[Marxism] Brazil - The Green vs. the Brown Amazon

Dbachmozart at aol.com Dbachmozart at aol.com
Tue Nov 6 18:57:10 MST 2007


 
Review
The Green vs. the Brown Amazon
By _John Terborgh_ (http://www.nybooks.com/authors/203) 
The Last Forest: The Amazon in the Age of  Globalization
by Mark London and Brian Kelly
Random House, 312 pp., $25.95 
One of the first things any Brazilian tells a foreigner is that Brazil is  
really two countries: the south and the north. With a highly educated population 
 of predominantly European origin, the south, with its two great cities of 
Rio de  Janeiro and São Paulo, is becoming an agricultural and industrial 
superpower,  producing computers and advanced pharmaceuticals and exporting large 
numbers of  jet aircraft to the US. Brazil has attained world-class status in 
forestry,  ranching, and agriculture. Even more significant for the future is 
that largely  through the use of biofuels, such as alcohol derived from sugar 
cane, it is one  of the few countries in the world to have achieved 
self-sufficiency in energy.  When oil reaches $100 a barrel, Brazil will be sitting 
pretty. 
The north, in truth, is another country in all but political geography. A  
mostly non-European population languishes in poverty and illiteracy. With the  
exception of the largest cities, the north is saddled with the vestiges of a  
feudal past. Descendants of African slaves crowd the northeast whereas people 
of  mixed African, European, and indigenous origin populate the huge region 
centered  on the Amazon River and its tributaries—a region known simply as the 
Amazon.  Since the days of the conquistadores, the Amazon has never had a stable 
economy.  Cycles of boom and bust have encouraged a get-rich-quick mentality 
and lack of  allegiance to place. 
After five centuries of ignoring the north, powerful interests in the south  
have recently taken interest in the resources of the Amazon, precipitating a  
paroxysm of change in the north that will affect the entire world. Politics 
will  guide the course of change but how, and for what reasons, remains 
uncertain, for  internal and external forces are pulling in opposite directions. 
Internal  forces, large corporations among them, overwhelmingly favor rapid 
development of  the Amazon—expansion of the logging, mining, and agricultural 
frontiers. By  contrast, those concerned with the world environment view the "loss" 
of the  Amazon as an impending global tragedy. They want to find ways to 
sustain the  vast forest, and with it, an unrivaled wealth of biological diversity, 
hundreds  of indigenous tribes, and, of increasing importance, the vast store 
of carbon  contained in the Amazon's trees. 
full article - 
<_http://www.nybooks.com/articles/20819_ 
(http://www.nybooks.com/articles/20819) >



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