Belindia Has Spoken

Forty years ago, the Brazilian economist Edmar Bacha named his country Belindia: a combination of prosperous and modern Belgium and poor and backward India. Is the winner of last Sunday's presidential election, the incumbent Dilma Rousseff, really from "India"?

SANTIAGO – Forty years ago, the Brazilian economist Edmar Bacha named his country Belindia: a combination of prosperous and modern Belgium and poor and backward India. In last Sunday’s presidential election, according to many observers, the Indian part of Brazil voted for the incumbent, President Dilma Rousseff, and the Belgian part voted for the social democrat Aécio Neves. India is larger, so Rousseff won.

This is fast becoming the standard account of Brazil’s election, the most acrimonious and hotly contested in recent memory. And it is easy to see why. In Brazil’s underdeveloped Nordeste, Dilma (in Brazil, politicians, like footballers, go by their first name) swept the vote.

In the relatively rich South, which accounts for 70% of Brazil’s economic output, Aécio won handily. Similar divisions appear when voters are classified according to dependence on government handouts (high in the Northeast) or years of schooling (high in the South).

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/Wfs0ZhU;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.