Western corporate media is flooded with stories about the weakening of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, but these are defensive measures.
Reports on the premature death of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have been greatly exaggerated. Western corporate media is flooded with such nonsense, perpetrated in this particular case by the head of Morgan Stanley Investment Management.
Reality spells otherwise. The BRICS meet in Durban, South Africa, this Tuesday to, among other steps, create their own credit rating agency, sidelining the dictatorship – or at least “biased agendas”, in New Delhi’s diplomatic take – of the Moody’s/Standard & Poor’s variety. They will also further advancethe idea of the BRICS Development Bank, with a seed capital of US$50 billion (only structural details need to be finalized), helping infrastructure and sustainable development projects.
Crucially, the US and the European Union won’t have stakes in this Bank of the South – a concrete alternative, pushed especially by India and Brazil, to the Western-dominated World Bank and the Bretton Woods system.
As former Indian finance minister Jaswant Singh has observed, such a development bank could, for instance, channel Beijing’s know-how to help finance India’s massive infrastructure needs.
The huge political and economic differences among BRICS members are self-evident. But as they evolve as a group, the point is not whether they should be protecting the global economy from the now non-stop crisis of advanced casino capitalism.
The point is that, beyond measures to facilitate mutual trade, their actions are indeed becoming increasingly political – as the BRICS not only deploy their economic clout but also take concrete steps leading towards a multipolar world. Brazil is particularly active in this regard.
Inevitably, the usual Atlanticist, Washington consensus fanatics – myopically – can see nothing else besides the BRICS “demanding more recognition from Western powers”.
Of course there are problems. Brazil, China and India’s growth slowed down. As China, for instance, became Brazil’s top trading partner – ahead of the US – whole sectors of Brazilian industry have suffered from the competition of cheap Chinese manufacturing.
But some long-term prospects are inevitable. BRICS will eventually become more forceful at the International Monetary Fund. Crucially, BRICS will be trading in their own currencies, including a globally convertible yuan, further away from the US dollar and the petrodollar.
That Chinese slowdown…