In an editorial published in the People’s Gazette in March 2014, the year in which Dilma Rousseff was re-elected to the Presidency of the Republic, the structural conditions that Brazil could have when reaching 2022, when the 200th anniversary of independence from the Portuguese empire will be commemorated. , proclaimed on September 7, 1822. Economists Fabio Giambiagi and Claudio Porto had launched a book organized by them, with several collaborators, rich in data and analysis, under the title 2022 – Proposals for a better Brazil in the year of the Bicentennial. The purpose of the book was to identify what the country would have done two centuries after its independence, above all in terms of the average social well-being achieved by the population in general.
From the data shown in the book, based on the IBGE database formed in the 2010 census, the most profound change in progress was the rapid transformation of the Brazilian demographic pyramid, with emphasis on the forecast that the population of children in the 5 to 14 years old should decrease by 6.5 million, from 34.1 million in 2010 to 27.6 million in 2022, while the population aged 60 and over should increase by 11.4 million people, from 19, 3 million to 30.7 million in the same period. This demographic aspect alone would impose significant changes in the economic and social structure of the country; therefore, it was necessary to know how the government and society would deal with the situation, since from that year 2014 until the bicentennial of independence only eight more years would be covered.
The greatest difficulty for nations is to succeed in building the institutions and conditions required for economic growth capable of placing them in the club of developed countries, without extreme poverty or misery
Among the worrisome deficiencies were the size of poverty, which afflicted 20% of the population – around 38 million people in 2010 – and the number of extremely poor (classified as miserable), which were 7% of the population, that is, around 13.3 million. Although the IBGE has postponed the 2020 census due to the pandemic, the poverty and misery data are updated according to the social register revised by the government due to the payment of emergency aid to alleviate the effects of social isolation measures and stoppage of activities economical. Currently, the total of poor is around 54 million, 14 million of which are miserable, remembering that the total population in 2010 was 196 million and will end 2021 with 214 million – therefore, 18 million more inhabitants.
In that year of 2014, Dilma presented a government plan that established two results among the most important social objectives: zero the population in the extremely poor range (the tool would be the simultaneous increase in employment and income) and reduce it from 20% to 5 % of the total population those classified as poor. As objectives, the content of the plan was worthy of support and applause, as these two social scourges must be above governments and political parties, and the following governors should persist in them as a social priority, whose most efficient instrument is the growth of the Domestic Product Gross (GDP). In that editorial, it was highlighted that the main issue was to discover what are the main obstacles in the pursuit of economic growth and social development.
It should be recognized that the greatest difficulty for nations is to succeed in building the institutions and conditions required for economic growth capable of placing them in the club of developed countries, without extreme poverty or misery. This newspaper already highlighted that, among the main obstacles to growth, physical infrastructure and education were highly relevant and should deserve heavy investments, even in view of the precariousness of both. In the case of infrastructure, there are three bottlenecks that hold back progress: the small size of the infrastructure given the country’s needs; the average age of physical capital, which is quite aged; and the outdated level of technological knowledge incorporated into the production system.
As for the educational problem, Brazil has not been able to raise the level of basic education, the average professional qualification of workers remains unsatisfactory, unemployment remains high and hindering progress in terms of education and the improvement of qualification itself. In other words, the country has not been able to overcome its incapacity in terms of education as a whole, both at the basic level and in professionalization, even though important improvements have been made punctually in certain segments. And most analysts agree that the problem is not that the country spends little on education, but that it spends very badly and with low efficiency. Spending on education and training does need to be high; however, the poor quality of spending needs to be faced and reversed, without which more spending can only mean more consumption of resources without better results.
Surely, Brazil in 2022 will celebrate the 200th anniversary of independence well below the goals and targets imagined at the beginning of the 2010s
Because Brazil reaches 2022 and the real panorama of society is far from those targets announced by the government, as shown by the size of the population in poverty, as well as the number of extremely poor people. It must be recognized that a tragedy befell Brazil and the whole world: the coronavirus pandemic, something that in 2014 no one could even imagine, much less in the magnitude with which Covid-19 attacked in 2020 and 2021. Only now the humanity sees a relief, gradually resuming activities.
Surely, Brazil in 2022 will celebrate the 200th anniversary of independence, well short of the goals and targets envisioned at the beginning of the 2010s. The challenge now is to be able to follow that path designed for the anniversary of independence and, who knows, reach those goals by 2030. However, in addition to the deficiency in education and infrastructure, the nation still suffers from deficiencies linked to the institutional environment unfavorable to investments, with the poor quality of laws, with political instability, with the need to improve public management and the lack of reforms, mainly tax and administrative.