A Case of Marble Amongst a Group of BRICS

24 Apr

The rise of China will no doubt be one of the great dramas of the twenty first century, one that is unfolding right before our eyes. China’s extraordinary economic growth and active diplomacy as shown recently with Kerry’s visit to China is already transforming East Asia, and future decades will see an even greater increase in Chinese power and influence. But how exactly this drama will play out is an open question. Will China overthrow the existing order or will it become another state in an increasingly multi-polar world? The historian Niall Ferguson has written that the bloody twentieth century witnessed “the descent of the West” and “a reorientation of the world” toward the East. Realists go on to note that as China gets more powerful and the United States’ position erodes a new multi-polar order will emerge as can be seen with the rise of the BRICS.


The notion of the rising BRICS powers (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) has intensified in the last decade with the economic prowess in especially reflecting the huge potential of these powerful nations.  Economist Markus Jaeger says naturally, the growing economic importance  of India, Brazil and Russia will have important consequences, but these simply don’t compare to the implications of China’s meteoric rise. Economically, financially and politically China overshadows and will continue to overshadow the other BRICS. China’s economy is larger than that of the four other BRICS combined. Additionally, China’s exports are more than twice as large as those of the other BRICS combined.


Jaeger continues to say that China is considered the ‘real story’ within America, for example there is frequent talk about the Chinese exchange rate policy and its increasing financial prowess. There is further rhetoric concerning China’s increasing military capabilities particularly as China has just announced its going to build a second aircraft carrier. Prominent analysts and even former government officials like Bergsten are calling for the establishment of a G-2 consisting of China and the United States of America. While its response has hardly been overly zealous it at least reflects the importance Washington insiders attach to China’s growing stature.


China’s relative and absolute economic importance will continue to rise for the foreseeable future. In terms of economic growth China has been outperforming the other BRICS nations by an extensive margin over the past three decades. In the last ten years real GDP growth averaged at 10% in China, 7% in India and Russia and 3.3% in Brazil. With a high savings rate, a low level of urbanisation, low capita per income and importantly a successful export oriented manufacturing based development strategy will continue to sustain China’s superior economic performance.


So it is clear that a new world order is emerging; primarily a multi polar world evidenced by the rise of the BRICS states over the past few decades. However, what we can note is that amongst this group, China is way out in front of the rest. Economically, socially and now gaining militarily it has the best chance out of this group to assert itself as a global hegemonic power and thus altering the Western dominance. 


Ferguson, N. (2009) Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire. New York: Penguin.


Ikenberry, J.(2008) The Rise of China and the Future of the West. Can the Liberal System Survive? Foreign Affairs.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/apr/24/china-builds-second-aircraft-carrier China Builds a Second Aircraft Carrier.


http://www.finfacts.ie/irishfinancenews/article_1020784.shtml The BRIC countries and the Beijing Consensus.



One Response to “A Case of Marble Amongst a Group of BRICS”

  1. kh13g11 April 24, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

    The new aircraft carrier that China is expected to build will be able to carry more fighter jets and will significantly aid their military capabilities, being able to carry thirty fighter jets. The announcement came during the 64th anniversary celebrations for the Navy’s founding. The Chinese military is gradually being reformed and spending on them has gradually been increasing
    It has always been hard though to monitor exactly what was going on with the Chinese military as like with many other things they are prone to secrecy and even denied reports that this was what they were doing in as late as September 2012.
    In a different type of security the chines have also pledged to work with the US on the issue of cyber security after they believe that an attack could be as devastating as a nuclear bomb if any sensitive information or systems were to be affected. It is warned however that there may not be swift progress on the matter.


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