Brazil in the world: A ranking analysis of capability and status measures

Wayne A. Selcher, Elizabethtown College


International relations specialists conventionally consider Brazil as a typical, if large, non-petroleum-exporting Latin American country with consequently marginal relevance in global, and perhaps even regional, issues. Brazil’s candidacy for major power status is being taken seriously by government officials, businessmen, and academicians on several continents. Brazil is clearly one of the major agricultural nations of the world, so much so that, according to a US Department of Agriculture report, “No other country in the world produces a wider variety of agricultural products in significant quantities.” Brazil has been following a long-established pattern of using agricultural exports to gain foreign exchange for development projects, a strategy that was reaffirmed by the Third National Development Plan. Of essential significance to a national capabilities analysis are measures of basic and heavy industry, in which Brazil shows a clear pattern of advance relative to other economies on most items; several are within or approaching “top ten” status.