Presentation Title

Brazil's Great Divergence in Relation to the Grande Seca

Faculty Mentor

Ian Read

Start Date

23-11-2019 10:00 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 10:45 AM

Location

209

Session

poster 3

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

interdisciplinary

Abstract

The regional economies of contemporary Brazil are drastically disparate: the GDP for the southern state of Sao Paulo (R$33,624) is over three times that of the northeastern state of Ceara (R$10,473) (World Atlas). These numbers indicate much more than economic output, they are indicative of access to education, health services, and overall improved quality of life. Accordingly, this economic gap should be lessened, as its consequences affect the daily lives of millions of Brazilian. But to best diminish this discrepancy, it must first be understood. In researching Brazil’s economy and its history, one soon discovers that this inequality was once reversed, with the Northeast dominating economic production. So why did Brazil’s regions develop into their current economic states? What caused the developmental difference between the north and south? This phenomenon, referred to by many scholars as the “Great Divergence,” is largely unexplained. Though many hypothesize that the abolition of slavery or the growth of the southern coffee industry are the cause, these claims often omit the discussion of an important environment catastrophe of this time period: the Grande Seca. As it was responsible for the death of nearly half the state of Ceara, the Grande Seca should not be overlooked in this matter. The destruction of human capital – through starvation and disease – as well as the agricultural and cattle industries, unequivocally impacted the economy. The question is, to what extent? Thus, there is a dire need to investigate the drought, its consequences, and its implications for the current economic state of modern Brazil. As a result, this research focuses on historical research pertaining to economics, diseases, and polices present in Brazil during the late 19th century.

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Nov 23rd, 10:00 AM Nov 23rd, 10:45 AM

Brazil's Great Divergence in Relation to the Grande Seca

209

The regional economies of contemporary Brazil are drastically disparate: the GDP for the southern state of Sao Paulo (R$33,624) is over three times that of the northeastern state of Ceara (R$10,473) (World Atlas). These numbers indicate much more than economic output, they are indicative of access to education, health services, and overall improved quality of life. Accordingly, this economic gap should be lessened, as its consequences affect the daily lives of millions of Brazilian. But to best diminish this discrepancy, it must first be understood. In researching Brazil’s economy and its history, one soon discovers that this inequality was once reversed, with the Northeast dominating economic production. So why did Brazil’s regions develop into their current economic states? What caused the developmental difference between the north and south? This phenomenon, referred to by many scholars as the “Great Divergence,” is largely unexplained. Though many hypothesize that the abolition of slavery or the growth of the southern coffee industry are the cause, these claims often omit the discussion of an important environment catastrophe of this time period: the Grande Seca. As it was responsible for the death of nearly half the state of Ceara, the Grande Seca should not be overlooked in this matter. The destruction of human capital – through starvation and disease – as well as the agricultural and cattle industries, unequivocally impacted the economy. The question is, to what extent? Thus, there is a dire need to investigate the drought, its consequences, and its implications for the current economic state of modern Brazil. As a result, this research focuses on historical research pertaining to economics, diseases, and polices present in Brazil during the late 19th century.