Daily Archives: November 29, 2011

“It’s time to bid farewell to the Brics,” wrote my FT colleague Philip Stephens this week. Jim O’Neill, the Goldman Sachs economist who first coined the acronym which groups Brazil, Russia, India and China, seems to feel the same. His new book, also reviewed this week by Stefan Wagstyl, the FT’s emerging editor, is called ‘The Growth Map: Economic Opportunity in the BRICs and beyond‘.

The italicisation of “beyond” is my own. Nevertheless, as an intellectual grouping, the Bric term never sat that comfortably with anyone – except, perhaps, as an investment idea. The differences separating its four members are as many and as deep as their similarities. In fact, the only feature these countries really share is immense size. This was lucidly captured several years before Mr O’Neill by none other than George KennanRead more

Chief UN climate official Christina Figueres at the opening of the UN climate conference in Durban, South Africa. Photo Reuters

UN climate talks kick off this week in South Africa, with delegates from nearly 200 countries trying to produce a global pact that legally obliges countries to stop emitting so much carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas blamed for global warming.

The chances of success are seen as slim to zeroRead more

Rick Perry eat your heart out. According to the Jakarta Post, Indonesia’s government plans to dissolve 10 of 88 state bodies deemed inefficient or with overlapping authority.

That easily beats the timid reform proposal from the Republican presidential candidate who appears content to get rid of just two government departments – or was it three? Read more