What Brazil’s 2016 New Year’s resolutions should be

Reform

Political reform

Brazil needs an urgent political reform. We’ve been going through a political crisis in our system for quite a while. Now, it is hard to tell, if we take a look at the Congress, who’s government and who’s oposition. Our President may or may not undergo an impeachment process, as it is completely impossible to determine what the future holds, especially with this Congress.

Meanwhile, the Operation Car Wash goes on and we do not know whose name is going to appear on our news headlines.

So, with those 2015’s political problems and all those we had before, we could seriously use a complete transformation in our political system. It’d be amazing if we could redistribute power and make parties more meaningful, because now it seems to the population that there are no ideas to follow, only interests. It’d be wonderful to see our democracy shine, without corruption taking away our energy. It’d be great if we could have real political discussions, not vague comment section debates that lead nowhere.

It’s not going to happen, I know. 2016 will bring the struggles we are afraid to face. Guess that’s what it’ll take to grow up.

Economic reform

It’s what we were supposed to have done in 2015, but we couldn’t just do it completely due to all of political mess. Brazil will have rising inflation, with our Real losing its value, our GDP declining and debt increasing, and naturally, taxes will go up as we seem to not cut down our expenses.

We need a serious economic reform, starting with changes in the social security system (focusing on the age of retirement and regulations on pensions), going all the way to getting more productive administrations in public institutions etc. Basicly changing our cultural system regarding money, reponsability, security, productivity.

Reform in Education

Our education system really needs some changes if we mean to grow and play the world game for sure in the future. From preschool to university, we need to change what skills we want our population to master and how we’ll do that in the most efficient and equal way. We need to find a way to teach not only Portuguese, but how to be a good citizen. Not only Math, but how to respect others who are different from yourself. Not only Geography, but how to deal with money, what taxes are and how to do them. Not only PE, but what it means to be and stay healthy for real. We need our teachers and our students to be more engaged in the learning process. We need educators to believe in education. We need the country to believe in education. 

Reform in the Health System

I am thankful that Brazil has a public health system, where theoretically anyone could receive proper care and get better with their health. Theoretically. Because in real life, that’s not what really happens. The system lacks many resources, especially in a economic crisis scenario. It cannot stay this way. We need more money, more professionals working, better administrations. 

In the private sector, we need cheaper health insurances. 

Reform in Transportation

If there’s something that ruins mostly everyone’s moods is the transport system. If you live in a big city in Brazil, you’ve probably been stuck on a traffic jam for a few hours, and you’re lucky if you were in the inside of your car when that happened. I have lost count of how many hours I have lost in traffic jams. It’s just absurd. 

We could use better transport system, with more subway, bus and train lines so that everyone can go to work and come back safely and rapidly. 

Reform in Security

Without a doubt, this is one of our major issues, and it causes so much trauma and pain in the population. We need to be safer. We need to be able to go anywhere we want without worry. It’s a big part of being a citizen, of enjoying and engaging with our cities, with our societies.

We could do so much better, Brazil. We can do so much better. I just hope it doesn’t take us ten, twenty years to see that.

To all of my readers, Happy New Year and may 2016 be a great year for all of you!

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Brazil’s growth problem and how to (start to) fix it

2015 is going to be a hard year for Brazil. With 2014 GDP growth near zero, our economy will struggle to get back on its feet. During the last few days, new offices took place in our states and the federal government (second turn of our president, Dilma Rousseff), and governors have already announced cut in states’ expenses, going from 20% to 35, 40%.

What can be done to make Brazil grow again?

Well, I’m not an economist, not even close. But I know that Brazil’s growth in the last decade was due to a series of fortunate events, inside and outside our country, and these fortunate events helped, somehow, hide our major problems. We were doing well, everyone was happy, so no one paid attention.

Now, to make Brazil grow, in my humble opinion, we need to face these problems and fight them as hard as we can. I’m referring to two things: low productivity and corruption. And both of them are related to the one big problem: education.

So, to those of two who aren’t familiar with Brazil’s educational system, let’s take a quick glimpse.

The best feature of it is, for sure, our Universities and Colleges, especially public Universities and Colleges. Most of our best Universities are public and free. That is to say that we don’t have to pay a lot of money and get doubts in order to get a good education (and private Universities aren’t as expensive as the ones we observe worldwide). Ok, it is not all democratic yet, there are a lot of problems, but avoids many other economic problems, so that’s great. And there’s good quality research going on, technology being produced.

The real challenge is in our preschools, primary schools and secondary schools. For instance, data released by NGO Todos pela Educação (in portuguese)  showed that only 9.3% of students on High School senior year learned what they were supposed to have learned in Maths in 2013. This pattern appears  in all other grades as well. This is due to a whole approach to early education.

It needs to change.

I am convinced that the main reason our productivity levels are low is the bad quality of early education. If students don’t learn what they’re supposed to learn in the right time, they’ll carry difficulties with them all along, making it much harder to get Professional training and even to get a undergraduate diploma at the University.

I believe corruption is directly related to this issue as well. If our schools (and families) taught ethics (or at least taught it right), maybe we wouldn’t have so many corruption scandals every year, we wouldn’t have it anywhere in our society.

Maybe.

I wonder if this year we’ll get all courage we have to fight these enemies. Brazil deserves to grow sustainably and for real.