- Posted May 29, 2014 by
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
THE WORLD CUP: EVEN IN WINNING, WE WILL NOT BE CHAMPIONS
Rio de Janeiro- Brazil
Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize winner in Economics, hit the nail right on the head when he said: "If you put the government in charge of running the Sahara Desert, within 5 years, sand will have gone missing" Since 2010, Brazil has invested R$ 825.3 billion in education and health. I really don’t know whether it’s little or whether it’s a lot; what I am sure of, is that these amounts are either insufficient or are being badly used. This is just one example of mismanagement of public money that is wasted by corruption and diluted by incompetence.
On the other hand, since 2007, Brazil has won the right to stage international events such as the Pan American Games, the World Military Games, Rio + 20 (United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development), the World Youth Games and the Confederations Cup. The challenges ahead will be the World Cup, the Olympics and the World University Games in 2019. All this is without even considering the visit to Brazil of Pope Francis and economic turnover generated by Rock in Rio. In a study conducted by Ernst & Young in partnership with the Getulio Vargas Foundation, it was estimated that the financial impact, with just the World Cup, will be R$ 142 billion by the end of 2014.
What is the relationship of essential services to the events mentioned? An institutional comment came from Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo: "Since Brazil won the right to host the World Cup, government investment in education almost tripled and that for health, more than doubled". This very incongruity, between political theory and pragmatic popular sentiment explains why, from the beginning of the organization of these events, recent waves of demonstrations have intensified. Since they are legitimate, protests are valid. They will also be fair whenever they demand a "FIFA standard" of collective behavior.
Organized social mobilization should be widely encouraged, but ingenuity is unforgivable. We must be careful so as not to raise flags typical of professionalized profiteers or post messages of the “I am against everything” kind, typical of political vandalism. These simply stifle reasoning and curtail coherence. They inhibit the sincere movement for transformation, contributing solely to terrorizing the future and maintaining harmful passivity. On the other hand, such pressing societal change prior to this, goes through reviews on individual attitudes. In the final analysis, all our rhetoric is inconsistent, if, as Brazilians, we burn "order" and we rip up the "progress" which are stamped on the symbols of our patriotism; and if, as citizens, we act as vigilantes beating the revolt in the peripheries of violence, smashing green signs of those who simply want to move forward and murdering healthy sports debate with flying toilet bowls. These should actually clean the budget overpricing from the stadiums. Or, powered by personal interests, act to "take advantage of everything," as a TV commercial proclaimed in the 70s, which starred Gerson, he of that famed left foot.
Undoubtedly, without question, the World Cup is not responsible for the ills that have afflicted us seemingly forever. And make no mistake: the growing disillusionment with public leaders and the deep discontent with basic services is not instantly solved by a simple “abracadabra”, for all the magic that we might have in the "Cup of all Cups".
The numbers really are impressive: R$ 17.6 billion was allocated to public works carried out in host cities. These will remain as a permanent legacy. For every R$ 1.00 invested by the public sector, R$ 3.40 will be invested by the private sector. According to the University of Sao Paulo Foundation for Economic Studies and Research, the 2013 Confederations Cup alone was worth R$ 10 billion and generated 303,000 jobs. The World Cup as a whole, will generate three times more, adding around R$ 30 billion to the Brazilian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2014, in addition to providing 3.6 million new jobs, equivalent to the giant Maracana stadium in Rio filled up 45 times.
Estimates are that, with the World Cup - the biggest media event on the planet, with 32 billion viewers in cumulative audience of all matches - Brazil will surpass numerous records. The World Cup Final will be watched by almost 50% of the world’s population and broadcast by nearly 400 television stations in 215 countries. 152,000 got signed up for the “Volunteer Program” and there were 11 million requests for tickets.
Actually, we are pulling together unpublished and even contradictory figures. Despite the insistent campaign on social networks of “#nãovaiterCopa”, (literally “there isn’t going to be a World Cup”), the Brazilian soccer team is the one most followed in the world of Twitter, and according to global vice president of micro blogging, Katie Jacobs Stanton, “we expect the World Cup final to break all records both in terms of volume of messages, as the number of people participating in conversations about the event." Brazil has also become the largest market of Panini, the publisher of the World Cup album for trading cards or “stickers”. As the comedian Jose Simao jokes, “the giant has awoken and is trading little figures." Forty million of them are printed daily. This year, the company expects to exceed 8 million collectors in Brazil and exceed 300 million trading cards sold. A record!
The World Cup goes far beyond the “joy of the people” and the many zeros of economic life:
#porcausadacopa (because of the World Cup) ... before each of the matches, billions of people will watch the message “For peace and against racism." On what other occasion would Brazil have to spearhead this noble and pertinent cause?
#porcausadacopa (because of the World Cup) ... an unprecedented campaign will stir the country: the "Caring Tour”. This is an initiative of Johnson & Johnson (official sponsor of the event), which will travel to the 12 host cities to make the largest campaign for blood donation in Brazil. The goal is to save “a Maricana of lives” – the equivalent of 80 thousand people.
#porcausadacopa (because of the World Cup) ... there will be specific measures for social inclusion: 50,000 workers who built the arenas will receive invitations to the show which will take place on the stage erected by them. About 10 % of all tickets will be available at R$ 30.00 for specific social and age groups.
#porcausadacopa (because of the World Cup) ... at the first game of the World Cup in the Itaquerão Stadium in Sao Paulo, fans will also witness one of the most exciting and recent technological advances made in medicine: the initial kickoff will be a made by a paraplegic, who will take six steps. The feat is only possible thanks to the work of the Brazilian neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis, who developed a mechanical exoskeleton capable of giving back movements to people with physical limitations through data from the person's own brain commands.
#porcausadacopa (because of the World Cup) ... this will be the World Cup of environmental sustainability since for the first time in history, one of the games will be played out in a location with a fully operational power plant: the Solar Photovoltaic at the Mineirão Stadium (in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais).
Yes, # vaiterCopa (there’s going to be a World Cup). This time, even in winning their sixth title out on the actual field, Brazil won’t entirely be a champion, but at least there is the hope that the country can learn the lessons and leave the ICU. Now it’s time to put on that famous canary yellow jersey (of the Brazilian national soccer team) and let the ball roll!