasi-corporatist "positivist" groups to a variety of left-wing "socialist" groups. Despite programmatic differences, however, they all advocated more centralization of power and a more active role for the federal state in regulating the economic system. Activists from these groups forged political links with rebellious military officers and with leaders of the emerging working class. Thus, they formed a potential ideological and leadership pivot of broader reformist and/or revolutionary alliances.
Middle-class protest also took the form of direct mass action, especially in Rio, and grew in both breadth and intensity throughout the period. The focal point of direct protest was the onerous rise in the cost of living which between 1914 and 1926, for example, was estimated at 127%. Protest was expressed in mass demonstrations, the siege of public buildings, and rent strikes (the cost of housing was a particularly sore point in Rio). Hence, aside from generating ideological and leadership cadres, the urban middle classes also made up an important potential base to support reformist and/or revolutionary coalitions (Malloy, 1979, p. 28)."
The of Brazil have always expressed themselves, and have done so with little concern, since the upheavals have historically been between the government and the military in tug of wars for power. However, that outspokenness has not benefited the population in any significant way. In 2000, researcher Simon Schwartzman surmised that the official statistics of poverty and social dysfunction were probably not reflective of the complete picture of Brazilian society (Schwartzman, p. 29). Schwartzman found at poverty and the need for young adolescents and teens to find work before completing their education was taking its toll on the population in a myriad of ways (p. 29). Many of the young school age children who left school to work, were not being compensated for the work they were performing (p. 29). However, Schwartzman also found that working and not finishing school were not intricately related, as might be expected (p. 29).
However, the correlation is small: among eighteen-year-olds, 58% of those who work are out of school, compared with 40% of those who do not work. Child labor, in short, is mostly associated with rural poverty, and, by itself, it is not an important cause of lack of education. Abusive and exploitive child labor exists and has to be curtailed, but this is not the pattern (p. 29)."
The conditions that are taking its toll on Brazilian society today are those that reflect a transitioning society, one that is going from a largely rural society, to a largely urban society (p. 29).
Cities like Salvador, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo have always been important as seats of the colonial and later national and regional administrations and poles of attraction for immigrants, but most of Brazil's population lived outside the cities until recently. In 1940, 70% of the population still lived in rural areas; in 1997, only 20% did (p. 29)."
The problem that Brazil has been faced with during this transition and change in population trends, is an antiquated infrastructure that is poorly equipped to deal with the burden of a sudden increase in population and social and civil services (p. 29). The number of households who accessed the water delivery system in major cities went from 52% of the population, to 82% of the population between 1970 and 1991 (p.
The number of households that have transitioned from no household appliances, households with appliances has increased too (p. 29). While these are socially good indicators, they are not necessarily of infrastructures in the urban area that are capable of supporting the additional strain on antiquated systems.
The less desperate side of the Brazilian population is that they are seemingly resilient, with a vigor for life, music and all things Brazilian that they might share with rest of the world. Brazilian music, the bosa nova and the somba are fast, exciting, and entertaining as dance or music (Moreno, Albrecht, 1982, p. 130).
The effect of these partially overlapping, partially conflicting agendas has been to put enormous pressure on public authorities to respond to rising and often contradictory demands, in a context of economic stringency. An incomplete list of social policy issues would include the maintenance and expansion of the existing systems of social protection and benefits in public health, retirement, education, and housing; the correction of existing distortions, delivering more benefits to the poor and removing privileges of specific groups; the improvement of the efficiency and efficacy of the civil service in the administration of its resources and in its dealings with the public; the reduction of income inequality; an increase in the number and quality of jobs and opportunities for self-employment; the provision of emergency relief to groups in extreme poverty; the development of programs to enable those in pockets of poverty in the countryside and in the urban peripheries to move away from their syndromes of pove rty and social marginality; the addressing of acute problems of social conflict and unrest; and attention to the special needs and demands of minorities and less privileged groups, including the native population and blacks (Schwartzman, p. 29)."
Political and Economic Environments
Brazil is a country striving to create and maintain vital infrastructure to support its burgeoning urban populations. The country looks to outside businesses and economic partners to binging about productive and profitable economic changes in the country.
Until the 1950s, Brazilians still debated whether the country should remain mostly an agricultural economy or move forcefully toward industrialization. This discussion was settled, in practice, by the "targets program" (Programa de Metas) of President Juscelino Kubitschek in the late 1950s, which started the Brazilian car industry, linked the country with paved roads, and started ambitious programs of energy production and industrial development. The key components of the early agenda of economic development were the role of national government as the main promoter of economic growth and the protection of local industry against foreign competition through high tariffs and regulations. This was not, in essence, a nationalistic agenda; the car industry, for instance, was owned by large multinational manufacturers, Volkswagen, Ford, General Motors, and later Fiat, which kept the Brazilian market for themselves, and foreign investors were well received throughout. Nevertheless, Brazilian-owned industrial and fina ncial groups and interests also flourished and received the benefits of large public contracts and partnerships with foreign groups. This "import-substitution model" reached its climax in the 1970s, with the ambitious projects of forced industrialization led by the Ernesto Geisel government (19761980).  In the previous…