• 8 hours Tech Billionaire Takes Aim At Google
  • 10 hours Chinese Police Bust Largest Ever Illicit Crypto Mining Operation
  • 13 hours Expect A Pullback Before Gold's Next Major Rally
  • 15 hours Why Interest On Gold Matters
  • 1 day Ten Extravagant Food Items For The Wealthy Only
  • 2 days Why Saudi Arabia Won't Give Up On The Aramco IPO
  • 2 days $32 Million Crypto Heist Halts Tokyo Exchange
  • 3 days Is A Gold Selloff Looming?
  • 3 days Central Banks Are Stashing Gold And Dumping Treasuries
  • 4 days Three Cannabis Trends Flying Under Investors’ Radars
  • 4 days $1.3 Billion In Cocaine Found On JPMorgan Vessel
  • 4 days Amazon Teams Up With Lady Gaga To Win Over Generation Z
  • 5 days Dollar Falls As Powell Teases Rate Cuts
  • 5 days Will The World's First Trillion Dollar Company Ever Bounce Back?
  • 5 days Many Americans Will Never Stop Working
  • 5 days Mozilla vs DarkMatter: The Cyber Espionage End Game
  • 6 days Chile Cracks Down On Environmental Infractions
  • 6 days Warning Signs Emerge For Boeing
  • 6 days First Amendment Stands Strong In Trump vs. Twitter Showdown
  • 6 days Musk Bullish On Tesla Despite Executive Exodus
Billionaires Are Pushing Art To New Limits

Billionaires Are Pushing Art To New Limits

Welcome to Art Basel: The…

Market Sentiment At Its Lowest In 10 Months

Market Sentiment At Its Lowest In 10 Months

Stocks sold off last week…

John Rubino

John Rubino

John Rubino edits DollarCollapse.com and has authored or co-authored five books, including The Money Bubble: What To Do Before It Pops, Clean Money: Picking Winners…

Contact Author

  1. Home
  2. Markets
  3. Other

When It Rains It Pours, Part 1: What Did Brazil Do To Deserve This?

If 2015 was a year Brazil would like to forget, 2016 is doing its best to make that happen. But, alas, not in the way Brazilians might hope.

To recap, last year a corruption scandal erupted that crippled the country's oil giant Petroleo Brasileiro and threatened to topple the government. The stock market tanked, the real was one of the world's worst performing currencies, inflation hit double digits and the economy tipped into recession.

But this year -- while all of the above is still festering -- an African mosquito-borne virus that causes birth defects has arrived and gone exponential:

Zika virus spreading 'explosively', says World Health Organisation

(Guardian) - The World Health Organisation has convened an emergency committee to discuss the "explosive" spread of the Zika virus, which has been linked to thousands of birth defects in Latin America.

"Last year the disease was detected in the Americas, where it is spreading explosively," Margaret Chan, the WHO director general, said at a special briefing in Geneva. It was "deeply concerning" that the virus had now been detected in 23 countries in the Americas, she added.

One WHO scientist estimated there could be 3 to 4 million Zika infections in the Americas over the next year.

The spread of the virus has prompted governments across the world to advise pregnant women against going to the areas where it has been detected. There is no vaccine or cure for Zika, which has been linked to microcephaly, a serious condition that can cause lifelong developmental problems.

Chan said: "The level of alarm is extremely high. Arrival of the virus in some cases has been associated with a steep increase in the birth of babies with abnormally small heads."

Brazilian authorities estimate the country could have up to 1 million Zika infections by now, and since September, the country has registered nearly 4,000 cases of babies with microcephaly.

The Zika outbreak and spike in microcephaly cases have been concentrated in the poor and underdeveloped north-east. But the south-east, where Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are located, is the nation's second hardest-hit region. Rio de Janeiro is of particular concern, since it will host the Olympic games this summer.

The Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, has pledged to wage war against the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads the virus, focusing on getting rid of the insect's breeding grounds.

Unfortunately -- as Brazil's luck would have it -- this is an el Niño year, which generally brings heavy rains that multiply the pools of standing water in which mosquitoes can breed. Just in time for hundreds of thousands of Olympic athletes, fans and news media to arrive a few months hence.

At the risk of veering off into New Age metaphysics, Brazil's plight illustrates a life lesson that the world forgot during the post-1971 Money Bubble: The less well-prepared you are for disaster, the more likely the universe is to send one your way. Keep current with your insurance and accumulate lots of free cash and you're unlikely to need it. But max out your credit cards (or explode the national debt in the case of countries) and you can be sure the proverbial roof will spring a leak.

Brazil (which over-spent and over-borrowed in response to the Great Recession while apparently giving in to the temptation to steal billions from taxpayers) is today's object lesson. But it's probably too late for other major countries to heed the warning and adjust their behavior accordingly. The US, Japan, and Europe are all pitifully unprepared for their day in the rain. And -- given the universe's sense of irony -- their turn is coming.

 

Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment