chapter  33
16 Pages

Bureaucracy and Development in the Brazilian Northeast, 1880-1964

WithZirker Daniel

The development of Northeast Brazil, a huge region of 1.5 million square kilometers and more than 40 million people, was the explicit administrative goal of a number of Brazilian public agencies between 1880 and 1964. It represented in some key respects an early and unique case in Latin America of an emphasis upon the bureaucracy as a central agent of regional and national development. The formal development of the Northeast, and hence the gradual emergence of inchoate bureaucratic goals, began during the Brazilian Empire, 1822-1889. The primary influence of the IFOCS was the stimulation of what subsequently would be referred to as the “hydraulic approach” to Northeast regional development, the damming of rivers and building of reservoirs. The commissioning of the SUDENE in late 1961, as an “autonomous” agency immediately subordinate to the Brazilian president, specified its largely technical and supportive role.