“这应该是巴西的荣耀时刻，”康奈尔大学(Cornell University)约翰逊商学院(Johnson School)管理学高级讲师、新书《一个新兴全球大国的政治经济学：追寻巴西梦》(The Political Economy of an Emerging Global Power: In Search of the Brazil Dream)的作者之一卢尔德•卡萨诺瓦说。“巴西有机会展示，除了桑巴舞、狂欢节和海滩之外，他们还有许多独特之处。过去，中国、日本和韩国都曾经以举办体育盛事为契机，告诉全世界，‘我们来了，我们是你们中的一员。一个拥有体面基础设施的发达国家。’”
但鉴于世界杯准备阶段出现了大规模的建设工期延误，这种讯息听起来似乎越来越空洞。巴西《圣保罗页报》(Folha de S. Paulo)日前报道称，距离开赛不到一个月之际，大多数预期完成的项目还没有交工。受工期超时影响的建设工程包括机场交通系统、快速公交车道、以及至少三个场馆项目。
交工期限的压力往往会增加施工企业偷工减料的风险，进而导致不安全和不人道的工作条件。“举办这类大型活动时，出现强迫劳动和奴隶般工作条件的可能性总是存在的，”联合国国际劳工组织(ILO)打击强迫劳动特别行动计划(Special Action Programme to Combat Forced Labour)负责人贝亚特•安德里斯这样说道。
Is Brazil ready for the limelight?
Organizing the 2014 World Cup is assured to generate massive amounts of publicity for the South American nation. In fact, it already has. But amid the preparations, the country has already discovered that the limelight can be a double-edged sword.
“This should be Brazil’s moment of glory,” says Lourdes Casanova, a senior lecturer of management at Cornell University’s Johnson School and co-author of the recently published The Political Economy of an Emerging Global Power: In Search of the Brazil Dream. “It has an opportunity to show there is more to it than samba, carnival, and beaches. In the past, countries like China, Japan, and Korea have used events like these as a way to tell the world, ‘Here we are, we are one of you. A developed country with the infrastructure that comes with it.’”
But with massive construction delays in the run-up to the event, that message seems to sound increasingly hollow. Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo reported recently that less than one month before kick-off, the majority of the intended projects were unfinished. Time overruns have affected airport transportation systems, fast bus lanes, and no less than three stadium projects.
Part of the challenge is the sheer scale of the event. The World Cup is hosted by 12 cities that spread out over an area that is roughly the size of the United States. By contrast, the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, arguably an even bigger event, is organized in just one location.
“The idea behind the World Cup was to let the whole country share in it, while providing an opportunity to improve its infrastructure across the board,” says Casanova. “In retrospect, I think that might have been a mistake.”
From the 1980s to the mid-2000s, the Brazilian government was so immersed in paying off its foreign debt that it barely invested in infrastructure, says Casanova. “That deficit cannot be solved in less than 10 years.”
Deadline pressure increases the risk of construction companies cutting corners, leading to unsafe and inhumane working conditions. “With mega events like these, there is always a chance that people end up in forced labor and slave-like conditions,” says Beate Andrees, head of the Special Action Programme to Combat Forced Labour at the International Labour Organization (ILO), an agency of the United Nations.
For instance, in the tiny Gulf state of Qatar, host of the 2022 World Cup, almost 1,000 people have died in construction related-accidents since January 2012. The Qatari government has since indicated it will improve the living standards of its migrant workers, but the reputation damage (and loss of life) has been done.
In Brazil so far, there have been eight World Cup-related deaths. But compared to Qatar, the government has been much more responsive in addressing the problem, says Andrees, who just returned from a monitoring visit to the country. “Its inspection programs have identified the issue and prevented it from becoming a major disaster.”
Additionally, the Brazilian government has compiled a so-called ‘dirty list’ that publicly identifies companies using slave labor. Employers on the list will be banned from government contracts.