Corruption in Brazil
David V. Fleischer
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Brazilian businesspersons, when they talk about their operations in world markets, refer vaguely to "Brazil cost," by which they mean immeasurable factors that reduce their competitiveness. Corruption is a large component of "Brazil cost," and, as David Fleisher reports here, reducing corruption should be considered a national task in Brazil. The annual cost of corruption in Brazil is estimated at R$1 trillion or about 68 percent of Brazil's gross domestic product; in contrast, public education in Brazil receives only 5 percent of the country's GDP. Fleischer defines corruption largely in terms of officials using their public position to extract private profits and says that today only three institutions-the Brazilian press, state and federal prosecutors, and congressional investigations-are actively trying to curb corruption. It is this focus-and the author's precision in detailing instances of corruption, including what was involved in each case and how each has been dealt with-that makes this report such powerful reading. Those interested in Brazil and in reducing corruption in government will find it fascinating.
David V. Fleische is a professor at the University of Brasilia. He joined the faculty in 1972 and was chair of the Department of Political Science and International Relations from 1985 to 1989 and a member of the University Council from 1985 to 1993. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Florida (1976), the State University of New York at Albany (1988-1989), and the George Washington University (1997), and he has published widely on Brazilian politics (Congress, elections, political parties, and political corruption) and North-South relations.
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