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Inequality and Social Mobility in Brazil
It is commonly believed that there is little or no social and economic mobility in developing societies, that immobility is indeed part of a larger picture of inequality. Certainly this view has been taken of Brazil, a rapidly developing capitalist society with one of the world’s most unequal patterns of income distribution. José Pastore’s landmark study,...
It is commonly believed that there is little or no social and economic mobility in developing societies, that immobility is indeed part of a larger picture of inequality. Certainly this view has been taken of Brazil, a rapidly developing capitalist society with one of the world’s most unequal patterns of income distribution. José Pastore’s landmark study, then, will evoke sharp debate and controversy among social scientists. Employing a massive and sophisticated primary database, he uncovers a surprising amount of mobility in contemporary Brazilian society. In fact, he postulates, the society’s inherent inequality is in large part related to the high degree of upward mobility of the Brazilian population. Particularly in the last three decades, the upward mobility of the middle classes, says Pastore, has “stretched” the Brazilian social structure, thus allowing for increased inequality. Pastore’s findings will prompt a reevaluation of many long-held economic and sociological tenets, not only concerning Brazil but also other rapidly developing capitalist societies. His work will also contribute significantly to the present political debate on capitalist growth strategies for Third World nations. Sociologists, economists, political scientists, development specialists, and all with an interest in contemporary Latin America will find Pastore’s work to be both a stimulating analysis and a rich source of data for further research.
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