Last Updated 15 Apr 2021

Core and Periphery of Brazil

Category Agriculture, Brazil
Words 1966 (7 pages)
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Brazil is the largest of the Latin American countries, located in the South American continent. Brazil's unequal development has given rise to two areas of spatial inequality. These are called the Core and the Periphery.

The core is a relatively wealthy area, and is seen as the industrial hub of economics and industry. The Periphery however is less economically developed, and is characterised by a declining or stagnant economy. This prominent division has been caused by many reasons. The Core's success has resulted in it overheating, and outward migration has resulted in the periphery's problems getting worse. Government Strategies were then designed to improve the spread of development across Brazil. John Friedmann's model, shown above, shows us how Brazil has developed and its inequalities.

The Core is in the South East of Brazil and is an area of industry, with high levels of technology, capital and investment. Unlike the North the South is fortunate to have a warm, temperate climate with a distinct cooler season along the coast. Development is easier in these Southern conditions, compared to the difficult climates of areas such as Sertio, in the North, where there are frequent droughts. Also the Core's location is beneficial too, being near the coast; large ports are possible and ports such as Santos in Sao Paulo are very important for importing and exporting for Brazil.

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These ports are built close to mineral resources and industry, for products to be exported. The core is home to huge reserves of iron and sizeable reserves of gold and gemstones, including emerald, topaz and aquamarine. These are mainly found in Minas Gerais, and rich minerals such as these are very beneficial to an area and they bring great revenue. Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro are three cities that make up Brazil's industrial triangle, which is the centre of its industry. Sao Paulo is home to approximately one-third of the Brazilian GDP, with its economy based on machinery and automobile industry.

Rio de Janeiro had the second largest economy after Sao Paulo and is home to the country's largest bank - Banco de Brazil. Belo Horizonte has become an international reference in information technology and Biotechnology. The Core has a good infrastructure, with efficient roads and railways that attract development. There is a large market for consumer goods and services, with a thriving work force, created by the large population. The South East of Brazil was the centre of trade in the country's colonial history too. Brazil was a Portuguese colony for over 300 years and the Portuguese exploited the land and exported minerals to Europe.

The Southeast of the country was their centre of trade, so ports began to grow to export raw materials e. g. Santos and Rio de Janeiro. This was the start of the core's advanced development that left the peripheral areas behind in development. Foreign investment has accelerated the Core's development, with Germany as an example. Germany has invested $10 billion in Brazil, as 15% of its total foreign investment. There are now 1,024 German companies present in Brazil. Now German executives are being replaced by Brazilians to take over and run the companies.

This will benefit the country even further, as its people become wealthier. As well as Germany, the united States have invested too, and Sao Paulo is considered to headquarter more American Companies than any other city outside of the U. S. The Car Industry has been a catalyst for development. With Ford, General Motors and VW in Brazil, hundreds of component suppliers have been attracted. Near to VW's plant for bus and trucks, is Volta Redonda, Brazil's main steel industry. This thrives from the car industry in Brazil and brings 1800 more jobs and $250 million of investment to Brazil.

The Periphery is quiet different, located in the Centre West of Brazil. The Peripheral areas often suffer from declining industries, creating a negative image, which is unfavourable to new development in relation to the core. Low productivity and reduced demand for minerals has left the periphery less favourable in comparison with the core. Young and ambitious workers often leave the periphery to move the core, where there are greater job opportunities. This adds to the problems that the periphery faces, with a reduced work force and an aging population. The North has never been prosperous and has always been thinly populated.

The development of Brazil's peripheral region has been stunted by its many problems. Environmentally, the peripheral areas in the North- East suffer epic droughts. This area is struck by mild droughts every 3years and a severe one every 12. Any remaining water is unsafe to drink and cholera strikes in epidemics. The temperatures through the dry season can reach 42C and the temperatures and dry conditions make development very difficult and slow. The land available for growing crops is scarce and the soil is generally poor, thus meaning farmers that are dependant on one crop can't grow it, are struggle for food for their livestock.

The people often have no or little education and can only get jobs in unskilled sectors and industry is mainly in agriculture. Most people are dependant on cottage industries and specific crops. The Northeast is the poorest region of Brazil, with the worst HDI rates of the country, mainly in the rural areas, which suffer from long periods without rain. This is somewhat ironic since the Northeast, during Brazil's colonial era when sugar production was higher, was the most prosperous region in all of South America.

Health care is very bad, malnutrition is common in people living in these areas and child labor is a concern, as is child prostitution in major cities. Prostitution in the major cities has become an enormous problem, caused largely by the low Brazilian minimum wage as well as sexual tourism. In contrast to the situation occurring in the other Brazilian regions where social problems are worse in bigger cities, social problems in the Northeast regions are worse in the rural and small communities of the interior, lessening in bigger cities near the coast.

