Study Group on Brazil at 500

Director: Kenneth R. Maxwell, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
January 1, 2000 - June 30, 2004

Although Brazil is seen by many as a country that has yet to achieve its full potential, it is often forgotten that its economy and population are larger than those of Russia. While great disparities of income exist, Brazil has a powerful entrepreneurial class, a substantial industrial base, a middle class comprised of some 40 million people with a purchasing power of over $500 billion and a vibrant culture and boisterous mass media.

The study group will be organized around a series of sessions based on chapters for a book by Kenneth Maxwell, to be titled Brazil at 500, as background papers. The aim is to examine some of the complex cultural, political, historical and socio-economic constraints that have conditioned Brazil’s development and to provide an accessible text that will help explain Brazil to those in the policy, academic, journalistic, and financial communities who find themselves baffled by the vast and surprisingly little-known giant whose successes or failures will profoundly influence the future of Latin America and the Western Hemisphere as a whole.