Gilberto Costa Reporter Agência Brasil
Brasília - – The recent decision by the Brazilian government to stimulate growth through consumption is a repetition of the recipe that was successfully used in 2009. However, the sociologist, Cláudia Sciré points out that the resulting increase in consumption in the lower social classes rearranged familial relations. The relationship between husband and wife shifted, as did that between parents and children. In each case, the latter element in the equation gained more power in decisions on consumption. One of the reasons was the fact that husbands, old consumers, so to speak, had already acquired debts and bad credit records, while wives and children, new consumers, had clean credit records.
Sciré points out that in spite of the positive economic and social effects that access to credit can have, it can have undesirable consequences in the lives of the recently poor. “Overnight, so to speak, these people have to deal with financial mechanisms that are very complicated even for people accustomed to them. People get confused. Installment payments may be small but the total cost is two or three times what a person makes. They get in debt, their lives are overshadowed by payment deadlines. There are grave consequences. They live in a time horizon that stretches only to the next monthly payment.”
Fabio Giambiagi, an economist, says growth based on domestic consumption has run into a wall. Domestic growth has slowed and the loss of rhythm is due in part to indebtedness by Brazilian families.
“The big difference in indebtedness in Brazil and elsewhere is the enormous hurdle that home ownership represents. My impression is that further indebtedness is not a good idea,” concluded Giambiagi.
Allen Bennett – translator/editor The News in English
Link - Endividamento de consumidores e “financeirização da pobreza” preocupam especialistas