If you think this is just another cliché about the characteristics of Brazil, don't! I am not going to say anything about what you already know (samba, carnival, natural beauty), but EVERYTHING about "what makes Brazil Brazil", as the Brazilian anthropologist Roberto da Matta has already said.
I'm referring to the economic class that kept Brazil from entering the list of countries that fell in the global recession: the C class, which represents 85% of the Brazilian people and which is made up of those with monthly incomes between R$912 and 1,500. Before, this economic class was simply held in contempt by the country's economy; today, it is at the top of the list in terms of its importance to businessmen. Why? Purchasing power.
Since the beginning of the Lula era – or more precisely, the two consecutive terms of President Luís Inácio Lula da Silva – Brazilians' income has grown more and more, driven by the regular increase in the minimum wage [in February this year, for example, the salary will hit R$550, the equivalent of US$224]. In addition, federal government programs also contributed to the income increase, like the Bolsa Família, that reaches more than 11 million families and was created to support poorer families and guarantee, theoretically, their right to food, access to education and healthcare).
But what has the money been spent on then? Cell phones, notebook computers, MP3 players, digital cameras, cable TV and, as incredible as it may seem, among other things, products in the areas of beauty, hygiene, cleaning supplies, food, clothing, universities, civil construction, travel abroad – yes, the Brazilian is also spending in dollars!
"Never before in the history of this country", as the ex-president liked to say, has there been so much consumption in Brazil. Do you understand now why we are an emerging market?
Thaíla Correia is a journalist and acts as Communication Coordinator for The Group Comunicação, the Brazilian agency of Worldwide Partners Inc. (WPI).