With a lack of mineral resources and a poor infrastructure the Northeast of Brazil's development was very slow, especially with little energy resource to aid it. The quality of life in the Peripheral areas was low and the higher wages in the core appear much more favourable. The Core has its Problems too, overcrowding of people and competition for business, resulted in the core overheating. People move to the Southeast to improve their quality of life. However so many people now live and work in the big cities of the core that this begins to create its own problems.

Since not enough housing can be provided for all these people or indeed afforded, people make their homes on unreclaimed public land. This resulted in a high occurrence of Shanty Towns or Favelas. These areas of irregular and poor quality housing are often crowded onto hillsides. Landslides in such areas, caused primarily by heavy rainfall but worsened by deforestation, are frequent. In recent decades, favelas have been troubled by drug-related crime and gang warfare. There are rumors that common social codes in favelas forbid residents from engaging in criminal activity while inside their own favela.

Favelas are often considered a disgrace and an eyesore for local people within Brazil. The overcrowding caused by in-migration in the cities results in congestion and air pollution. This is worsened by the industrial pollution from manufacturing companies and from petrochemicals. Competition from other companies has resulted in closures of existing ones, meaning jobs are lost. Also wage rate were seen to be lower elsewhere so some businesses have chosen to move, to pay lower rates. The port of Santos had noticeably higher holding charges than other major ports; commerce was lost here as companies left.

Under Unemployment is an issue in Brazil, this is where people hold jobs that don't contribute to the country's productivity. These are jobs in the informal sector such as, camelos, street vendors and prostitution. The minimum Monthly wage is R$200, although about 30million people in Brazil are not even making that much. The Brazilian government designed strategies to spread development across Brazil, with the Amazon region and the Northeast as the main problem areas. To begin the alterations a nationwide transport network was built, this included the Amazonian Highway.

This re-encouraged mining and other economic activities to develop in the Amazon region. Two main approaches were used to tackle regional differences. These were the top-down and the bottom-up approaches. The top down approach is central around the government's decisions and doesn't really involve the people. Governments often concentrate their development resources in Growth poles, such as Brasilia and Recife, with the hope that economic growth will take place and spread to surrounding areas.

Also growth corridors are often designated, that are designed to encourage industrial investment. These are often positioned along major roads that connect major urban areas and provide good access. In the Northeast there has now been heavy investment from new industries using power from the Sao Francisco River and the capital city was moved from Rio de Janeiro to a new city Brasilia. These are Top-down approaches, where government decisions try to overcome the disparity between the rich and the poor.

Bottom-up approaches are centered on the people, helping them to help themselves. Local communities are consulted about the best ways to improve their quality of life, and they together plan the best methods. The government offered incentives to encourage businesses like Grendene to move away from the core. In this case the shoe company Grendene, worth $100billion, moved to the North East. The Capital of Brazil used to be Rio de Janeiro but in 1960 the Brazilian government decided to build a new capital inland, Brasilia, in an effort to develop the interior of Brazil.

Brasilia acted like a magnet and changed migration patterns, and encouraged economic development in different areas. Many specific strategies were also implemented. Two regional development agencies were set up in 1959 called SUDENE and SUDAM, and they were responsible for managing the economic and social development of the country. SUDENE in the Northeast and SUDAM in the North; organized programmes such as; road building, the installation of power stations, building schools and developing ports. The work of SUDENE linked with the Northeastern pact of 1996 many improvements were made.

The infrastructure in terms of irrigation, energy supply, transport and communications were improved. Canals were formed to link up rivers, dams were built and the drinking water was improved. Also efforts were made to modernise agriculture, to promote subsistence farming and cottage industry, to avoid the worst effects of droughts. Beer brewing plants were moved from Rio de Janeiro to Cearo, the Antarctica and Kaiser breweries created new jobs and revenue. This followed other industries moving to the northeast to lower labour costs and tax breaks.

Also the state Maranhao has begun to attract companies from Taiwan, with and expected benefit of $1 billion. This move is to find cheaper labour and the abundance of raw materials in the area. Brazil now has a good tourism industry set up, with visitors coming to the beautiful locations along the north east coasts especially. Although progress has certainly been made, the regional programmes have not lived up to their entire expectations. Sustainable growth wasn't always considered and tax incentives made quick short term solutions.

Further development in the Northern areas of Brazil has meant huge areas of forest land have been cleared under the grounds of land improvement, but deforestation is posing a larger threat. Global climate change has resulted in stricter rules, which could hinder their progress. The increasing debt of the country has meant that there is less and less capital available for investment. The gap between the core and the peripheral regions in Brazil has certain closed a little but there is certainly more to be done.

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