I was in Sao Paulo last week ago. It was my first time in Brazil on business. (I have been as a tourist. Beautiful!) Before going, I had the impression that the environment was anti-capital and anti-business. This impression was formed as I researched a variety of topics on the internet related to a market entry project I am helping to coordinate. It was also based on a couple of conversations I had with US Department of Commerce staff. And finally, my interactions with the Brazilian visa authorities provided a further taint.
The reality I encountered in Brazil could not have been more different. I found a vibrant economy. A young and educated elite who were very excited by what was going on. And a remarkably consistent and cogent set of policies and regulations that are pro labor, rather than anti-business. An example is a 5.8% payroll tax that goes to a sort of technical college system that the companies can then tap. Given the controversy that surrounds the funding of the technical college system here in southeastern Wisconsin via a property tax, the Brazilian system seems eminently fair.