In 2001 an economist at Goldman Sachs coined the acronym BRIC to denote the rising powers of the world economy. Brazil, Russia, India and China, it was bullishly forecast, would become the dominant financial forces by 2050. With Brazil and Russia suffering recessions in the last five years and India and China experiencing a slackening in growth, the hypothesis has gone much the same way as the bank’s reputation. Nonetheless, the prognostication has triggered an avalanche of books tapping the zeitgeist in each but one of these countries – Brazil.
Perhaps it’s because Brazil, without the manufacturing muscle, nuclear swagger or imperial fantasies of some of its BRIC stable mates, does not project an alpha-nation image; sometimes, it seems as though the country registers in international consciousness only during the World Cup – this year hosted by Brazil – when