An irony of Brazil's booming growth in recent years is that it has come while a critic of capitalism was at the helm. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva worried investors so much that the country was on the brink of default in 2002. He starts the second half of his last term with Brazil in perhaps the best economic condition it has ever enjoyed. Brazil has never had a higher credit rating and the stock market has increased its value 12 times over. Soaring prices for food and mineral exports allowed the economy to boom while Lula continued social spending.
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