So I'm here for a six-month project for the Brazil Office of Harvard's David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, and I've whittled down possibly my favorite thing about being here: realness.
Pragmatic and socio-economic #realtalk. And that is, like the Mary J. Blige song, real love.
In Brazil, chicken is real, without hormones. Bread spoils in a day. People admit that life is sometimes great, and sometimes hard. It is daily life without the bells, whistles, and debt ceiling financing of the American Project. There is a sense that in the country that prides itself on having the biggest Everything in the World - mais grande do mundo - things are just about as big as they need to be.
Despite being the seventh largest economy in the world, Brazil - with a larger GDP than Russia, India, and Great Britain - Brazilians are realistic about their situation. Brazilians overtly address concerns about inflation, energy production (much of the country's energy supply is hydro-electric, and there is a draught), growing consumer credit debt, and political cronyism.
I've compiled some of my own initial contributions to cross-hemispheric comparisons #realtalk:
* Brazil is what America looks like with less financial leverage. Houses are priced at $70,000; people drive small cars, because they can't afford larger ones. Resources are rather scarce, so they're not wasted.
* The difference between American and Brazilian waistlines is due, in part, to this three-letter word: GMO. One can eat the same portions of food here as in the States, but because it isn't GMO and full of additives, you're five to ten pounds lighter.
*Class mobility is a national project here, but unlike the States, it's in its trail phase. It has some angel investors, but no one expects incredible results right from the start.
* Despite a robust public transportation system, urban traffic is urban traffic - in Sao Paulo, LA, or anywhere.