Now that doesn't really apply. Goldman now expects the BRICS countries to account for almost 40 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) by 2050, and will include four of the world's top five economies.
Soon, in fact, that acronym may have to expand to include Turkey, Indonesia, South Korea and, yes, nuclear Iran: What would that make? BRIIICTSS? Despite its well-known problems as a nation under economic siege, Iran is also motoring along as part of the N-11, yet another distilled concept. It stands for the "next 11" emerging economies.: ... What's the ultimate Chinese obsession? Stability, stability, stability. The usual self-description of the system there as "socialism with Chinese characteristics" is, of course, as mythical as a gorgon. In reality, think hard-core neoliberalism with Chinese characteristics led by men who have every intention of saving global capitalism. At the moment, China is smack in the middle of a tectonic, structural shift from an export/investment model to a services/consumer-led model. In terms of its explosive economic growth, the past decades have been almost unimaginable to most Chinese (and the rest of the world), but, according to the Financial Times, they have also left the country's richest one per cent controlling 40 - 60 per cent of total household wealth. How to find a way to overcome such staggering collateral damage? How to make a system with tremendous inbuilt problems function for 1.3 billion people? Enter "stability-mania." Back in 2007, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao was warning that the Chinese economy could become "unstable, unbalanced, uncoordinated, and unsustainable". These were the famous "Four Uns". Today, the collective leadership, including the next prime minister, Li Leqiang, has gone a nervous step further, purging "unstable" from the party's lexicon. For all practical purposes, the next phase in the country's development is already upon us. ... For all that military strength, however, it's worth keeping in mind that this is distinctly a New World (and not in North America either). Against the guns and the gunboats, the missiles and the drones, there is economic power. Currency wars are now raging. BRICS members China and Russia have cordilleras of cash. South America is uniting fast. The Putinator has offered South Korea an oil pipeline. Iran is planning to sell all its oil and gas in a basket of currencies, none of which are dollars. China is paying to expand its blue-water navy and its anti-ship missile weaponry. One day, Tokyo may finally realise that, as long as it is occupied by Wall Street and the Pentagon, it will live in eternal recession. Even Australia may eventually refuse to be forced into a counterproductive trade war with China. So this 21st century world of ours is shaping up right now largely as a confrontation between the US/NATO and the BRICS, warts and all on every side. The danger remains that somewhere down the line it turns into a Full Spectrum Confrontation. Because make no mistake, unlike Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gaddafi, the BRICS will actually be able to shoot back.