"Talking BRICS: South Africa joins the grouping as BRICS leaders meet in China"

por Richard Basas

This week the investment group definition created by investor publications over ten years ago claimed their identity as a defined face and voice in this week’s BRICS conference. The added “S” took the investor defined grouping past its investor created definition to include South Africa. While countries like Mexico, Turkey and Indonesia were likely better candidates to be included as a BRIC as the group was created to give international investors a similar grouping of new well performing economies in which to place their funds. South Africa was preferred by the host China in order to give the BRICS a well-defined regional representation. With the conference taking place on Hainan island in China, the host took every opportunity to push its role as the largest BRICS and solidify its position on economic issues and its amplified political position as the BRICS claim to become larger than the US economy by 2014. This added economic clout amplified BRICS economies pulling away from EU and US dominated international economic policy.
Statements out of the conference pushing for a change the international financial system away from the US and EU were intermingled with statements condemning Western actions in Libya and efforts to form a unified voice for all of the BRICS, but in reality the grouping as a defined investment package have little in common beyond their status as fast growing large developing economies. Their positions lack the glue to keep them working as a defined unit and seek the same political goals. Similar to a diverse grouping such as OPEC, the BRICS as a political grouping has no common economic value such as oil in which they can control and gain rewards from, their common view is that they are growing while the US and EU are dealing with sticky economic issues, but that will not be the case forever.
It has been argued by many journalists that the grouping is an effort for China to push its role as the second largest economic agent into an international sphere in order to solidify its political and economic clout beyond its strong dependence on selling manufactured goods towards the US and EU and holding massive US debt. The differences between the BRICS are greater that their commonalities as issues such as China’s low currently affects the US as much as it affects Brazil, Russia and India, and issues in the Middle East have taken place in Libya with the support of Russia and China on the Security Council, where Brazil has taken a role as mediator between the Western powers and Iran.
The BRICS as a political grouping could lead to more contradictions than any cohesive political force and for China and its partners to try to create an OPEC based on diverse values between the BRICS might produce a grouping where only one or two members have any significant relations and those relations might serve a BRICS better if following policies desired by their European or American counterparts. At best, the BRICS might become a smaller and more influential ASEAN type organisation where the limits to policy development is more verbal than to have any solid political influence in a group with divided opinions. As well, all of this depends on the belief that Europe and the United States have passed their expiry date and that none of those BRICS nations will suffer any economic, political or environmental crisis of their own.
The real situation of the BRICS is one where large developing countries are in the position to gain international investors while pulling those in poverty out of their destiny and reducing related problems in their societies. Since the end of the Second World War, the goal of many in the West and BRICS was to create economic growth so that the world’s most impoverished people in the human family can be lifted out of the worst ills of poverty. The celebration of this growth and the West’s role in the development, no matter how significant, has been reduced to a fear that the dynasty of Western economic influence has disappeared in the last three years and that the crisis of 2008 is the picture of how our economies will remain forever. The truth is that those in the BRICS are as fearful as those in the West are that their economies will collapse, as it has happened there before. China’s dependence on US and European consumers and Brazil’s dependence on commodity prices and Russia’s and India’s problems with their security situations are severe issues that no one in the West will ever have to contend with to any great degree. The Western countries have examples such as Canada where the economy and society have been able to weather the economic storm as well as any BRICS. The focus on repairing the economic systems and creating a fair legal and economic regime is not simply a criticism from the BRICS conference, but is what is needed so that undue suffering is not placed upon the West and those in poverty worldwide because some greedy bankers believe they have the right to bankrupt the societies in which they have responsibility for and live within. A positive approach is needed before any significant change can be made for Western powers or the BRICS. While the BRICS wish to claim their role as patrons of the international system, it does not remove or absolve the traditional leaders from their roles in that system. The economic system will not end due to evil bankers or even a Tsunami, it will end when those within the system decide that the end has come and they give up, and that will be a detriment to everyone, including the BRICS.

publicado no Foreign Policy

Posted by por AMC on 12:28. Filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

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