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A purely analytical perception...


BRAZIL

AN ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN

 

Continued from page 3

JUST BECAUSE WE HAVE A COUPLE OF BUCKS, DON'T THINK WE'RE SOFT TOUCHES

The ability to grab market share by literally throwing endless amounts of money at the target is one of the more successful strategies developed by multinationals. This approach doesn’t allow breathing room for the opposition and is carried out with such surgical precision that the game is over before the other team has touched the ball. Desiring to penetrate the soccer market for its shoes, Nike (3), purchased the entire Brazilian National Soccer Federation in one large gulp for an inconceivable $200 million.

This, probably the "ugliest" American multinational, demonstrated that money is nearly everything when playing the global game, by capturing some of the world's best teams and players in one motion. From here on in, you can bet that the Brazilians will be seeing liminal and subliminal Nike commercials in their sleep. A selected number of world famous Brazilian athletes (4) will tour the globe, shouting the praises of wearing Nike's on the Soccer field, to all that are within earshot, and whether you agree with the strategy or not, they have made one of the best deals on record. (5)

Nike’s move was hardly discrete when compared with quiet investments made by others, such as the rapid-fire investments made by Anheuser-Busch in Kirin, Japan’s largest brewery, Antarctica, the top beer seller in Brazil and Tsingtao, one of the largest beer manufacturers in China. In similar fashion to Nike, Anheuser has wired the sporting calendar to the degree that hardly a sporting event takes place in North American without the Beer Company’s trademark, solidly visible. Anheuser is the premier advertiser in American Car Racing, Boxing, Hydroplaning, Motorcycle Racing, Baseball, Football, Hockey and Basketball. Their dirigible even hovers over stadiums in which sporting events are taking place so that no matter where you are watching the game, you are exposed to their advertisements. They are now using the same game plan in 60 different countries worldwide, inundating the populace with their slogans and products.

Brazil is always going to get there and that day is always right around the corner, Fernando Collor, ex president of Brazil on March 21, 1996 said something similar to what everyone else has been saying for decades, "In 1989 I stood at a crossroads and led Brazil into the 20th century. Today Brazil is at a new crossroads facing the 21st century - a sleeping giant with an economic potential that many have equated to the United States 70 years ago.

When the giant awakes, and it will; when it stretches; and it will; when it reaches that potential, and it will, Brazil will stand along with the United States as a world superpower as a partner in world democracy, prosperity and peace."

As with all sleeping giants, their eternal rest avoids facing harsh realities and so it is a land with great promise and many dreams. Brazil has been blessed with assets beyond conception and yet there is almost nothing to show for the billions of dollars that have been invested in its infrastructure. The National Geographic Atlas of the World, 1995 put Brazil into prospective.

"The motto, "Ordem e Progresso---Order and Progress" appears on the flag of the nation that encompasses about half the Amazon rain forest, home to 150,000 Indians and countless plant and animal species. The lesser-known Pantanal region is South America's largest wetland. Road building, mining and construction, often funded by the World Bank, the European Union, and Japan, provide opportunities but at great cost. Construction of Highway BR-364 carried many farmers to Rondonia where the soil lost productivity when stripped of its nutrient-rich forest cover. Controversy over the opening of frontiers has placed some highway projects on hold. During the 1980's gold miners in Roraima polluted rivers with mercury and invaded the territory of the Yanomami, an indigenous people. As Indians succumb to imported diseases, their cultures also die, and knowledge such as the medicinal value of tropical plants is lost. In 1991, the government demarcated 93,000 kilometers for the Yanomami.

Havoc in the forest mirrors disarray in the capital, Brasilia. Years of military dictatorship gave way to civilian rule in 1985, followed by democratic elections in 1989. Though reforms have begun, progress is slowed by constitutional questions, political corruption, and a seesaw economy: Brazil's foreign debt is the largest among developing nations. Shanties in Rio de Janeiro symbolize the problems facing the world's fifth most populous country, where 70 percent of the citizenry struggle to meet minimal nutritional needs. These problems have revived the secessionist movement by the more developed southern states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Parana and Sao Paulo."

 

BRAZIL ENDNOTES

 

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