World Regional Geography: Brazil
A country’s social, economic and political stability contribute significantly to the wellbeing of its populace. Notably, the preceding factors have a direct influence on the livelihood of the population. In the recent past, individuals are placing great emphasis on living quality lifestyles. Increasingly, nation states are being legally obliged to provide their populations with sufficient resources and infrastructure to attain healthy living. Just like other countries, Brazil’s government plays an instrumental role in safeguarding the holistic welfare of its population. It is against this background that this paper provides an in depth analysis of the geophysical, cultural environmental, political and economic wellbeing of the country. The main aim of the study is to determine its viability for modern day human settlement as well as economic exploration.
The physiographic of Brazil is all encompassing including important aspects pertaining to the country’s geographical area, land forms, climate and biodiversity. With respect to the size of the country, Brazil covers a significant 3,265,059 square miles (Fusto 52). This translates to close to 8,456,511 square kilometres. Globally, it is the largest nation in the entire continent. With respect to land forms and physical features, the nation is endowed with unique features including the Brazilian plateau that is located in the southern region and the Amazon River Basin that is found in the North. Geographically, it cannot be disputed that Brazil is diverse.
In addition to the plateau and Amazon basin, its topography is characterized by scrublands, plains, mountains and hills (Fusto 50). The country also has a complex and dense network of rivers. The drainage basins which drain their water in the Atlantic are eight in total. With respect to its climate, this is varied and greatly depended on the topography of the regions therein. However, most of the country tends to experience tropical climate conditions. In his research, Bellos indicates that the country is characterized by five main climatic subtypes (61). These include subtropical, tropical, equatorial, temperate, highland tropical and semiarid.
With regard to the biodiversity of this nation, it comprises of a host of ecosystems and diverse biodiversity. The characteristic natural habitats such as the Amazon rainforest, the Cerrado and Atlantic forest support this wide ranging biodiversity. Scientific estimates indicate that the total animal and plant species in the country can be more than four million. Currently, the population of Brazil is estimated to be 205,716,890 (Bellos 69). Its growth rate is 1.1% while life expectancy is 72.79. Density of inhabitants per square kilometre on the other hand is twenty two (Bellos 71). A significant 84% of these occupy urban areas. Surveys indicate that this population heavily occupies the north-eastern and south-eastern regions.
With reference to the history of the nation, it was Portugal’s colony from 1500 to 1815 after which it was promoted to kingdom ship. It gained its independence in 1822 and formed a unitary state that was governed by parliamentary system and constitutional monarchy. In 1889, it elevated into a presidential republic through a military coup. Later on in 1988, it formulated a constitution that is still used to date. In this, the nation is defined as a federal republic. The federation consists of 5,564 municipalities and twenty six states (Bellos71). Historical evidence ascertains that Brazilian culture is heavily borrowed from Portugal. This is attributable to the very strong colonial ties that it shares with Portuguese Empire. It is referred to as Capoeira and is equally influenced by indigenous cultures, African cultures and other European traditions (Malathronas 66). Specific aspects of Brazilian culture are also influenced by Italians, Japanese, Arabs and German immigrants who occupied some Brazilian regions initially.
Officially, Portuguese language is used by the inhabitants for communication. Also, its sign language that is referred to as LIBRAS is acceptable and even taught at different levels by the education system (Malathronas, 72). Its institutionalization in the constitution was informed by the need to ensure social inclusion of the deaf. The main religion practiced by the inhabitants is Roman Catholicism. Nonetheless, with the rise of the protestant community, a part of the population practices relative religions. Notable denominations include Baptist, Pentecostal, Seventh – day Adventist, Evangelical, Reformed churches and Lutheran (Malathronas 79). In essence, it cannot be disputed that the Brazilian population is richly spiritual and acknowledges the influence of the Higher Power.
With respect to Brazilian governance, distinct spheres include municipalities, Federal districts, the States and the Union. The federal Union is declared by the constitution to be indissoluble and is grounded on five basic principles. These include citizenship, human dignity, and social values pertaining to freedom of enterprise and labour, political pluralism and sovereignty. The constitution also formally recognizes the distinct branches of government including the judiciary, executive and legislature. The governance acknowledges democracy and supports multi-party practices. Populations are allowed to vote during elections. The elective president serves for a term of four years and can be re-elected back in office.
