When I first moved to Brazil there were many things that struck me about the place but one of the major differences I noticed after a few months here was Brazil’s inability to plan ahead.
Everything was done at the last minute. Even major events seemed to have been cobbled together overnight and simple problems that could have easily been avoided ended up causing great confusion because no one had thought of them beforehand.
Even social ocassions were a bit of a lottery. People wouldn’t turn up to dinner or they’d cancel at the last minute. Conversely, friends would call at 10pm on a Saturday night to see if I fancied going out.
Part of the reason is good old Brazilian spontaneity. That spontaneity, of course, is a consequence of the lack of advance planning.
The anthropologist in me likes to think the reason for this is because Brazil always had such abundance that locals never needed to worry about the future. There was always good food, clean water and more space than they knew what to do with. It was beautiful, too. Why worry about tomorrow when you’re having such a great time today?
I remembered this as I wrote this piece for today’s Financial Times blog on the decision to open trading on Banco do Brasil stocks on the same morning Brazil take on Holland in the World Cup quarter finals.
Traders on the Bovespa, the São Paulo stock exchange, are apparently a bit miffed they have to start trading on the $5.4 billion offer an hour before the game starts. The rest of Brazil will get a half day to watch the game and shops, banks, offices, factories and schools will all be closed. The traders have no such luck.
For the record, I think Brazil will squeeze past Holland and I say why in this Christian Science Monitor piece.
I can’t see it being a classic, though. The traders should rest easy. They won’t miss much. And they’ll get paid handsomely. They can use that cash to plan ahead…