Home Institution

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Publication Date

Fall 2010

Program Name

Brazil: Social Justice and Sustainable Development


The global capitalist model produces economic centers and peripheries on many scales. In Fortaleza, Brazil this pattern is evident, with the majority of the wealth and capital concentrated in central neighborhoods. As one travels to the edge of the municipality, one encounters economically and socially marginalized communities. One of these communities, Conjunto Palmeira, has attempted to mollify this exclusion by imagining and exploring new modes of existing and finding economic growth outside of the capitalist model. In 1998, the residents created Banco Palmas, a community bank. Operating under the philosophies of economic solidarity, Banco Palmas offers microcredit loans, circulates a social currency, and promotes positive community interactions and local ethics through a variety of social programs. Though the bank works with alternative economies, it interacts with capitalism on a daily basis. This interaction raises potential problems. If the bank devotes time, energy, and resources to individuals who will continue to reflect the values of economic solidarity and be transformative agents both within and outside the neighborhood, the bank has made a good investment. If, on the other hand, many of the individuals use what they have gained through the bank to focus on their own goals and futures in or outside of the community and economic solidarity, it must constantly re-invest in the process of keeping its values and ideas alive in the community. In order to address this problem, I investigated two youth and young-adult development programs of Banco Palmas: Bate Palmas and Bairro Escola de Trabalho. I will ask: In what capacity do the values of the economic solidarity movement, such as local ethics, stay with young adults, even if their futures enmeshed in ‘normal’ capitalist economic activities?


Civic and Community Engagement | Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations | Finance and Financial Management | Growth and Development | Inequality and Stratification | Organizational Behavior and Theory | Politics and Social Change | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Work, Economy and Organizations



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