Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Brazilian Children (The next generation)

On Orkut, a friend was asked by another friend about child poverty in Brazil. Now, I have friends in Brazil who know far better than me, and I don't pretend to know more than them, but I do have some ideas, and knowledge after being down there a couple times.

First thing to think about is parents. Child poverty is not a question of children, but families. If parents are impoverished, then the children will grow up in a impoverished home. One thing leads to another. With northern Brazil having such high unemployment rates, there is little chance for people get out of the poverty they find themselves in. To solve child poverty, you must spur business development, and create jobs.

Brazils own internal laws, taxes, are preventing this to some degree. By having such high import taxes, other countries return in kind taxes on goods exported. Brazil needs to be pressured to adopt a new type of tax revenue source and restructure their current import/export laws. This is dangerous for the government, and not overly popular, so would be unexpected. It would seriously help. There is no reason with all the political infighting with China, that Brazil could not pickup much of the business for manufacturing that is currently going to China. China is further form the US and Europe than Brazil, meaning it would cost less to transport it. Brazil has a more stable government. This could be a big win for Brazil if they found a way to make this work.

Second, one generations poverty propagates itself on a second and third generation by restricting, and limited education to the next generations. One problem Brazil has is a population explosion which has forced them to limit school to only 4 hours a day, and some teachers having to teach multiple classes at once. If the UN, or US, or other agency could augment the Brazilian Educational budget, and diplomatically get Brazil to change some of the curriculum in such a way that it more greatly emphasizes technology, they could come out in one to two generations with where India and other countries are today with a new generation of tech savy business people.

In the end it all comes down to money. to implement either of these, Brazil would need large sums of money and they have never had an over abundance of it. At the same time as all of this, since Columbia has been doing a good job fighting drug dealers, and Venezuela is becoming harder to export out of since the US and Europe are not treated as nice by the current government as previous governments, Drug Czars and their influence is moving across into far northern Brazil. If anything, the US/UN/EU needs to make sure the Brazilian government is strong so we don't end up with what we had in Columbia in the 80s again.

How the UN could do anything about this, I’m not sure. Takes the UN 20 years to agree that snow exists, and 50 years to agree that a coat is good to wear in snow. Christmas is slow in coming every year. Congress takes years to do anything. The UN takes decades.

Just some ideas I have. Maybe I’m nuts. Ask Erika, she may agree that I’m nuts!

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