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What’s the Difference?

07/31/2008
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Guest Post based on story from the New York Times about Brazil’s “booming” economy:

“Long famous for its unequal distribution of wealth, Brazil has shrunk its income gap by six percentage points since 2001, more than any other country in South America this decade, said Francisco Ferreira, a lead economist at the World Bank.

“While the top 10 percent of Brazil’s earners saw their cumulative income rise by 7 percent from 2001 to 2006, the bottom 10 percent shot up by 58 percent, according to Marcelo Côrtes Neri, the director of the Center for Social Policies at the Getulio Vargas Foundation in Rio de Janeiro.

“But Brazil is also outspending most of its neighbors on social programs, and overall public spending continues to be nearly four times as high as what Mexico spends as a percentage of its gross national product, Mr. Ferreira said.

“The momentum of its economic expansion is expected to last. As the United States and parts of Europe struggle with recession and the fallout from housing crises, Brazil’s economy shows few of the vulnerabilities of other emerging powers.

“It has greatly diversified its industrial base, has huge potential to expand a booming agricultural sector into virgin fields and holds a tremendous pool of untapped natural resources. New oil discoveries will thrust Brazil into the ranks of the global oil powers within the next decade.

“Yet while exports of commodities like oil and agricultural goods have driven much of its recent growth, Brazil is less and less dependent on them, economists say, having the advantage of a huge domestic market – 185 million people – that has grown wealthier with the success of people like Ms. Sousa.”

And what’s been happening in the Unites States for the last 28 years?

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