The transition from authoritarian to democratic government in Brazil unleashed profound changes in government and society that cannot be adequately understood from any single theoretical perspective. The great need, say Graham and Wilson, is a holistic vision of what occurred in Brazil, one that opens political and economic analysis to new vistas. This need is answered in The Political Economy of Brazil, a groundbreaking study of late twentieth-century Brazilian issues from a policy perspective.
The book was an outgrowth of a year-long policy research project undertaken jointly by the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, both at the University of Texas at Austin. In this book, several noted scholars focus on specific issues central to an understanding of the political and economic choices that were under debate in Brazil. Their findings reveal that for Brazil the break with the past—the authoritarian regime—could not be complete due to economic choices made in the 1960s and 1970s, and also the way in which economic resources committed at that time locked the government into a relatively limited number of options in balancing external and internal pressures.
These conclusions will be important for everyone working in Latin American and Third World development.
Lawrence S. Graham is Professor Emeritus of Government at the University of Texas at Austin.
Robert H. Wilson is Associate Dean for Research and Mike Hogg Professor of Urban Policy at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin.