December 28, 2010

IF YOU WANT TO BE A HISTORIC FIGURE, JUST HASTEN THE END OF HISTORY:

Lula's legacy, leaving behind a transformed Brazil (BRADLEY BROOKS, , 12/27/10, Associated Press)

Since Silva's first election in 2002, the middle class has grown by 29 million people — more than the population of Texas — creating a powerful new domestic consumer market. Another 20 million people — as many as in New York state — were pulled from poverty. The country that received a record $30 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund as it neared economic collapse in 2002 now lends money to the IMF, making up to $5 billion available for loans to other nations.

The value of Brazil's currency has more than doubled against the U.S. dollar. Inequality has been reduced, as the income of the poorest 10 percent of the population has grown five times faster than that of the richest 10 percent. Inflation has been tamed, unemployment is at a record low and illiteracy has dropped. By the time Brazil hosts the Olympics, it is forecast to be the globe's fifth-largest economy, surpassing Italy, Britain and France.

Early fears that the leftist union leader who battled Brazil's dictatorship would turn the nation socialist proved unfounded. Silva fought off the more radical wings of his Workers Party and used orthodox economic policies to lead the country to unprecedented growth. Under Silva, the economy expanded twice as fast per year as it did in the previous two decades, growing an average of 4 percent yearly.


Little as he'd want to hear it said, Lula is an heir of Pinochet. The Middle East and Africa will not be fully transformed until they produce such leaders.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at December 28, 2010 5:50 AM
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