A worker that earns the average Brazilian salary would need to work 40 minutes in São Paulo and 51 minutes in Rio to buy a Big Mac. In contrast, an average New Yorker would have to work mere 14 minutes to buy McDonald’s bestselling sandwich. The so-called Big Mac Index is only one of the instruments used by the Swiss bank UBS to illustrate the fluctuations of the purchasing power in several parts of the world.
São Paulo and Rio are, indeed, pricey cities. The disproportion is the same for other products. To buy 1 kilo of rice, for instance, you have to work 12 minutes in São Paulo, 15 in Rio and 8 in New York.
Still according to UBS – that systematically compares the cost of life in 73 cities – São Paulo got the 45th position and Rio the 48th in the last survey. This means they are more expensive than Prague, Bangkok, Beijing or Moscow. Naturally, there are fluctuations depending on the product or service you look at. Even if renting an apartment is expensive in Brazilian metropolis it cannot be compared to the exorbitant NY rentals. This explains why New York appears in the UBS study as the 6th most expensive metropolis.
Thomas Berner, an American economist that works for UBS on this study, says prices have been growing consistently in Rio and São Paulo in the last 10 years. The price of the products and service that the bank uses as a reference became aproximately135% more expensive in reais, the national currency, between 2000 and 2009. Berner was interviewed by G1, a website related to Globo, the main Brazilian news network. G1 chose the Honda Civic to illustrate this. The car costs around 15,000 dollars in the United States and 65,000 reais (35,000 dollars) in Brazil.
Once the average income didn’t grow proportionally, you have to work many more hours to keep buying the same. Consequence: the average paulistano may consume less than half what a New Yorker can purchase.
What is your experience? Do you find you find your purchasing power lower in Brazil?
The winter collections shown in this 16th edition of the Rio Fashion Week are, well, not particularly carioca (the city’s demonym). The 27 designers that participate in the event are in a very sober mood. Gray and black, Gothic and heavy metal elements intertwine – think of Wolverine, depressed.
One of the exceptions is Cantão’s collection, which offers all the color you can handle. You should also pay attention to Lucas Nascimento, a Brazilian that lives in London, that designed some very unconventional knitted pieces. Continue reading Rio Fashion Week→
Keep your eyes on José Padilha, the director whose movies dissect the social mechanisms that perpetuate violence and poverty. His latest work, “Garapa” (the sugar cane juice used to conceal hunger when one has nothing else to eat), will be representing Brazil at the Sundance Festival, the biggest showcase of independent movies. The film follows three starving families during a month. It is in black & white, has minimal interventions and no soundtrack. It obviously disregards mainstream moviegoers but those willing to pay to get depressed on the way to enlightenment.
Padilha´s films are consistently disturbing. His first feature as a director, “Bus 174” (Ônibus 174), recalls an episode where police intervention converted the robbery of a city bus into a tragedy.
Then, he produced “Estamira“, that depicts a schizophrenic woman who has lived for decades in a landfill in Rio. In 2007, he was widely acclaimed by “Elite Squad” (Tropa de Elite), the fictional portrait, in all hues of red, of the clashes between the police and dealers based in the favelas (shantytowns) of Rio. An estimate of 11 million people watched the pirate version of the movie – the rumour is that allowing piracy was part of its promotional strategy. It seems to have worked – it was a blockbuster in movie theaters and gave Padilha the Golden Bear of the Berlin International Film Festival.
Check this interview with Padilha on “Garapa” during the Tribeca Film Festival, in New York