Automotive industry in Brazil

Florianopolis Travel Blog

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From the birth of Argentina and Brazil as nations, through their independence from Europe, they have had little stimulation to encourage domestic industry. The respective countries are both rich in natural resources that have carried them throughout history in economic comfort. Argentina had refined its cattle and agricultural industry so that it became one of the wealthiest countries in the international market at the dawn of the twentieth century. Brazil’s exported resources included an abundant supply of cotton, sugar, coffee, and cocoa. The former industries were the base of fiscal success that sustained the nations and allow for growth within. Neither country was forced to develop a highly technical industrialized economy. Wealth came from primary resources and there was no need to pursue an alternative model. Other countries such as the U.S., Italy, Germany, and Japan were pushed towards alternative methods of expansion. Countries like Japan, that were not rich in natural resources, struggled to gain a place in the world market by developing a manufacturing and technology based industries. Automobile engineering is no exception. Instead of having to import from another industrialized country, it was more profitable and safer to be self-reliant. By being self-sufficient in areas of industrialization, countries are not dependent on each other, allowing for isolationist behavior. Another key factor for developing competitive industry is a continuous threat from neighboring countries. Both Brazil and Argentina are part of the Latin American community, which has been a model for peaceful international relations. Countries with the perceived threat of danger have been forced to industrialize due to regional or international threats and the possibility of self-reliance. Specifically, regional conflict refers to their integral involvement of the modern EU members in the World Wars. This is obvious when looking at the United States, Germany, France, Japan and even South Korea. These countries had a need not only for rapid industrialization but also for mechanization to enable them to combat their enemies in the times of war. Countries with border issues are competing with neighbors in the region. India has developed a strong auto industry with Tata as it races with China. Japan has always felt threatened in the region, forcing it to develop industry and technology rapidly. The threat of war is great with countries that have an advanced auto industry. Wars for Brazil and Argentina have not been over borders for a long time, and have focused on internal problems for the countries, Argentina more so than Brazil. This lack of international strife is a pattern originating from the founding of both countries. There was a comparatively peaceful separation from their colonizers in the gaining of independence. After autonomy from Spain and Portugal, both Brazil and Argentina continued to supply Europe with raw materials, solidifying agreements between the nations. They exported primary goods, while always importing technology developed by the industrializing countries. This cycle began a codependent relationship between the nations, with the suppliers of raw materials on the losing side. Governments in both Argentina and Brazil have gone through multiple shifts. Developing an auto industry through governments going through regime changes is an uphill battle. The nations have not been governmentally stable enough to support their own technological advancement while that they continued to welcome a free international market. They continued to not subsidize domestic production and not apply rigorous tariffs. It was more profitable for outside companies to come in and create jobs through factories than to have to subsidize a local industry. Therefore, it became financially beneficial for the countries to have these foreign born industrial factories within their borders. Instead of importing finished goods, cars are being built in Brazil as a result of high import tariffs on finished goods. In addition, these foreign industries now have a monopoly in Latin America, having obtained much pull with their industrial sector. Thus they will not allow a local competitor to enter the field. However, this has never been a large issue since foreign firms have been the only competitors in South America with both capitals in continually advancing technological knowledge. Thus, the automobile companies from industrialized nations continue to flourish in both Argentina and Brazil. Argentina and Brazil had neither opportunity, need, or desire to develop their own technologies and industries on a grand scale. This is due to several factors but always goes back to the idea of path dependency. These two Latin American nations were blessed with endless natural resources, which to this day they export to the industrialized nations of Europe and the United States. They continue to be reliant on the finished products from these industrialized nations, as they have yet to become self-sufficient. Due to the fact that the strife Argentina and Brazil suffered was almost entirely internal and not external, in addition to their continued dependency of the industrialized nations, Argentina and Brazil never developed their own national automobile industries. Had their been a push, international war, a greater struggle with technology, etc., this may have been different. However, these nations were enabled by their dependency.
