Sunday, June 10, 2007

Working for the Brazilian Government (dinner convo)

At dinner on Friday, the topic of what everyone was doing after college came up. Most of my friends are about 21 or 22 and will soon finish college. Some have specific fields they are interested in. Breno, for instance, does biology research but really wants to be a musician.

But Sete (the number seven, his nickname), ever the realist, made the statement of the day:
Here the top students all want to work for the government. It's there that they get to make the most money. The government controls the money, and the higher you go, the more opportunities to get a bigger share of it. It's the most prestigious job.

Prestigious? I couldn't believe it. I'm always curious about Brazilian's attitudes toward corruption. A common theme is that they think it's a natural part of the political process, and they also in my opinion overestimate the degree to which it happens in developed countries.

In the US we have blatantly obvious and legal corruption such as a lot of pork-barrel spending and a lot of spending in instances such as war and natural disaster. But in the US you don't see politicians taking $100 million in cash out of the ministry of energy.

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