Internet. $200/mo USD for a theoretical 1MB connection. That's assuming the power stays on. Lots of people use the internet (mostly at cafes) but it's only for games and social networking -- nobody thinks of it as legitimate way to make money.
Crime. In many parts of Sao Paulo and Rio people don't even stop at stoplights because the risk of getting shot and carjacked is too real.
Education. Completely broken. Cheating is so rampant most teachers don't even try to prevent it from happening. That's at the private schools where my cousins have attended-- public schools are apparently far worse.
Entrepreneurs. Most people literally don't even have a mental category for this. At best they make vague negative associations about you being a "capitalist." The dream job is either working for the government or getting an engineering position at some multi-national corporation.
All of this is unfortunate because the Brazilian people are really delightful and quite creative. My wife is a designer and she says some of the best design is coming out of Brazil right now. Unfortunately corruption and regulation has completely driven out the spirit of innovation and that is unlikely to change anytime soon.
check and check, when I was 17 and 20.
Your whole assessment is perfect, enumerating most of the reasons that made me leave.
I have a feeling that it is very hard to emigrate to a better country.
To be honest, I can't see much of what you say, but then I live in Southern Brazil (Santa Catarina) which is, at least on average, a much more developed part of the country.
Sure, internet and electronics are still expensive but it's very safe when compared to Rio/São Paulo and the schools some of the best in the country. A very good place, generally speaking.
The only point where I have to strongly disagree is your statement about entrepreneurs in Brazil. In fact, when compared with other countries I know (Argentina, the UK, et al.) Brazilians are the closest to the American entrepreneurial soul I've seen. Sure, you have a bunch of people that want to work for the government because of the stability that provides and loyalty for 'the company' is still very deeply ingrained, but in general every Brazilian dreams of having their own business and the government is doing the best it can (short of cutting taxes, unfortunately) to make that dream come true.
(Lastly, and off-topic, I'd like to point out that the perception of 'regulation' as something bad is a very American concept. 'Regulation' is what keeps 'us', the consumer, safe from 'them', the faceless and impossible to sue corporations. Not the oppressive force the American free market pundits make it out to be. Corruption is a bitch though.)
The advent of Rio as host for the olympics is further evidence of restructuring that the Brazilian government has achieved. And despite the inevitable cost of the infrastructure development outweighing short term gains, the long term gains (see Shanghai Expo 2010) will catapult Rio into the same stratosphere as an India or a China.
On entrepreneurship, I'll be honest I am not up on details, but there have been significant articles about particularly financial start ups, which confirm the rapid evolution Brazil is undergoing.
You can't solve the country's problems with faster internet pipes; when phone companies form a country-wide lobby just so each can have their own monopoly on specific states, it's not a problem of technology or investments anymore, it's a problem of a government that overlooks things like that and of a population that ignores the issue. And this is just one example (of many).
We tend to read a lot of positive things about Brazil in the news. But after living in the country for a bit more than 30 years, I've come to understand how these are usually just overly positive spins, optimistically ignoring the larger picture of how crippling the country's culture is to any effort that is trying to move it forward.
The government hasn't achieved any "restructuring". That anyone believes that is baffling and almost offensive to me. And I'm not talking about the current or previous presidents; this is not because of an individual or a group, but rather something that is really part of the country and will take decades to change, if at all.
No one can really understand Brazil until they understand Gerson's Law:
The issue is in the culture itself, where corruption happens everywhere (top and bottom of the chain). This leads to a corrupt police, corrupt government and everyone trying to gain advantage on top of the others...
The public schools are really bad, but the private ones are ok. But the issue is not education, but this terrible culture of corruption.
I see a marked change in Rio and Sao Paulo when I visit. People in Rio seem much more relaxed, I see women using $1000 smartphones openly on the buses and subways.
Every single cab driver I talk to is positive about the war happening on the German Hill, which every here I've talked to agrees is simply to clean up the city before the World Cup and Olympics.
My point is not that everything in society has improved. It is just that there is a significant shift, and there is an immense opportunity for Internet businesses here that was not there before.
I don't agree with you about your take on entrepreneurship. I personally know many entrepreneurs here, and they are in the same boat as many of us in Portland: limited access to capital and mentorship.
But you forgot to mention the electronics from 2007 sold at 4 times the price of modern ones.
Now you can all see why we are in love with the internet. It's the greener grass.
Brazilian here. That seems odd.
In Sao Paulo I pay ~R$150 (~US$90) / mo for 4mbit ADSL.
The potential for growth in Brazil is amazing, but we're still very far from 1st World status. We're mostly definitely a good bet, tho ;)