Brazil’s Productivity Gap

“Doing more with less.” As world population heads towards 8 billion, countries and companies across the world aim to use technology, organizational techniques, and training to do more with less: increase productivity and conserve resources while sustaining a decent quality of life. One of the key concepts here is productivity. I recently participated in a forum[1] where I had the privilege of seeing a presentation by Dr. Carlos Pio of the University of Brasília, an examination of Brazil’s economic prospects through the prism of...

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Analyzing Brazil’s New Freedom of Information Law

When Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff promulgated the country’s new freedom of information law on November 18th, she signed on to a measure that is among the strongest in Latin America, and perhaps more importantly, she endorsed a law that made inordinate improvements over bill (5228) introduced  by her predecessor, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in 2009. As the blurb at the side of my blog describes, I am in the midst of writing a book on the adoption of freedom of information laws across Latin America. Part of the study requires...

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Addendum to last post: The Forest Code

Folha de São Paulo reports today that, for the second time this year, President Dilma Rousseff has let de-foresters off the hook. This Monday the President issued a decree to extend the date at which fines will be levied for failures to re-forest and register legally protected land. The last extension occurred in June, and the new extension is now for April 2012. Brazil’s controversial forestry legislation is heading back to the Lower House of Congress after the Senate amended the original bill several weeks ago. It is widely believed...

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The Forest Code: Campaign Contributions of Agri-Business Pit Legislators Against Public Opinion

The Código Forestal or Forest Code now being debated in Congress will determine the future of Brazil’s forests, including the world’s last great rainforest, the Amazon. In order to make good on a 1965 forest code that was rarely if ever enforced, President Dilma Rousseff introduced strong legislation in 2010. Legislators in the Lower House then weakened the bill substantially, and after being approved with minor alterations in the Senate, it is now heading back to the Lower House for congressional sanction. The bill “constitutes one of...

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“Development at Any Cost?”– Post on Brazil In Focus

This editorial was written by Sergio Abranches for Brazil In Focus and provides a brief overview of how Brazil’s environmental prospects are being compromised by short-termism and a government that easily succumbs to powerful lobbies: Brazil sacrifices the enviroment on the altar of growth A year ago presidential hopeful Dilma Rousseff went on record as a strong defender of the environment. On the campaign trail, she said she opposed the pardoning of scofflaws for past crimes against the environment. At the same time she spoke...

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Surrendering Secrecy in the Senate

On the 25th of October 2011, The Brazilian Senate enacted a keystone measure to shore up the country’s growing transparency infrastructure, a freedom of information law.  Signed by President Dilma Rousseff on the 18th of November, the law will go into effect 180 days from the date of promulgation, on May 18th, 2012. The question is now whether Brazil’s freedom of information law will open windows into the inner workings of government, or merely serve as window-dressing. This first post looks at enactment of this law in the Senate, and...

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The Next Couple Posts– Historic Democratizing Advances in Brazil

Back after more than a month-long hiatus, I am overwhelmed by recent events deserving of attention. Most importantly, the week of the 25th of October 2011 will go down in history as one of Brazil’s great democratic moments of reckoning: the country enacted a freedom of information law after more than 3 years of deliberation, and a Truth Commission that has been on the agenda since Brazil emerged from a twenty-year dictatorship in 1985. President Dilma Rousseff’s presidency continues to signal a promising new chapter in Brazil’s...

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