VITORIA DE SANTO ANTAO, Brazil – Last year, Kraft built a gleaming new factory on the outskirts of this town in northeastern Brazil. When I visited it last month, my heart sank.
The state-of-the art, $80 million facility seemed to be yet another example of the inevitable shift of jobs from a declining America to emerging powers like Brazil, China and India.
When I looked closer, though, it was clear that the globalized economy at work here is not a zero-sum game. There are opportunities for Americans as well. We simply need to let Europeans teach us how to seize them.
After decades of poverty, northeastern Brazil is one of the fastest-growing regions in the country. The birthplace of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Pernambuco state is attracting hefty domestic and foreign investment.
The Brazilian government is constructing a new World Cup stadium here at a cost of $500 million, replete with hotels, shopping malls, apartment buildings and a university. State-run companies have hired 40,000 workers to construct one of the country’s largest refineries, port and shipyard complexes at a cost of $13 billion.