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Catholicism has been the backbone for discovering the New World and has demonstrated absolute religious control over the South American Continent, specifically the territories of Brazil and Argentina. The monopoly on religion and strong influence in governmental handlings has planted a deep seed in the culture and traditions of the two respective countries. This seed has blossomed and flourished as Catholicism has exponentially developed in Latin America. Brazil has the highest percentage of Catholics in the world and is closely followed by Argentina. Yet, a trend has been occurring since the 1980’s: some varieties of Protestantism have grown very quickly to the point that a quarter of Brazilians and a rising number of Argentines are now Protestants. How did an institution that functioned for centuries with little change and little competition suddenly develop a spurt of religious uprisings? As globalization forces the blending of culture and knowledge, new ways to handle day-to-day human life topics emerge. Alternative solutions to private issues such as celibacy, divorce, sexual preference, and pregnancy continue to be challenged. Catholicism has been rigid and slow in adapting to change or even in addressing the arising questions of the Latin American community (especially the poorer followers). Many sects of Latin American Protestantism are very conservative and would not handle these same issues lightly. Others are not as strict and more realistic in a modern aspect when it comes to interpersonal relations. It is the Catholic Church though that has held one answer to these topics with such a strict stance. The Catholic Church has found itself in a difficult position due to its continual association with bad politics. Historically, it has aligned itself with damaging governments in Latin America. At the time those regimes were in power, civilian backlash was negligible but since the dawn of prominent democratic regimes their actions have become detested and unpopular. Thus, the Church’s connection to these establishments places them in a poor light that is contested in the recent transparency of modern democratic governments. This mar on history of the South American region has pushed people even further from their trust toward the Church. The distrust between people and establishment is mirrored in other more recent episodes. Alternative churches sell approachability, trust, and compromise, and are winning over religious prospectors. In the late 1990s, the Catholic Church was faced with a scandal that damaged its face around the world and permanently destroyed many members’ confidence. Child molestation and abuse cases were brought up from within churches around the world but particularly the western hemisphere. Although many of the cases came from the United States, this particularly damaged the Church in South America. Many communities lost faith in the Church and the strong morality that it preached to its congregations. A candid North American cliché is, “Do what I say, not what I do;” It seems that the church despises what it overlooks in its most esteemed members- resulting in a hypocritical or even cynical twenty first century attitude. Aside from the mistrust in the Church, members are questioning the functionality of the organization, especially towards those communities that are in dire need. Since the development of the church by Peter until the twentieth century, the draw that kept the flock with the Catholic Church was a “ticket” to the afterlife. The mass populations of poor were told that Jesus Christ (the savior of man) had a special place in his heart for the poverty-stricken community. Jesus would reward the pobrecitos of this short mortal life with an eternal life of prosperity if hardships were overcome by faith through the Church. Poverty is a very raw crisis affecting the individual with needs that are not being met by the Church. Protestantism offers an attitude of immediate action. Instead of waiting for the next life and placing all of you trust in a peculiarly wealthy “non-profit” organization, they begin working on making a better life for yourself and your connection with God. Many services are offered to the communities with the greatest need, where the Catholic Church has left them abandoned. The podium on which Protestantism grew and continues to grow in Latin America revolves around the debate of ‘service.’ The Catholic Church implies that service to the poor is an obligation to God; Protestantism responded with the idea that your service to God is ultimately self-worship, or a personal devotion to God. Catholicism preaches that through the action of service to the poor in conjunction with the Church you are worshiping God, but Protestantism retorts that while service is commendable, a personal relationship with God is the true objective. Christian believers who utilize the church as a release from the demands of everyday life felt that Catholicism was adding another demand while taking away their reprieve. The Church adds more work to already heavily taxed members; demands are asked from the congregation in Catholicism in the form of money and time. Protestantism is not seen as extra work, but instead as a spiritual release with the option of giving back to the community. Catholicism’s weaknesses have created a place for Protestantism to grow while at the same time the evangelicals use rock star tactics to increase their network. Protestantism makes use of mass media to promote and make people aware of itself as an alternative to their current situation. Telephone calling services to television shows with primetime spots to concerts with lighting, banners, and fireworks to radio broadcast, the new wave of Christianity is making use of every popular form of communication. Not only are they making use, they are changing up their worship style towards a more approachable feel. Relaxed dress codes, guitar bands during service, and more participation are attractive for people who have felt secluded in the upscale uniformity of the Catholic Church. Historically, the Catholic Church was more focused on serving wealthier members of the community in Latin America. This could be seen as out of necessity for an organization that always struggles financially. Those who could afford private schools sent their children to Catholic school. An alignment with the higher classes left out services for the poor. Evangelical Protestantism directly targets these groups who were marginalized. Furthermore, the idea of service in itself has changed for the Protestant faith. The Catholic Church has historically had the connotation of people coming to them, the flock coming to the Shepard. Inversely, Protestantism holds to the idea that the church should go out to the people, quiet literally the missionaries leave their province and travel to distant parts of the world to preach conveniently to the poorer areas- areas that were once considered hopeless. Even the names of the South American Protestant Churches are names the common people can understand and follow. Names like, Assembly of God and God is Love make the followers feel that their denomination is more devote and holds to the simple truth that God is the focus of worship. The middleman of the Church does not stand in the way of an individual’s relationship with God. It is a very personal connection. Also boosting the growth in South America are the relationships, financial and otherwise, that are created with ‘sister’ Protestant churches in wealthier countries. It seems that their desire to ‘save’ members continues on into the relationships between members themselves. Although the doctrine may not be identical, big-little sister organizations are formed. A church in Brazil may be more radical than its sister church in Lilburn, Ga., but the financial connection is there helping the one in Brazil grow. The Brazilian churches use religious communities of prosperous countries to propel them financially, even though the Brazilians feel that their ideology is different. Catholicism will no longer continue to have a strong hold on Latin American countries such as Argentina and Brazil. The special treatment of classes combine with the lack of trust and avoidance of popular social issues has only been a catalyst for the questioning public to seek other forms of respite. Information is more open and people are becoming more and more exposed to other religions and answers to spiritual questions. If Catholicism wishes to maintain their members numbers, and even see increases in these countries, than it must learn to address the issues that arise in the community.
photo by: Vagabondatheart