The Economist has a lengthy profile of the BRIC bloc of emerging countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China), which appears to be casting itself as an alternative institutional framework to supplement and perhaps counter-balance the wealthy-country-dominated Bretton Woods clubs.
Just days after President Obama’s 47-nation nuclear summit in Washington, the BRIC countries are scheduled to meet in Brasillia.
The Economist piece is worth a read because it provides a nuanced picture of the opportunities and constraints that will likely shape the group’s sustainability over time.
While acknowledging that the BRICs’ interests often diverge from one another, the piece makes a persuasive case that all four countries derive significant benefits from pooling their resources and economic weight.
From the piece:
One reason the BRICs matter is that the world’s most important country thinks they do, and is willing to rope them into decision-making. America’s means of doing this is the G20. It pushed for the group’s expansion to include the BRICs and declared the club the chief forum for dealing with international economic issues. The BRICs and the original group of seven rich countries (G7) form natural blocks within the G20. So far, the clearest expression of a coherent BRIC agenda–for reform of the international financial system and more domestic stimulus programmes–came on the eve of a G20 meeting in 2008.
A second reason why the BRICs matter is that all four giants have reasons for creating a new club of their own. China’s leaders know their time has come. They want to enhance their own influence and reduce America’s. But at the same time their leaders hew to Deng Xiaoping’s dictum that “China should adopt a low profile and never take the lead.”
The BRICs, which the Chinese calls jinzhuan siguo, or four golden brick nations, are a way to square that circle. By teaming up with others (which are anyway attractive as raw-materials suppliers), China can hide its national demands behind a multilateral fa