In August 2013, a 17-year-old Brazilian student called Kim Kataguiri attended a history class at his college in São Paulo state. Generally apolitical but interested in economics, his curiosity was sparked by a teacher who proposed that Brazil’s flagship welfare benefit to poor families was significantly responsible for the country’s then-flourishing economy.
“That just seemed wrong,” he explains in a telephone interview. “The family allowance might be necessary, but it has flaws and the main reasons for our high economic growth was the commodities boom and our relationship with China.”
Kataguiri, the son of a retired metal worker, was struck by how much his fellow students also accepted Brazil’s model of state capitalism as practiced by the Workers’ Party. So, instead of speaking up in class, he posted a video to YouTube to respond to his teacher. He expected it to stay within the university, but soon it went viral. “This was when I realized I could use the internet to defend free market values,” he said.