June 17, 2010
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
I’m dashing off to the airport this afternoon to catch my flight to Europe… but I wanted to leave you with a few final notes about Brazil.
First, to properly set your expectations, Brazil is not poor– it’s not some third world country where everyone is grateful that foreigners have arrived to sprinkle their pocket change. A typical university graduate in Brazil, for instance, can expect to make $1,500 to $2,000 per month starting off, net of taxes.
Second, along the same lines, Brazil is not as cheap as one might expect. In fact, in many respects (retail sales, restaurants) it can be damn expensive. I expect that there may be a downward correction in the currency (real) to offset this, but it will be short-lived as Brazil’s vast resources will always be in demand.
Third, to give you an idea of exactly how much incredible resource wealth Brazil controls, take a look this interview with Eike Batista. Batista is a Rio native whose vast oil holdings will undoubtedly make him the world’s richest man by the end of the decade by an enormous margin.
In the interview, Batista is thoughtful and well-spoken about the massive transition that Brazil has undergone since its days as a fledgling banana republic.
It’s worth watching because I think it gives a strong sense of the country’s mentality: Brazil is culturally self-contained. There is no obsession with the US economy, American movies, French fashion, German bonds, Saudi oil, or US/European politics.
With a nation of over 200 million, they have their own culture, music, movies, brands, wealth, and resources; as such, there is no deference given to the old economies of western dominance… and this level of confidence is highly unusual, even in China.
Check out the interview so that you understand what I mean… and with that, I have to run. We’ll talk again tomorrow when I’m on the other side of the Atlantic.