BRICS and mortar

Meeting in New Delhi, the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, the so-called BRICS nations, fired away at developed countries for not affording them greater power within the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The group also launched a salvo at the leading Western nations for their lack of economic leadership, and for pursuing a lax monetary policy that the group said had led to “excessive volatility in capital flows and commodity prices,” hurting their economies.

The BRICS had hope to achieve some progress on establishing a central bank of its own to rival the World Bank, but fell short of that goal.

The forthright criticism of the West speaks to the growing influence of those economies, but some question whether their bluster can actually be translated into real political and economic influence.

In an interview with the Council of Foreign Relations, Financial Times reporter Martin Wolf expressed some skepticism.

“These countries have basically nothing in common whatsoever, except that they are called BRICS and they are quite important. But in all other respects, their interests and values, political systems, and objectives are substantially diverse. So there’s no reason whatsoever to expect them to agree on anything substantive in the world, except that the existing dominating powers should cede some of their influence and power,” said Wolf.

He added that within the group they have “very specific jealousies,” particularly between the two most powerful members – China and India. Whether internecine disputes hamper the development of the BRICS is uncertain, but considering the group is only four years old, it would be a mistake to underestimate their influence – real or imagined.

Related: New York Times – What do you think the BRICS can build?


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