Edited by Vai Io Lo and Mary Hiscock
At the beginning of our discussion, we asked whether the BRICS is a loosely formed intergovernmental network or a powerful economic bloc that can effect paradigmatic changes in the world economy, or is it merely a pressure group that can raise awareness of the imperfections in an unbalanced and dysfunctional global political economy? There is no doubt that the BRICS is presently a platform for international cooperation and dialogue with a rich and ambitious agenda, but will it or can it go further? The BRICS has been greeted with hyperbole, but it already has a history of being unable to deal with real issues, and of not asserting a group interest at the expense of national interest. The failure to support a developing country candidate for the leadership of the IMF, where there was a genuine contest between qualified nominees, is one instance. A further example is the lack of support by Russia and China for Brazil and India to become permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. Coordination is difficult when the BRICS members have critical differences in culture, patterns of development, economic and social systems and stages of economic maturity. To move further as a force for change, the BRICS needs more structure, tighter cooperation and a single strong voice, but it is unlikely to have an alliance based on military or strategic security concerns.
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