The main topic of this paper is to discuss the actions that governments can take to promote better work opportunities for poor workers to earn more income than they are earning today. It will be based on the Brazilian experience using the authors’ background as a basis for the reflection. Rather than trying to find an answer, the intention of this paper is to discuss recent questions after a decade of different approaches that were taken by the Brazilian Federal Government in the context of its fight against poverty.

The paper is divided in three parts. The first addresses a summary of recent facts and results that Brazil has achieved through its model of development with social inclusion. It describes this new development model that let the country go through the 2008 international crisis with much less social impacts and economic losses than many other countries. This discussion is key to understand why the productive inclusion has got to the position it has today on the government agenda even after so many interesting results that will be shown.

The second section of the paper is dedicated to a more theoretical discussion of the concepts in which the idea of “productive inclusion” is based. As it will be shown, some of the questions that arose in the issue of rights for citizens and workers take the discussion to fields contradictory to the policy making itself. It is important to overcome these confusions in order to address the actions that governments can take with less noise.

In the last section, recent outcomes of initiatives that have been conducted by the Brazilian Federal Government are analyzed in the perspective of letting people have access to better work opportunities and earn the money they need for decent living conditions. As many initiatives have been tried, it seems that there are still many interesting challenges left in this field. Comparisons between the contexts in which those public policies have been undertaken are key, particularly in terms of rural and urban environment..

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This program is supported by the JULIEN J. STUDLEY FOUNDATION