Chapter 5: BRICS in a multi-polar world: the emerging geopolitical landscape
BRICs, an acronym coined by Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O’Neil in 2001, denotes the rise of Brazil, Russia, India and China, as the world’s four ‘fastest growing’ emerging economies (Goldman Sachs, 2001). The BRICs concept became a phenomenon at the start of the twenty-first century, and is widely discussed and debated by investors, political leaders, policy analysts, geo-strategists, business elites and academics. It is envisaged that the BRICs countries together would overtake the US by 2018; that the size of Brazil’s economy will be larger than that of Italy by 2020; and also, that India and Russia will individually be larger than Spain, Canada or Italy (Wilson et al., 2010). This chapter briefly analyses the geopolitical environments of BRICS and attempts to develop perspectives on the emerging global geopolitical landscape towards multi-polarity; and implications for governments, business, and society. The chapter has four sections. This section (Section 5.1) introduces the emergence of BRIC grouping that later became BRICS (with South Africa); the change in the international system from bipolar to multi-polar; and the concept of multi-polarity and its defining features. In Section 5.2 a brief overview of the geopolitical environments of the BRICS countries is presented to understand the diversity of their geographic features, political systems and economy, and demographic trends in comparison to global demographic transitions.
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