“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 Kennan. Read more