Brazilian Miracle

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The Brazilian Miracle (Portuguese: milagre econômico brasileiro) refers to a period of exceptional economic growth in Brazil during the rule of the Brazilian military government. During this time the average annual GDP growth was close to 10%. Although there is no universally-accepted definition of this period, it is generally regarded to have lasted from 1968 until 1980 with the greatest growth reached during the tenure of President Emílio Garrastazu Médici from 1969 to 1973.

Brazil: love it or leave it, a slogan of the military regime.

Perception of the so-called golden age of Brazilian development was strengthened in 1970, when Brazil for the third time won the FIFA World Cup, and the official adoption of the slogan "Brasil, ame-o ou deixe-o" ("Brazil, love it or leave it") by the Brazilian military government.

Troubled miracle[edit]

During President Goulart's rule economy was nearing a crisis, with annual inflation reaching 100%. After the 1964 coup d'état, Brazilian military was more concerned with political control and entrusted economic policy to a group of technocrats led by Delfim Netto.

A Dodge 1800 was the first prototype engineered with a neat ethanol-only engine. Exhibit at the Memorial Aeroespacial Brasileiro, CTA, São José dos Campos.

During these years Brazil became an urban society, with 67% of people living in cities. This was caused by a population shift from the poorer countryside to the booming cities, with São Paulo growing faster than others.[1]

The government became directly involved in economy, as it invested heavily in new highways, bridges and railroads. Steel mills, petrochemical factories, hydroelectric power plants and nuclear reactors were built by the large state-owned companies Eletrobras and Petrobras. To reduce reliance on imported oil, ethanol industry was heavily promoted.

By 1980 57% of Brazil's exports were industrial goods compared with 20% in 1968.[2]

To fuel its economic growth Brazil needed more and more imported oil. While during the early years of Brazilian Miracle the growth and borrowing was sustainable, after the 1973 oil crisis military government increasingly borrowed from the international lenders and the debt became unmanageable. By the end of the decade Brazil had the largest debt in the world of about 92 billion USD.[3] Economic growth definitely ended with the 1979 energy crisis, which led to years of recession and hyperinflation in Brazil.