“We don’t need the World Cup. We need health and education,” hand-written placards say during the recent demonstrations against the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Envisaged to give Brazil’s economy a second wind, the spiraling costs of building modern-day temples has caused a veritable storm. While the protests have diminished in recent weeks and the beautiful game has taken over, the questions facing Brazilian society remain the same: Where and how is money spent in Brazilian society?
In Brazilian cities such as Porto Alegre citizens were allowed to democratically decide how their tax money was spent, and how their public services run through ‘participatory budgeting’ at the beginning of this century. Today, Lula’s successor Dilma Rousseff and her left-wing Workers’ Party (PT) have turned from people’s power to the power of hosting mega-events for the one per cent. And the FIFA and the IOC dictate their budgets – even beyond the gates of the Maracana Stadium. The human cost involved should not come as a surprise.