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date: 21 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter begins with an overview of the nature of neoliberalism. As markets evolved and globalization made progress, governments introduced reforms meant to adjust policies and regulations to a more open and competitive environment and reduce the relative weight and role of the state. Policies such as privatization and trade liberalization were introduced in Brazil shortly after a civilian, Fernando Collor de Melo (1990–1992), was elected president. But the neoliberal agenda was relegated to second place as all energy was turned toward the fight against inflation and the debt crisis. After a first term dedicated to consolidate public finances, President Cardoso (1995–2002) introduced a number of “market-oriented” reforms aimed at flexibility and efficiency. Under President Lula (2003–2010), social programs were improved, transfers were increased, and the minimum wage was raised. Since 2009, a recession has threatened the joint imperatives of forced development and social justice.

Keywords: Brazil, neoliberalism, finance, development, inflation, privatization

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