The BRICS: A Fable for Our Time

A Fable for Our TimeThe story of the BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] is a strange one. It starts in 2001 when Jim O’Neill, at that time the chairman of the Assets Management division of Goldman Sachs, the giant investment house, wrote a widely-commented article about what we have come to call “emerging economies.” O’Neill singled out four countries – Brazil, Russia, India, and China – all of whom were large enough in size and territory to have noticeable weight in the world market. He labeled them the BRICs.

O’Neill argued that their assets were growing at such a pace that they were going to overtake collectively the asset values held by the G-7 countries, which had long been the list of the wealthiest countries in the world-system. O’Neill did not say exactly when this would occur – by 2050 at the latest. But he saw the rise of the BRICs as more or less inevitable. Given his position at Goldman Sachs, he was essentially telling the clients of Goldman Sachs to shift significant parts of their investments to these four countries while their assets were still selling cheaply.

Available: http://www.towardfreedom.com/33-archives/globalm/4130-the-brics-a-fable-for-our-time 

About The Project

Funded by the Open Society Foundation for South Africa (OSF-SA), the project focuses on the changing dynamics and implications of South- South cooperation, in the context of South Africa's avowed commitment to this cause in its international relations. The need to understand the complexities of South-South dynamics and their implications for foreign policy is particularly urgent for South Africa, which, while working to advance South-South multilateralism, must also contend with the corresponding need to remain true to other universal values underpinning its foreign policy as well as guarantee the specific interests of its immediate environment, that is, the African continent.

Key Themes

In recent times, South-South cooperation has received renewed attention, inspired mainly by the emergence of new southern clubs such as IBSA, BRICS and CELAC. This trend reflects a growing push by developing countries to respond to current global challenges in a coherent and concerted manner.

 

Aims and Objectives of The Project

The aim of the project is therefore to contribute, through critical research and dialogue, towards a nuanced understanding of contemporary South-South cooperation. In particular, it seeks to appreciate the basis on which countries in the South cooperate or compete with one another, and the implication of these dynamics for South Africa's policy.

 

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