This article discusses the major shifts in macroeconomic policies in Brazil in the last two decades. The early part of this period was marked by a combination of prudent fiscal policies, an inflation targeting framework, and a flexible exchange rate system. The great financial crisis led to the adoption of policies that took some distance from elements of this triad, with increased state intervention in the economy. This policy shift contributed to the gestation of a home-grown economic crisis starting in 2014, with the eventual rollback of this policy experiment under a new administration. We also examine three structural factors that stand out among those hampering productivity and growth in Brazil: a relatively closed economy, inadequate infrastructure, and an inefficient state.