Hi, Heather. I will try to help you with some points that I have posted in other questions.
Well, Brasil is a Russia like nation: we have energetic sources (oil, gas, ethanol, bio diesel and uranium) and Brazil can be considered the number one in energetic resources, besides brazilian activists are trying to stop our nuclear program and closing our nuclear plants.
ENERGY AND NATURAL SOURCES:
Brazilian technologies in ethanol and biodiesel are pioneers and most advanced than that technology from the USA. Brazil has a program for development of alternative fuels since the early of 70's, but many people thinks that USA are helping Brazil given us money to plant sugar cane for being processed in the USA with "american techonology". Its is a misconception. I see cars moved by ethanol here since 1978!
Our economy is growing and the GDP (around 1.8 trillion dollars) is almost at level to belong the G7. Canada and Italia, to be more specific.
Brazilian families lives on apartments in the metropolis, but, a typical medium class families can be very different, in Rio, for example. Some of them, loves go to the beach. Parents do it at weekend. Teens, do it every day, if they can. Other families don't like it or can't do it, because they lives far from the beaches. In almost all the cases, TV is the main entertainment, but everybody has a videogame (playstation or any other) or a computer for fun. In other words: we pass the time like any other society of any other industrialized nation, because Brazilian midle class is strong and, you must pay attention to a important fact: imported goods are more expensive here than in the USA due brazilian import taxes.
It's funny to see in a hollywood movie when a "rich" talks about their 70,000 dollers Ferrari, while a Ferrari canot be sell for less than 1 million dollars, in Brazil.
A Fender guitar (stratocaster, for example) for sale by 400 dollars in the USA, costs more than 1,500 dollars in Brazil. A digital SLR camera which you can buy for 600 dollars in the USA, brazilans mut to pay, at least 1,200 dollars. All imported products are more expensive here than in the USA, and made in Brazil products cost almost the same of their equivalents made in USA.
Then, it's easy to be considered medium class or rich in the USA. I want to see you can buy the same things with the same amount of money in Brazil. So, brazilian medium class is largest or equivalent to medium class from the USA.
The best salaries are for managers, business men/women, publicitaries, experts in marketing, programmers and systems analists, TV anchors/reporters and hosts, designers, electronic/telecommunication engineers and tecnicians, DJs, videomakers, professional photographers and all that works in communication or business, special. The worst wages are for office workers, sellers, nurses, teachers, police men/women and others.
Some examples (all are incomes/month):
- Teacher (basic education): less than R$ 1.000,00 (US$ 625,00);
- Taxi driver: R$ 1.200 - 4.000 (US$ 750 - 2,500)
- Driver of company's director/president: R$ 1.615,43 to R$ 2.102,34 (US$ 1,000-1,300)
- Marketing Assistent: R$ 1.600,00-3.540,00 (US$ 2,180)
- Marketing manager/Director: R$ 12.000,00 - R$ 35.000 (US$ 8,000 - US$ 21,700)
- Designer: R$ 4.500 (US$ 2,8000)
- Art director (computer/cartoon) in a small/medium studio or agency: less than R$ 9.000 (US$ 5,500)
- Secretary (of manager/director/president): R$ 3.500 - R$ 5.100 (US$ 2,180 - 3,180)
- Export / import analyst: less than R$ 4.700,00 (US$ 2,900)
- Export / import manager: less than R$ 7.600,00 ( US$ 4,750)
- Account analyst: less than R$ 3.900,00 (US$ 2,470)
- Account coordinator: less than R$ 9.000,00 (US$ 5,600)
- Account controller: less than R$ 16.000,00 (US$ 10,000)
- PC (computer) technician: less than R$ 2.000,00 (US$ 1,200)
- Chief Technology Officer: R$ 11.000 - ? (US$ 6,870 - ?)
- Director of TI /network: R$ 16.000,00 (US$ 10,000)
- Systems manager: R$ 14.853 - 21.456,00 (US$ 9,280 - 13,410)
- Colonel / batallion commander (Police of Rio de Janeio State): R$ 8.000,00 (US$ 5,000)
- Federal agent: less than R$ 7.300,00 (US$ 4,500)
- Federal Marshall: R$ 13.000,00 (US$ 8,120)
- Judge / Deputy (congressist) / senator: R$ 25.000,00 (US$ 15,600)
- CEO/President of company: US$ 300,000 - 3,5 million (montly).
- Some TV hosts like these ( and ): more than US$ 1 million dollars (montly).
About trash/junk, brazilian society produces a medium of 125,000 tons/day (more than 46 million of tons a year). And, the great part of this, is plastic, electronics (you find complete PCs and televisons in the city dump) an rubble. This is a great problem for our ambientalists, but, on the other hand, Brazil is champion in recycling!
Our mechanical technology and industry is very developed. We are great manufacturer and consumer of cars. Occurs the same in terms of computers (hardware and software). We are the number one in cattle, soy, coffee and many other cultived products. Our farms works high a high level of technology. Our textile industry is very respected and our shoes are welcome in any nation, due the high quality. While most in the USA buy brazilian shoes, many women in Middle East - Emirates, Egypt, Moroco and Iran, among others - are wearing underpants (and they prefer that sexy thongs!) made in Brazil.
Brazilian fashion weeks - Rio and São Paulo - are among the most important and brazilian stylists became make sucess in Europe and United States, due, great part to the fame of brazilian top models. If women are one of the best in the whole World, why fashion is not as good as brazilian models?
Food industry is very developed in Brazil: cookies, cakes, bread, chocolate, candies, gums, and other, are exported to many nation. Yours, possibly.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY:
Brazil has also, a powerfull aeronautic industry and our own space program: we made some satelittes and launcher vehicle. Brazilian scientists are working in the main world projects in physics, like CERNE and Pierre Auger. We are among the most advanced in genetics, cloning and genome resources, for example.
Brazil is one of a few nations capable to project and build a submarine diesel or nuclear. Our naval industry is very developed and brazilian ships and yachts are as good as europeans.
Media is independent in Brazil. There's no control by government or hidden truths.
Journalism is very repected and the richest TV channels are as modern as CBS, ABC or CNN. Journalists have good structure to find information and to publish it. TV news are modern and good organized.
TV is the most important vehicle of communication but, Internet is a mania for brazilians, who are one of that passes more hours/week online.
Relationship sites are a 'must have' for brazilians. Orkut, a similar to MySpace is a place where brazilians rules. There are millions of brazilians. More than all the rest of the World and they begin to do the same in MySpace.
So, brazilians are well informed nad has a global vison.
Brazilian strategic pretensions must be compatible with our territory (largest than USA, if you include not Alaska), population (almost 200 millions) and economy. Brazil is not a smal island lost in Caribean Sea or Pacific Ocean.
In terms of international relations, Brazil gives example: we never was envolved with dirty wars and always looks for peace. Brazilian diplomats are requested to solve crisis due the brazilian typical ability to make friends and no enemies. Brazilian peacekeepers (troops) are in Haiti, but have been being in Bosnia, Timor and Egypt, among others.
The United States started the war on Iraq but the United Nations choosen a brazilian -Sergio Vieira de Mello - to coordinate the new democracy, and he was there until he died in a terrorist act.
I suggest you take a look in the CIA's factbook, compare our statistics with some so-called first world and developed nation to see that ww are not too much distant of them in many areas, and we are very close, equal or best in some other.