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Brazil as a Global Economic Player
Overview Economy of Brazil In 2021
The economy of Brazil has experienced in its history, a series of economic “cycles” mostly based on agricultural production (sugar, coffee, cotton, etc) which were many steps towards the population as the economic development of the country.
The economy of Brazil – Its history and its territorial conquest do not sum up only to the only history of economic cycles, but they contribute to understanding better the foundations of modern Brazil whose activities from the primary sector were fundamental.
The economic cycles of Brazil
1 – The “cycle” wood of embers
The economy of Brazil -The wood of embers or pau brazil, which we drew a red dye, was the first product of exportation, bound for Europe, this new land that would take the name.
This wood, which was on the Atlantic coastal region of actual north-east was at first, exploited by Portuguese helped by Indians (at that time paid by barter) who could not keep the monopoly before the arrival of other Europeans as the French people for instance.
This tree exploitation, even with the pure harvesting activity, did not allow the populations to settle down and to get rich enough, they sought other more lucrative opportunities from 1560-1570 (a date where the Atlantic treaty was introduced).
2 – The cycle of the sugar Economy of Brazil
The economy of Brazil Sugar cane was introduced by the Portuguese in the northeast coastal region from the middle of the sixteenth century. This first plantation economy was imposed easily on the Portuguese as far as the product was rare and expensive and as far as its transportation was easy. Very quickly, the single-crop farming of this plant took important proportions and was quickly the first worldwide producer of sugar in Brazil. The development of this culture was promoted by a master of the field from Portuguese, able to invest in the activity and to bring in much labor, by means of African slave importation.
br-economy3A real economic and social system emerged: a master of field cultivated sugar cane, by interposed slaves, and turned it in his sugar mill to sell a product already transformed, with added value. Parallel activities appeared beside that of sugar, allowing to talk about the support of secondary cycles. It was necessary to feed this servile population where the necessity to produce subsistence crops inside lands and to provide draft animals able to make the sugar millwork. The colonial system was at its peak in the functioning of such activity.
Until 1670, sugar ensured the wealth of this north-east region, but the Antillean competition ended the Brazilian sugar monopoly leaving the region into great difficulties.br-economy4
The fact remains that this first economic cycle allowed at the same time to enrich the country, to develop agricultural and proto-industrial activities, and to linking the coastal region and the inside within the same region. However, the end of this cycle also meant the flight of some of the inhabitants and capitals resulting from sugar.
3 – The cycle of gold Economy of Brazil
We owe it to the pioneer’s mind of Bandeirantes, a true task force, which in the eighteenth century found a large number of stony deposits and precious metals in a region which became Minas Gerais.
Hopes of fortune created an influx of population to the inland areas of Brazil. Many settlers left then, the northeast depressed by the valley of the Rio Sao Francisco, to try their luck in the gold rush, which, besides, required not many capitals to start.br-economy6
These old mining cities have become tourists today (Ouro Preto) thanks to the splendor of their heritage, testifying to the prestigious past which they have known. There again, over-exploitation and exhaustion of deposits were synonymous with difficulties leaving the region in a long lethargy.
4 – The cycles of coffee, cotton, rubber
These cycles affected Brazil economy throughout the nineteenth century but for the first time in its history, it concerned three different products in three different regions :
Amazon knew the ephemeral cycle of rubber.
North-east thought of coming out from its lethargy thanks to the cycle of cotton.
The Centre-south imposed its ascendancy thanks to the cycle of coffee.
The cycle of rubber allowed the settlement and development of Amazon
The economy of Brazil Latex production drawn from the hevea brasiliensis increased with the discovery of vulcanization technique, made by Goodyear, and with the automobile development. The cities of Belém and Manaus knew an unsurpassed growth and attracted middle classes, eager for quick earnings. Indeed, in Amazon, the rubber is in its natural state, and to bleed it, do not represent consequent investments.
At first, the seringueiro, often very poor searched for trees, bleeds them, and harvests the latex. The extraction of latex belongs therefore to collecting activities that do not require important capitals.
This system peaked as long as there was no Asian competition, particularly in Malaysia. Asian Southeast production more regular and cheaper plunged Amazon permanently into an extended crisis, from 1920.
The cycle of cotton was a sudden burst in the history of North-east
This region depressed since the end of the cycle of sugar took advantage of this opportunity when the United States was immersed in the Civil war. The clearing of North American competition favored the development of cotton plantations.
However, at the end of the war, a series of major droughts shows once again that this activity did not bring sufficient incomes to secure a stable population and develop the northeast region. The region of Nordeste had failed again in its attempt to recover.
The cycle of coffee was the one that left and leaves some more tracks in Brazil’s economy and geography
br-economy9It was a real wave in the current economic region of the south-east. Coming from Guyana, coffee, a delicate plant, was introduced in Brazil under the best auspices climatic and precisely when this drink knew a growing success on the international scene.
First developed in the valley of Paraiba
The economy of Brazil -North of Rio de Janeiro, the culture of coffee spread in the west, near Sao Paulo and north of Paraná. The fertile soil of these regions and the dynamism of Paulista contributed to the development of the southeast region. Contrary to other regions in the past, this one has taken the initiatives with, for instance, by organizing the building of railways (by British companies), the development of Santos’s harbor, and commercial cultures. To the significant international request, production had increased very fast making this region the spearhead of Brazil.
Coffee has deeply changed Brazil’s economy and society. It allowed the southeast region to assert its hegemony and more particularly that of Sao-Paulo. Even if this culture knew different crises, it represented, at the time up to 90 % of exports. Planters, as anywhere else in Brazil, became real businessmen who knew how to invest in other sectors of activities.
The economy of Brazil The adventure of coffee plantations could extent in other areas thanks to the capitals which were not exclusively reinvested in what would have been single-crop farming and therefore a mono activity.
These were the premises and foundations of Brazil’s industrialization. Hereafter Brazil did not export only gross products anymore, agricultural or mining but also exported incorporating products, some added value, signs of development registered within a long period of time.