New Middle-Class Is In Heaven

“The house-cleaner Raimunda da Silva Gonçalves, 46 years old, is the stereotype of a portion of the Brazilian population that started searching for a better life more than 5 decades ago. She, like millions others, migrated from a poor northeastern city in the beginning of the 80’s in search of better luck in the richness of the São Paulo chaos. She arrived without a defined occupation, illiterate and with little chance of moving up a few degrees in the conservative Brazilian social pyramid. In São Paulo, Raimunda married with another migrant, had two kids and got situated socially. From house to house, cleaning to cleaning, she remained illiterate, poor and without money to have anything else but the essential.

In the last five years, however, Raimunda’s story started to change. Her purchasing power was growing and, little by little, she started to have access to luxury items that before were unthinkable. She even opened a savings account and, two years ago, achieved her biggest conquest: she built a little house in the satellite city of Itapecerica da Serra. For her children, Raimunda has been able to give them a chance at moving up in life even more. The oldest son, Rodrigo, 19 years old, is studying business administration at a private university. The youngest, Vitor, 11 years old, recently started an English course. “We learned that without studying, we don’t get anything in life,” she said. “The boys know this, the see it and are taking advantage of an opportunity that their father and I never had.” In the wake of her children’s graduation, even Raimunda decided to start studying. She already left illiteracy behind her and, now, dreams of one day enrolling in a university. Last year, she got her first diploma: completing middle school, at 46 years old.

Raimunda was able to change her style of life not only by her own spectacular will power. Without the economic foundation that her country has built in the last 15 years, perhaps her endeavor would not have worked out. Like many people, she could earn more money because Brazil is undergoing an exceptional moment. In five years, 32 million people, equivalent to half of France, ascended socially. The most impressive phenomenon occurred with the old low middle-class, which today is called the C class, which multiplied itself  and began to represent half of the country’s population. Close to 90 million Brazilians now possess a monthly salary of between R$1,115 and R$4,800 and they’ve become a powerful force that has already been called by some specialists a dominant class, economically-speaking. With the R$1,300 that Raimunda earns cleaning upper middle-class houses in São Paulo, she became part of this new economic force.” – Source (more here, in PT)

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Brazil, The VC’s New Hotspot – Time

“Marcelo Marzola, the 33-year-old co-founder of Predicta.net, is a perfect example of how hot Brazil’s $1.6 trillion economy has become — and why its entrepreneurs are now getting their phone calls returned by venture capitalists after a decade of “You’re from where?”

Marzola was invited to present his company’s free online behavioral-targeting tool, BTBuckets, at the Google I/O Web-developer conference in San Francisco in May. To get ogled at the Google conference is the goal of any Web developer. Marzola earned rave reviews for creating what has become a de facto standard, used on more than 2,000 websites in 90 countries by such corporate titans as Pfizer, Motorola and Unilever. The product fills an overlooked niche in the industry by allowing websites to segment their users according to their online habits and then direct targeted content and advertising to them in real time. “It has turned the industry on its head, and it’s gaining mass recognition,” says Daniel Waisberg, an industry consultant and a former chair of marketing of the Web Analytics Association.” – Source (more here)

‘Good Luck’ in Brazil, Starbucks…

“Starbucks Corporation has just announced that it is taking control of Starbucks Brazil.  The company has assumed 100% ownership and 100% operating control of Starbucks Brazil through the acquisition of Cafés Sereia do Brasil Participações S.A.  In short, Starbucks is ready to expand into a huge market.

Starbucks noted that the management team currently in place will continue to manage day-to-day business operations to keep a seamless transition.

Converting Brazil to a company-operated business will allows Starbucks to gain access to the largest consumer market in South America.  Whether you choose to use Wikipedia data is up to you, but the Wikis list Brazil as being #17 by coffee consumption per capita at 5.81 kilograms per person. The U.S. was down at #26 at 4.2 kg per year.  The Brazilian population was listed as 193.39 million versus 310 million in the U.S.

When you consider that Starbucks counted some 16,737 stores globally between its licensed stores and company owned stores, this won’t make a huge dent at “more than 20 stores.” It makes growing its Brazilian operations probably much easier.  It also gets it closer to the largest coffee growing market on top of its deep relationships with coffee growers throughout the world.

If you consider how many Starbucks were opened up in the U.S., the notion that Starbucks ran into growth problems won’t matter here. Starbucks first entered Brazil in Sao Paolo in November-2006 with two store openings.” – Source

Flooding Bank Accounts in Southern Bahia

“In Guaratinga, a city 390 kilometers from Salvador, near Eunápolis, in the south of the state, there was practically no rain in June, but the city council alleged that the city suffered from flooding from June 15th-17th and called for a state of emergency. According to the Public Ministry, the fraud was committed in order to obtain R$2 million in federal funds, to be applied to public works that were to be done without bidding.

The fraud was only discovered because the promotor Bruno Gontijo Teixeira didn’t trust the information. To check it, he used data from the National Institute of Meteorology, which confirmed that the volume of water during the period was practically zero.

The Military Police filed a civil action against the mayor for administrative misconduct. If condemned, he will have to reimburse the amount received and can have his political rights suspended. The city council is forbidden from using the money.” – Source (in PT)

My Take

I’m not sure the phrasing is right, that the mayor may be punished because it definitely shouldn’t be just a possibility. He should get jail time. What happens when the city really needs federal funds? Will there always be a promotor there to double-check the facts?

The Brazilian Films Post

My post several months ago on the 90 or so Brazilian films I had seen up until that time has received quite a lot of attention since its publishing. The strange part is I can only tell that based on its view count, not the initial comments (meaning the views keep increasing but the comments stopped early on). Just as secretly as people have been viewing it, I have secretly been updating the list every month or so and now it stands at 121 films (90%+ which I recommend watching). Here’s the list once more, updated of course, for your browsing pleasure.

Every Brazilian Film I’ve Ever Seen