The Rise of the BRICS in the Global Political Economy

The Rise of the BRICS in the Global Political Economy

Changing Paradigms?

Edited by Vai Io Lo and Mary Hiscock

Taking an interdisciplinary approach, Vai Io Lo and Mary Hiscock, together with scholars and researchers from around the world, investigate the rise of the BRICS and assess the extent of their further development and influence from the perspectives of economics, international relations and law.

Chapter 2: How solid are the BRICS? An economic overview

Anthony J. Makin and Rashmi Umesh Arora

Subjects: development studies, development economics, economics and finance, political economy, politics and public policy, political economy


Over the last few decades the metamorphosis of many developing economies into emerging economies has significantly boosted global economic output, raised income levels and enabled hundreds of millions of people to escape poverty around the world. The BRICs, an acronym coined by Goldman Sachs economist Jim OíNeill in 2001, originally grouped Brazil, Russia, India and China together on the grounds that they were the most prominent subset of fast growing emerging economies. South Africa joined the group in 2011, turning BRICs into BRICS. Although they are drawn from four different continents and have alternative systems of government, the BRICS members were combined on the grounds that they were populous emerging economies whose living standards, measured on an income per capita basis, have grown quickly over past decades. As a result they have spawned sizeable middle classes and are each destined to become major players in the world economy by 2050, even though per capita incomes still fall considerably below OECD economy levels. The BRICS accounts for roughly 40 per cent of the worldís population and about 30 per cent of the worldís GDP, and according to the IMF (2011) will contribute more than half of the world economyís growth in coming years. The BRICS, like all emerging economies, has generally benefited from the globalization phenomenon of the past few decades, as manifested in increased international trade flows and higher levels of foreign direct investment affecting all parts of the world.

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