Em “American thirst and Chinese hunger as opportunities for Brazilian development”, artigo apresentado na Annual Meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society de 2009, ocorrida em Baltimore (EUA), mostro como a relação entre Brasil e EUA na cadeia mundial do café entre 1870 e 1930 (quando a cafeicultura era o motor do crescimento econômico do país) era mais favorável ao Brasil do que as relações entre Brasil e China na cadeia mundial da soja atualmente. Assim, para que, guardadas as devidas proporções, a sojicultura replique o desenvolvimento gerado pelo café no início do século XX, são necessárias políticas e estratégias de desenvolvimento específicas para este setor.
Resumo: “From the end of the nineteenth century until the 1930s the major economic activity in Brazil was the production of coffee for the world market. The expansion of this activity was associated with the emergence of the United States as the epicenter of capital accumulation in world scale. The U.S. was the main destination of Brazilian coffee. From 1851-55 to 1926-30, the Brazilian share of world coffee exports jumped from 53% to 91% while the American share of world coffee imports rose from 28% to 45%. Being coffee an important good of mass consumption, the expansion of its production in Brazil fuelled and was fuelled by capital accumulation in the United States. Through linkage effects, coffee production generated economic growth and supported industrialization in Brazil. In this sense, American thirst for coffee represented an opportunity for development in Brazil. This was, however, a limited opportunity, since profits in the coffee world market were not evenly distributed among actors of different nations and the profits that Brazil could make were not evenly distributed on the domestic level. Today, Brazil’s most important agricultural product for world markets is soy, mostly used to feed livestock, and its main destination is China, an emergent center of capital accumulation in world scale. In this article, our goal is to evaluate the opportunities for development in Brazil opened by the Chinese hunger for soy through a comparison with the opportunity presented by American consumption of coffee a century ago.”