Thursday, October 29, 2009

Speaking of Stadiums: Brazil Paying the Price

I noted in the previous post, the one about the stunning new stadium in Cape Town ... that I don't know if a country like South Africa really ought to be spending its money on things like that.

Well, the same goes for Brazil.

It's an emerging economy, and all, but it's not as if there's no poverty. (Check out the crime rate in Rio, if you wonder about impoverished masses.)

Now, we've got Brazil's state development bank opening a line of credit for $2.8 billion to the 2014 World Cup organizers to have 12 stadiums ready for the event. This story tells you about it.

The problems with that $2.8 billion?

1. Brazil said no public money would be used for stadiums, when it pitched its bid to FIFA. Now, FIFA almost certainly doesn't care where the money comes from, but it is dishonest and disingenuous for the bidders to have maintained that a country with zero FIFA-caliber stadiums would be able to find private money for 12 of them in time for 2014.

2. Brazil isn't exactly the richest country in the world. This site has them at No. 86 in the world in per capita income, at a modest $7,500. Leaving them behind countries such as Mexico, Malaysia, Botswana -- and even South Africa ($10,300).

Stadiums cost lots and lots of money. Money that could be used for, oh, food. Things like that.

But, in theory, Brazil will have some really nice stadiums, by 2014. Won't be able to eat them, may not be able to afford to get inside them, but poor people can look at them from a distance and ... be proud?
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