Changing Brazil, New Comparisons

Chrissy & I have been going to various restaurants. My diet has improved a bit, or at least I have gotten more than just bread, cheese and peanut butter. There are good restaurants within walking distance.  The picture above is from a place called “Pontão”. It is a cluster of restaurants and clubs near the lake. We went around 7pm, which is way early for Brazil, so there was not a big crowd. 

Brasilia has improved, but there are still aspects of the former Brasilia. It is still hard to cross the roads on foot. The city was designed for cars, not people. But the thing that reminds me most of the old days is the smoke. It is very dry and grass is burning. The smoke has been wafting in. It will start raining in a few weeks and that will put an end to it, but the next few weeks will be less pleasant. 

The “Economist” magazine has an interesting graphic at this link that compares Brazilian states with countries in terms of population, GDP & GDP per person. The interesting thing for me given my personal history is the comparison of the state of São Paulo with Poland. São Paulo has a population and GDP about the same size as Poland. It is funny to think about that. Poland is so different. But the perspective is also important. Poland is a relatively poor European state made poorer by its history of fascist and communist oppression. São Paulo is one of Brazil’s richest states. 

I would have guessed that São Paulo was richer than Poland, but I understand why that is not true. There are more very rich people in São Paulo than in Poland, but there are also more very poor. This makes the per capita income similar, but the distributions are very different. 

There are other interesting comparisons. One of the poorest Brazilian states is Alagoas.  But as poor as it is, Alagoas has a GDP per capita similar to China. We think of China as almost a rich country and it is, but only because there are so many poor people adding up.