Minimum Wage: The Sugar Cane Industry In Brazil

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Typical sugarcane worker during the harvest season, São Paulo state. Sugarcane has had an important social contribution to the some of the poorest people in Brazil by providing income usually above the minimum wage, and a formal job with fringe benefits. (Edward Smeets; et al. 2006). (Macedo; et al. 2007). Formal employment in Brazil accounts an average 45% across all sectors, while the sugarcane sector has a share of 72.9% formal jobs in 2007, up from 53.6% in 1992, and in the more developed sugarcane ethanol industry in São Paulo state formal employment reached 93.8% in 2005. (Macedo; et al. 2007). Average wages in sugar cane and ethanol production are above the official minimum wage, but minimum wages may be insufficient to avoid poverty.…show more content…
Some environmentalists, such as George Monbiot, have expressed fears that the marketplace will convert crops to fuel for the rich, while the poor starve and biofuels cause environmental problems. (George Monbiot. 2004). Environmental groups have raised concerns about this trade-off for several years. (Michael Grunwald. 2008). (European Environmental Bureau. 2006). (Planet Ark. 2005). (Greenpeace UK. 2007). The food vs fuel debate reached a global scale in 2008 as a result of the international community's concerns regarding the steep increase in food prices. On April 2008, Jean Ziegler, back then United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, called biofuels a "crime against humanity". (Emilio San Pedro. 2008). A claim he had previously made in October 2007, when he called for a 5-year ban for the conversion of land for the production of biofuels. (Lederer, Edith. 2007). Also on April 2008, the World Bank's President, Robert Zoellick, stated that "While many worry about filling their gas tanks, many others around the world are struggling to fill their stomachs. And it's getting more and more difficult every day." (Larry Elliott and Heather Stewart. 2008). (Steven Mufson. 2008). Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva gave a strong rebuttal, calling these claims "fallacies resulting from commercial interests," and putting the blame instead on U.S. and European agricultural subsidies, and a problem restricted to U.S. ethanol produced from maize. The Brazilian President has also claimed on several occasions that his country's sugar cane–based ethanol industry has not contributed to the food price crises. (Julia Duailibi. 2008). (Raymond Colitt. 2008). A report released by Oxfam in June 2008. (Oxfam. 2008-06-25). Criticized biofuel policies of rich countries as neither a solution to the climate crisis nor the oil crisis, while contributing to the food price crisis. The report concluded

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