If you are coming to Brazil from any first-world/developed country, the first thing you will have to get used to when you finally settle here and start working and living in Brazil is the bureaucracy. If you are from a third-world/developing or emerging country, you are probably used to it.
Lots of Brazilians complain about it, so it´s not like we are bitching about something that does not exist, but there are two aspects of bureaucracy that most people don´t realize or consider.
1. Bureaucracy in Latin American countries is actually necessary. Most Latin Americans will always find ways to get away with things and honesty is usually considered a sign of weakness. Before you smirk with scepticism, let´s consider this scenario. My dad was once stopped by the police when we lived in London for speeding. The policeman asked him for his name and address, but, which is pretty characteristic of the UK, no one asked him for identification. That means they literally took his word for it. Imagine the same scene in a Latin American country. Yes, you gottit. Impossible. If, let´s say, the policeman forgot to ask for ID, most Latin Americans would lie about their name and address to see if it sticks. The natural consequence of this tendency to be dishonest is that everyone has to prove everything they say or do, hence the bureaucracy. In summary, Latin American is not ready for less bureaucracy. The example above may be a little extreme, but you will soon notice that you will actually appreciate the bureaucracy, especially if you have to sign an agreement with someone or buy something. The bureaucracy provides proof of each step you took if you should ever need it.
In Brazil, the level of suspicion is much higher than in Argentina, say, although they are at the same smart-ass level. That is why Brazilians invented Cartorios. Yes, those nasty little places are used to prove that you are you, that your signature is yours, that your name is your name… in Brazil you have to prove EVERYTHING.
2. It´s not the Bureaucracy itself that´s bad, it´s the time it takes to do anything. The fact that you need a stamp on your birth certificate to prove it passed through the proper channels is not a bad thing. The fact that that stamp can take up to 3 years, is. I mean, how long can it take to pick up the stamp, put ink on it and lean it on a page? A long time, apparently. I waited 2 years to correct a mistake on a certificate. It took the judge one year just to pick up the paper, then another to decide what to do. You basically have to hand in the papers and forget about it until it´s done. Forget about timing anything. You will also notice that things the government wants, such as income tax statements, ID for everyone and the like, are usually based on efficient, faster services, such as websites. When it´s you that needs something from the government, the story is very different and there are not effective channels available at all.
In summary, arm yourself with lots and lots of patience when you need to get anything done that involves authorities, public services, law or government. In these harems of bureaucratic bliss where everyone is over paid, under worked and rarely get fired, you cannot complain unless you want to make serious enemies and extend the time limit to infinity. If you really want to reduce bureaucracy to an absolute minimum, live in the smallest, best developed town you can find near the biggest city you can find, which is exactly what I did.