31 January 2012

C'mon Brazil!

The intervals in posting are lengthening. Here’s why:

One, I feel like I’m repeating myself.

Two, it’s difficult to balance independent, investigative journalism with academic publications and some vacation.

Three, when a twenty story building collapses in the center of town what can one say other than to explain the obvious (not incidentally the motto of geostadia).

Four, it’s good to step back from the airwaves for a bit, let the readers off the intoxicating fragrance of my bewildering prose for awhile.  

Five, the time for planning book projects has arrived as the 29 month run in to the World Cup is not long for getting contracted, written and published. Edited volume anyone?

Wag: Why do Carioca women all wear heels downtown? Because they have to be on their toes.

Seven, I have found no defenders of McDonald’s in the business and marketing community via LinkedIn and no one has responded to the highly generalized charges of mal-practice and generalized destruction that I levied. It’s also true that I don’t want to seek them out very much as I know and have no patience for the marketeering song and dance they’ll give me. Not only do they drink the cool-aid, they manufacture it on a global scale.

Eight, I am hopefully not your only source of information about what is happening in Rio and Brazil.

Nine,  this free flowing font of useful information, much like the Xingú, cannot flow unimpeded to the sea forever.

Ten, though we flatter to deceive at geostadia, production time is high for uncertain returns. Comments are scarce, conversation about issues, nil. Readership is holding steady at 2,000 a month. The first visitor from Haiti has arrived, bringing to 130 the countries from which individuals have accessed geostadia. It would be interesting to know what the person who accessed the page from Poland yesterday has to say about the preparations for Euro 2012. 

Eleven, the incessant observation of the things gone wrong, commenting on the bungling, the egregious, the wrong and the absurd, is tiring and makes one grumpy. My next project will be to travel the world in search of those who have read my blog. This will alter the most perverse effects of social media by establishing personal relationships through the use and abuse of those very mechanisms. It will also show my impenetrable optimism to an incredulous world.


Angel Pereira said...

I check your blog about once a week. but the things with blogs is that is hard to have discussion because of the nature of the beast. But if you are ever in Philadelphia PA, a beer (or a few) for sure on me.

In a prior post you commented about tourist being able to buy tickets etc. via brazilian websites. I'm a big music collector and movies too and I buy from all over the world but brasil is a bit frustrating because of the CPF. many websites are set-up to purchase from the exterior and do the shipping etc. but once it gets to the CPF the sites lock-up if you dont have one thus eliminating your choices and possible deals. Something that should be so easily programmed, like creating a true:false statement saying if foreign/CPF=none or something along those lines. This is just a small tiny example of how things are not thought out. I'm from Puerto Rico and we have some of the very same problems. You in the country would know better, but are prices there just completely outragous? are is this inflation artificially inflated to show better economic numbers worldwide. Is killing me and seeing some of the prices in brasil are deflating my chances of going. Now I have to think about paying $67 reais for a Chico Buarque CD that can only be found there and being charged $32R of those $67 for shipping and looking it up and know that its the actual shipping. How are people surviving there with prices going up and up everyday?

Christopher Gaffney said...

Surviving the everyday is increasingly difficult. A friend of mine who has recently moved here from Paris keeps track of all the rediculous prices she finds in supermarkets. According to her, the only thing cheaper in Rio than Paris are taxis. It's staggering. Morrisey is playing here in a couple of weeks, the cheapest ticket to see this washed up 80s icon, US$120. Filling a small car with gas is around US$70-80, two new tires with alignment the other day set me back US$450. I don't know how people do it. Inflation is starting to heat up and it seems as if there are no limits to the PTs desire to privatize public services, which wil linevitably make things even more expensive. Those coming for 2014 are going to be in for a surprise!

Angel Pereira said...

how. it would be interesting to really compare prices there with those in the states for instance just to see how it compares. I go to the store buy some cereal, milk, bread and ham, not even cheese since its expensive too and maybe some orange juice and is so damn expensive. I don't drive but the gas station by me has the cheapest gallon for 3.85. I'm in a city but still pretty expensive and I have a government job. I could only imagine people in another country with maybe 1/30th or 1/40th of what I make in a year having to deal with it.

Chris, ever seen the documentary, Power Trip, some american company providing (or trying) to provide power and light to Georgia. Its interesting although I'm sure there are better ones out there. Privatization, especially of resources doesn't work because the economic structure and infrastructure is not there. You can't just eliminate so many people from having electrical power, or water etc., just because they can't afford it. Isn't that what governments are for, and why we accept the social contract so we are guaranteed a certain level of living not just surviving?

Does Brazil have autonomous states, or cities? That has been one of the most successful things in Puerto Rico, some municipalities are autonomous and thus have more freedom with their budgets, structure etc. Maybe I'm thinking too much like a commie, but with a country as large as Brazil as with as many problems, is it better to deconstruct some of the hierarchical government structures and do things at a more decentralized local level. You know, focus more on order and less on progress?

Christopher Gaffney said...

Thanks again for the comments Angela. I haven't seen Power Trip, but it sounds interesting. The issue of privatization in Brazil is a little different than in more "developed" contexts because the public sector services are really sometimes so bad that privitization (and opening for competition) is the only way to improve service. The inefficiency and slowness of Brazilian bureaucracy leaves much to be desired in terms of service provision, so while I am ordinarily for the maintenance of public services in the Brazilian case, some liberaliization is probably a good thing. That said, the manner in which the PPPs here are done is scandalous, literally, and the metro, train, and ferry systems are abusive in nearly every way imaginable. So, what to do? I don't know, but I would agree with your assessment that more order and less progress is a good way to think about re-organizing the city.

paigebattcher said...

Prof. Gaffney,

I'm so refreshed to see your number eleven here on this post. You've got the right idea, and I'd be willing to join you across the world to see the positive, optimistic potential of your dedicated use of social media. Keep your chin up. No matter the ugly --and you know I've seen it --these giant mega-events bring us hope of international peace in ways that are both superficial and real.

-Paige Battcher
USC, Masters in Planning


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