This paper seeks to examine the extent to which the new PT government
headed by Lula is committed and politically prepared to effectively
pursue pro-poor policies and combat Brazil's chronic and endemic
poverty and social disparities. The key lines of enquiry of this paper
to determine the capacity and the political preparedness of the
Brazilian state under Lula to carry out the much needed second
generation of reforms; to understand the nature of the current coalition
of social forces represented by the Workers' Party and its allies in
the Congress and its implications for the policies that the Lula
government might adopt in delivering on its election promises of
creating a more equal society in Brazil; and to examine the policy
options it has to balance its international commitments to the World
Bank, IMF and other foreign creditors and its commitments of combating
The paper is organised in seven sections. In Section 2, we examine the
nature of the currently dominant discourses on poverty including
Hulme's anchor paper for this conference. In section 3, we present some
basic facts about the nature and extent of chronic poverty in Brazil and
trace its historical roots. In section 4, we argue that the emergence of
the PT as a political party represents a noticeable departure from the
traditional elite-driven political culture of Brazil and a significant
move towards grassroots based participative democracy. We also point out
in this section that there exist factional splits within the party which
might reduce its ability to function effectively as an agency of change.
In section 5, we analyse recent shifts in the relative strengths of the
left, the centre and the right parties in the federal Congress. In
section 6, we look into the contents of the PT's campaign manifesto of
2002 with reference to their implications for combating poverty. In the
concluding section 7, we present some of the early indications of the
likely future scenario.
The dynamics of chronic poverty and social exclusion in Brazil:which way after Lula victory?, presented at Staying Poor: Chronic Poverty and Development Policy, Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester, 7-9 April 2003. Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC), Manchester, UK, i + 10 pp.
The dynamics of chronic poverty and social exclusion in Brazil: which way after Lula victory?