Only China realizing potential, says economist behind BRICs moniker – dpa international


People living alongside this garbage dump outside Kolkata make a living by sifting through the mound for rubber that can be recycled or for items that could be gathered into a sack and shouldered away, to be re-used or sold on. Around 80% of India’s employed are estimated to work informally (Simon Roughneen)

DUBLIN  — Two decades after coining the acronym BRICs – grouping the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China – economist Jim O’Neill believes only China  is “fully achieving its potential.”

In an article published on Wednesday by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), O’Neill said that, while the quartet’s economies fared relatively well before the 2008 global financial crisis, India has since “notably disappointed,” while Brazil and Russia have posted “very disappointing” performances.

China’s annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth exceeded that of the other three BRICS for all but three years between 2001-19, according to World Bank data, leaving it with an economy twice the size of the other three put together.

China’s GDP, one of the few to grow last year in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, is on course to overtake that of the US, believes O’Neill, a former Goldman Sachs economist who is now at Chatham House, a British foreign policy research organization.

However, China’s expansion will soon slow due to what O’Neill described as “its increasing demographic challenge.”

Other large countries need to “get close to their long-term potential” to make up for the impact on global growth of China’s looming slowdown, O’Neill said, listing Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Vietnam, one of the few countries to report GDP growth last year.

O’Neill said the BRICs label, which soon caught on, was his attempt to capture “the likely rising economic relevance” of the four countries and the “implications for global governance.”

BRICs spawned copycats, with Indonesia and Mexico included among the ‘MIST’ set of large ’emerging economies’ with South Africa and Turkey. MIST became ‘MINT’ to some economists, who replaced South Africa with Nigeria.

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