Anyone trying to make sense of the recent street protests in Brazil should begin 30 years ago, when the country’s economy was struggling with rampant inflation and sluggish growth. In the decades since, Brazil has transformed into a global economic powerhouse that has lifted an increasing number of people into the middle class.
Similar to most countries, the global financial crisis has hurt Brazil, and with the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament and Summer Olympic Games on the horizon the country is balancing preparations to accommodate millions of tourists with providing services and opportunity to many citizens who are growing accustomed to rising standards of living.
The irony of the protests in Brazil is that the country is spending billions on infrastructure — for sporting events. Meanwhile, the more mundane systems hold back stronger economic growth and services for people and businesses. Not only do congested roads keep com