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Brazil’s Deputy Minister of Development, Industry, and Foreign Trade speaks at IWP

Alessandro Golombiewski TeixeiraOn March 12, 2012, Dr. Alessandro Golombiewski Teixeira, Brazil’s Deputy Minister of Development, Industry, and Foreign Trade, took time out of his busy schedule of trade negotiations with the US Government to speak to an interested group at The Institute of World Politics. He discussed the world’s changing economic order, which he felt was very important for those who draft policies and be responsible for delivering results.

Dr. Teixeira described the old world order as one that was mercantilist, state-centric, and power-focused. He contrasted it with the newer order where the economic focus is more on business-to-business, and consumer-to-consumer relations. The machinery of world governance, such as the United Nations, is built to manage the old world. Dr. Teixeira felt that the institution was dated and struggled to manage the newer world because it was bureaucratic, relies on consensus, and had no mechanism for the participation of civil society. A new style of world governance will need to evolve. The new system will need to be multilateral, but it is an open issue how much integration would exist between nation-states. Developing economies would probably have a greater say as they are responsible for an increasingly large percentage of the world’s economy.

Focusing on the developing economies, Dr. Teixeira described the “BRICS” and other acronyms as “a bunch of different eggs in one basket.” He then asked the audience what Brazil and China had in common, pointing out that the two countries had a lot of differences. Brazil is religiously almost entirely Catholic, linguistically homogeneous, and a democratic state; China has multiple religions and dialects and is run by a centralized regime. Both countries, however, have a very large internal market. The world’s future leading economic nation would need at least four attributes: a large internal market, natural resources, innovation capabilities, and a politically stable system.

Dr. Teixeira then focused on three factors that will impact policymaking around the world in the new, more complex and interrelated, world. The first, which he stressed, was information. The availability of the internet has democratized information and made performing certain studies easier. This makes intelligence easier to produce, including intelligence on different positions and expected results. Second, the future of policymaking is likely to be more transparent, partly due to the ease of access of information. Finally, policy is going to be increasingly focused on deliverables. Here Dr. Teixeira drew an analogy with the US Presidential campaign, where questions like “How many jobs are you going to create?” and “How are you going to improve healthcare?” play a prominent role.

In spite of the interconnectedness of the new world, the pressure of low-cost competition from nations such as China creates a temptation to resort to protectionism. The current system of world governance is not well-equipped to deal with this, or the pressure of trade will cause fighting for markets.

The deputy minister then commented on the US-Brazil relationship, saying that “70 percent” of the US and Brazil’s respective domestic problems are in common, including education, jobs, infrastructure, and issues with drug use. He pointed out that both are relatively young countries in the New World.

Returning to his original theme of how the world order has changed, he described the old order as dominated by government to government relations, and the new order as characterized by transnational actors, especially international corporations. Noting that every government pays attention to the corporate world, Dr. Teixeira stressed that business and politics would become increasingly interrelated. States will use their political power to further their economic competitiveness, as their economic performance will help generate their political influence. Before taking questions, Dr. Teixeira then rhetorically asked how future global systems are going to have appropriate intelligence and perspective on an increasingly complex situation.

Alessandro Golombiewski Teixeira holds a PhD in Technological and Industrial Competitiveness from the University of Sussex (England), a Master’s degree in Latin American Economics from the University of São Paulo (Brazil) and an undergraduate degree in Economics from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil). He began his career as a corporate executive in the telecom industry, most recently as the President of Apex Brazil.  In January 2011, Alessandro Teixeira took office as Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, in Brazil.