Brazil's Perspective on the Global Economy

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Interviewer: Stewart M. Patrick, Director, International Institutions and Global Governance Program, Council on Foreign Relations
Interviewee: Carlos Ivan Simonsen Leal, President, Getulio Vargas Foundation
May 9, 2012

After emerging from the 2008 financial crisis relatively unscathed, Brazil's inevitable entrance into the club of major global powers is increasingly accepted. Stewart M. Patrick, senior fellow and director of the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Carlos Simonsen Leal of the Brazilian Getulio Vargas Foundation discuss Brazil's perspective on global finance and international security. Simonsen says:

1. "Every sensible Brazilian" is worried about the actions of the U.S. Federal Reserve and European Central Bank. Brazil, having suffered through hyperinflation, believes their injection of liquidity into markets is "dangerous."

2. The exchange rates of the Chinese renminbi and the overvaluation of the real relative to the dollar are sources of concern for Brazil. "We are not protectionist at heart," argues Simonsen, "but if everyone is playing a game where they don't mind about liquidity and they want to devalue their currencies, we are not going to risk inflation."

3. Brazil is opening many new embassies and consulates. It is motivated not only by commercial diplomacy (cultivating broader markets for Brazilian exports), but also by a desire to have a benign influence on relations among countries. "After all, Brazil is a country that hasn't had a war in 150 years. Not many countries can say that."

4. Brazil is a strong supporter of democracy, and has many common interests with democracies. "We'd like to see democracy everywhere," says Simonsen.

5. Brazilians are divided about joining the United Nations Security Council. Opponents worry that it may be too costly, or that it's too early--or perhaps that if the time comes for Brazil to join the body, it will be because the Security Council is no longer powerful. For now, the Group of Twenty's elevation to the premier forum for global economic coordination has satisfied some Brazilian aspirations to flex its muscles around the world.

This video is part of The Internationalist, a series dedicated to in-depth discussions about leveraging multilateral cooperation to meet today's transnational challenges.

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