Things are not well in Brazil. The country’s social and economic tensions are rising and seem increasingly prone to erupt into violence. For the past six days, for instance, there has been a frenzy of looting, mugging, rioting, and murder in and around Vitória, which anchors a metropolitan area of about two million and is the capital of the state of Espírito Santo, north of Rio de Janeiro. The reason for the mayhem is the absence of police officers, after Espírito Santo’s force went on strike last Saturday to demand that its pay be doubled. The police union has said that its members have not received raises in four years. Family members of the officers have joined the strike by creating human barricades around the state’s police stations.