This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

April 9, 2008

Brazil's Bright Future

When Roger Herman and Joyce Gioia travelled to Brazil in the 1990s to talk about their future, they characterized the country as "a sleeping giant---just about to awaken".

The well-respected investment firm of Goldman Sachs has given the designation of "BRIC" to the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC). In fact, the investment leader even offers an index fund of BRIC investments. The fund was created to tap these countries' "tremendous growth potential".

Recently, a futurist colleague Stephen Aguilar-Millan, Director of Research for the renowned European Futures Observatory in the United Kingdom, highlighted the significant lack of western press attention to Brazil, compared to that given to Russia, India, and China. He conducted his own informal research and discovered since 1997, "The Economist" Magazine has featured 2,282 articles on Brazil, compared to 3,762 on India, 4,640 on Russia, and 6,845 on China.

Aguilar-Millan adjusted "for continental bias" by looking at the United States' magazine "Foreign Affairs" and found strikingly similar results. While Brazil had 355 articles written about it, India had 603, Russia had 868, and China had 1,076. "On the face of it, there is a case to say that Brazil is being ignored in the western press" said Aguilar-Millan.

However, further examination of the situation yields a slightly different conclusion. Though "Brazil does have vast potential in terms of resources, . . .it lacks the population mass of China and India and the military tradition of Russia", Aguilar-Millan added. Thus, it is unlikely to be a major geopolitical force within the next 15 or so years. Brazil's participation in MERCOSUR not withstanding, its 4 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth for 2007 is dwarfed by the rates of increase in India and China.

Thanks to the now cautious policies of the Brazilian government, inflation is no longer the front burner issue it used to be. Moreover, Brazil's wealth of resources in oil, gas, and biofuels position it well to handle a decline in the global economy. We expect Brazil soon to garner more attention on the global stage.


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