The life of the average Brazilian over the past year or so has been an emotional roller coaster to say the least. Against the background that ranges from ardent protests in response to fiscal policy to complete despondency when the Canarinho (Brazil’s beloved national team) unforgettably bowed out in the semi-finals of their own World Cup after a 7–1 massacre at the hands of the eventual champions, Germany, a crucial economic question has been brought into focus: why do governments subsidise mega-sports events and what type of economic impacts should the economy expect from such a decision?
When we walk into a major supermarket, some of us expect to fill our trolleys with nutritious food for the week ahead, but nowadays what we’re presented with is a plethora of products. Disregarding perhaps the periphery of the supermarket where the organic fruits and vegetables are, we’re presented with shelves upon shelves of pre-packaged products that no longer resemble food at all. There are aluminium cans of soft drink, fruit juice boxes that have undergone aseptic processing, foil chip packets filled with oxygen, and in the meat aisle we have identical cuts of bacon in vacuum-sealed plastic. Everything has been processed, packaged and with the help of marketing, made to look enticing and palatable. Sadly, a tomato is no longer a tomato – the marriage of economics, science and technology carries it from seed to plate in the most economically efficient manner. Many ‘food products’ today are mass-produced by large multinational corporations who prioritise efficiency, profits and turnover over the health of arguably their most important asset, their consumers.