By Alex Cuadros
In 2012, Brazilian mogul Eike Batista used to be the 8th richest guy on the planet, his $30bn fortune outfitted on Brazil's excellent typical assets. by way of the center of 2013 he had misplaced all of it, engulfed in scandal.
Brazillionaires is a fast paced account of Batista's upward push and fall: a narrative of helicopter flights, beach-front penthouses and high-speed motor vehicle crashes. alongside the way in which, it tells the parallel tale of Brazil itself, a rustic stuck within the cycle of increase and bust, renewed wish and dashed promise; a rustic the place the hyper-rich are on the middle of the economic climate - and the place their wealth should buy big political power.
Stefan Zweig acknowledged in 1941 that Brazil was once the rustic of the long run; Brazilians funny story that it usually could be. this present day, rampant corruption and endemic inequality threaten to derail the recent Brazilian Dream. The brazillionaires are the most important to realizing that dream; via them Brazillionaires tells the tale in their country's earlier, current and destiny.
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Extra resources for Brazillionaires: The Godfathers of Modern Brazil
My godfather told me about a malandro nicknamed O Cagão—The Big Turd—who seduced a whole town’s married women yet always skirted retaliation from their husbands. The malandro’s talent is jeitinho. If jeito means “way,” then jeitinho is the “little way” around society’s rules. A word like that suggested a culture very different from the one I’d grown up with. I was hooked; I wanted to learn more. IN 2008 I QUIT my job at a publishing house in New York. My girlfriend had broken up with me, and I decided to take off backpacking around South America.
To help support the family, he quit school early and sold oranges and peanuts on the docks. When he was nine, he and his mother and some of his seven siblings moved in to the back room of a bar on São Paulo’s outskirts, and he worked at a dry cleaner’s and shined shoes. Then at fourteen he got a job in an auto parts factory. Foreign carmakers then were churning out cars. He made a decent living, but it was hard work under bad conditions, and by his own admission he sometimes swigged cachaça on breaks.
On the eve of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, the country sank into crisis—a familiar predicament, but one that many, including Eike, had believed to be a thing of the past. What I found in Eike wasn’t just a story of fantastic wealth creation and destruction and a man of almost pathological charisma. Eike also seemed to embody all the tensions and contradictions in the way we think about the role of wealth in society. Like people in a lot of countries, Brazilians are trying to figure out the right balance between economic growth and equality, between government action and private initiative.