Since 1980 Brazil has experienced profound change, completing a transition from an agrarian, rural society to one that is overwhelmingly urban with one of the strongest industrial sectors in the world. The country has moved from military dictatorship to the consolidation of the world’s third largest democracy. Despite its economic growth, urbanization, and political opening, Brazil remains one of the most unjust societies on the planet. In 2001 the upper 10 percent of the population controlled 50 percent of the nation’s wealth, while the bottom 50 percent took in just 12 percent of all salaried income (p. 209). Francisco Vidal Luna and Herbert S. Klein’s concise survey of Brazil since 1980 very effectively summarizes the transformations in the world’s fifth largest country (in area and population) over the last quarter century. They also highlight what has failed to change since 1980 — the...

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