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Does an expanded BRICS mean anything?

By Jim O'Neill

25 Aug 2023 · 4 min read

informed Summary

  1. The BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) recently announced plans to add six more countries: Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. However, according to PS contributor Jim O'Neill, the decision does not seem to be based on clear objectives or economic criteria.

LONDON – When I coined the BRIC acronym back in 2001, my primary point was that global governance would need to adjust to incorporate the world’s largest emerging economies. Not only did Brazil, Russia, India, and China top the list of that cohort; they also were collectively responsible for governing close to half of the world’s population. It stood to reason that they should be represented accordingly.

Over the past two decades, some have misread my initial paper as a kind of investment thesis, while others have interpreted it as an endorsement of the BRICS (South Africa was added in 2010) as a political grouping. But I never intended any such thing. On the contrary, ever since the Brazilian and Russian foreign ministers proposed the idea of creating a formal BRIC political grouping in 2009, I have questioned the organization’s purpose, beyond serving as a symbolic gesture.

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