Sustainable governance of Brazil has been compromised by corruption. In is research, Bellos cites that corruption is a social problem that affects various government institutions (41). This has had negative effects on the growth of the nation. In particular, transparency and accountability are not fully upheld by the entire government departments. This can be used to explain why there have been incidences of unrest by labour movements in the nation. In order to counter this, certain check systems have been put in place to oversee the functioning of the three branches of the government (Malathronas 31)
The economic wellbeing of Brazil is mixed and very stable. It is furnished by a host of natural resources that are explored by the nation to support the livelihoods of the populations. In the recent past, it has greatly developed its industries including service sectors, mining, manufacturing and agricultural. In addition, it has a very large labour pool to provide services to the industries in the form of skills and knowledge. In Latin America, it has the largest economy and globally, is ranked the sixth largest. According to the International Monetary Fund, Brazil rates the seventh largest with respect to purchasing power parity. Current trends indicate that in the near future, Brazil is likely to be rated amongst the top five strongest world economies (Schneider 52).
Its export sector is booming and relative products range from aircrafts, automobiles, textiles and electrical equipment to iron ore, soya beans, orange juice and corned beef. Currently, its main currency is the US Dollar. Although the change exposed it to a notable financial crisis, it soon overcame it and stabilized before the beginning of the century. Brazil places great emphasis on technological research. The government greatly supports relative efforts by financing the respective researches. This has been instrumental in promoting economic growth. Globally, the state is currently rated the fifth with respect to consumption of energy. Although this has greatly supported the economy of the nation, it has equally led to various environmental concerns.
One of the common economic problems that are experienced by the nation includes unsustainable foreign debt (Fusto 51). In this respect, Brazil’s financial debt poses a host of problems to its future population. The nation reportedly borrows heavily from the World Bank and other important financial institutions in a bid to finance its operations and economic activities. A significant percentage of the population have expressed their fears with respect to its ability to service the debt in a sustainable manner. This issue has not been effectively addressed and remains both controversial and thorny in the economic sphere.
The current environmental problems greatly threaten the heritage of Brazil. Economic activities including cattle ranching, mining, logging, extensive and intensive agriculture, gas and oil extraction and so forth have had negative implications on its environment. According to Schneider, some of the environmental problems that the nation currently grapples with include air pollution, water contamination, invasive species, and wildfire and climate change (83). In essence, its environmental wellbeing is threatened by the developments that it pursues. Extension of the road network through construction of various highways has seemingly opened up remote areas that were conserved. As a result, economic activities such as agriculture are being practiced in this region. Coupled with settlement in these regions, this has culminated in pollution as well as scarring of the landscape that was initially conserved. Furthermore, it has led to loss of important natural species through extinction.
In sum, the general stability of a nation greatly influences the decisions pertaining to whether to settle in the respective state or not. Fundamentally, individuals prefer states that are stable and which provide opportunities for individual growth and development. As it has come out from the study, Brazil has a large geographical area and is currently the largest in the entire continent. It has a host of landforms including a plateau and a river basin. Equally, it has a very huge population that is concentrated at the south and north. Historically, it gained independence in 1822 and from the Portuguese Empire. This can be used to explain why the Portuguese culture permeates the nation. In this regard, the population speak the dominant Portuguese language and practice Roman Catholicism religion.
Seemingly, Brazil is a democratic state that acknowledges the presidential system of governance. Its economy is mixed and very stable. It is among the world’s topmost exporters of automobiles and air craft. Notably, the nation’s economic prosperity is compromised by incidences of corruption that are apparent in government departments. From an economic point of view, unsustainable foreign debt also prevents an upward growth of Brazil. Furthermore, it experiences certain environmental concerns that stem from the intensive and extensive economic activities that it engages in. Nonetheless, Brazil provides numerous opportunities for financial investment. These are apparent in its economic facet. The emerging industries, technological inventions and economic stability offer viable opportunities for financial investment by an average person. From a personal point of view, I would like to reside in this nation and benefit optimally from the resources and opportunities it offers.
Bellos, Alex. Futebol: The Brazilian way of life. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2003. Print.
Fusto, Boris. A concise history of Brazil. Cambridge: University Press, 199. Print.
Malathronas, John. Brazil: life, blood, soul. Chichester: Summersdale, 2003. Print.
Schneider, Ronald. Brazil: Culture and politics in the new economic powerhouse. Boulder: Westview, 1995. Print.
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