Top 10 Things Brazil must improve – 3. Encourage smart gringos to help.

timetolistenBrazil needs a lot of help. It has needed a lot of help for a very long time. But the people in power are having such fun they certainly do not want to be told what to do by a bunch of gringos, even when it could save the country billions, help the poor, save the rainforest and conserve natural resources (because the people in power don’t care about these things).

In fact, I can understand this attitude – at least up to a point: everyone should be allowed to make their mistakes, and let’s face it all the so-called developed nations have made enough of them over the years. So I understand. I get it. However, this ongoing, unflagging hubris is now destroying Brazil – and the question has to be asked – at what point should one accept help? Why would you want to recreate the wheel, when there are so many people out there with the experience to help you avoid it? Why waste so much money, so much time, so many lives, committing avoidable mistakes, just because you are too proud to accept help? The fact is that in many ways Brazil is a land of children, who act – at least collectively – in a childlike manner, and whose vision and understanding is childlike (there is only today; a thing worth doing is worth doing badly; it’s my ball and I’ll make the rules…I’m putting my fingers in my ears and humming loudly so I can’t hear people saying “there is a better way!”). Is it not now time to grow up?

I believe it is, and I would suggest that it is time to open immigration to anyone of any race, creed or culture who has experience and qualifications that can benefit Brazil. Further, they should be actively encouraged – welcomed – listened to (critically, of course, but listened to). There are hundreds of examples of Brazil spurning advice and action which could help the country, simply because people won’t listen; don’t want to be told. A look at the list of “reserved occupations” is some indication, but a minor one which is very close to my heart is in many ways an exemplification of the issue.

There is a system in Brazil whereby translations for any bureaucratic purpose have to be done by a registered translator. The qualification for this exalted post basically boils down to knowing the right people, and it is widely acknowledged that most registered translators are pretty useless. I recently had occasion to correspond with a government department that has produced translation after translation that makes a laughing stock of the place. I offered to help  –  for nothing – to ensure that the translations in question would be of a higher and a more consistent quality, to which the response was “no need to worry yourself gringo, we are having everything done by a registered translator.”  Well there we are, then:  f*ck you very much (fingers in ears, humming  the national anthem very loudly).

So I would suggest that at the very least, the country should relax immigration restrictions for smart cookies (actually, for pretty much anyone – the money is needed), and develop an exchange programme where people on the outside come to show Brazil why it is a total mess and offer some suggestions to help it sort itself out, while smart Brazilians get an opportunity to work abroad in some of the institutions that have benefitted from hundreds of years of experience to become a serious force in global politics or economics or sociology or ecology…or whatever.

In short, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that it is time for Brazil to grow up, take responsibility for its actions, and learn how to listen to people who know better (and indeed to develop the critical faculties to identify those who do not).

See the original top 10 things here.

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