BRICs in charts

By Razib Khan | December 5, 2010 3:45 pm

The term “BRICs” gets thrown around a lot these days. At least it gets thrown around by people who perceive themselves to be savvy and worldly. In case you aren’t savvy and worldly, BRICs just means Brazil, Russia, India and China. The huge rising economies of the past generation, and next generation. Here’s a summary from Wikipedia:

The BRIC thesis recognizes that Brazil, Russia, India and China…have changed their political systems to embrace global capitalism. Goldman Sachs predicts that China and India, respectively, will become the dominant global suppliers of manufactured goods and services, while Brazil and Russia will become similarly dominant as suppliers of raw materials. It should be noted that of the four countries, Brazil remains the only nation that has the capacity to continue all elements, meaning manufacturing, services, and resource supplying simultaneously. Cooperation is thus hypothesized to be a logical next step among the BRICs because Brazil and Russia together form the logical commodity suppliers to India and China. Thus, the BRICs have the potential to form a powerful economic bloc to the exclusion of the modern-day states currently of “Group of Eight” status. Brazil is dominant in soy and iron ore while Russia has enormous supplies of oil and natural gas. Goldman Sachs’ thesis thus documents how commodities, work, technology, and companies have diffused outward from the United States across the world.

But there are big quantitative differences between these nations as well. Below the fold are some charts which I think illustrate those differences.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Data Analysis
MORE ABOUT: Brazil, BRIC, BRICs, China, Indian, Russia
  • http://www.riverellan.blogspot.com Tom Bri

    Capitalism presupposes cooperation. If the BRICs become more capitalist, they will cooperate more economically, amongst themselves and with other countries. Whether they form a block and cooperate politically is a very different question. Political events are much more the results of individual leaders’ personalities.

    The US or Europe could, with a mite of political foresight, prevent any such gang from forming, simply by including any or all of these countries into existing blocks. The writer presupposes too much.

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention BRICs in charts | Gene Expression | Discover Magazine -- Topsy.com()

  • BigOil

    Some of the data appears to be wrong. According to the CIA world factbook (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/), India’s life expectancy is 66.46 higher than the world average of 66.12 years and higher than Russia which is 66.16 years.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    Some of the data appears to be wrong. According to the CIA world factbook (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/), India’s life expectancy is 66.46 higher than the world average of 66.12 years and higher than Russia which is 66.16 years.

    don’t be dumb. different organizations will give different numbers based on how they calculated the value (life expec., fertility, etc.). most of these values aren’t as precise as 66.12 and what not, so they should be taken with a grain of salt. the key is to not rely too heavily on one value, and do comparisons using the same source when possible (since hopefully the errors are systematic and so effect all nations equally, though in this case that’s not true if the rank order shifts).

  • http://rfmcdpei.livejournal.com Randy McDonald

    “BRIC’ works well enough to capture a paradigm–a relative shift of economic dynamism from relatively small high-income countries to relatively much larger middle-income countries, all embedded in a globalized economy–but the rationale for a substantive BRIC alliance has always escaped me. Leaving aside the very different cultural, economic, political, et cetera orientations and concerns of these three countries, and the non-complementarities of some countries’ exports with others, China has had significant conflict with Russia and even more significant conflict with India in the recent past.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    but the rationale for a substantive BRIC alliance has always escaped me.

    i thought it was a pure economic descriptor, not a hint of any ‘alliance.’ more precisely it might allude to lateral interactions across the BRICs which don’t involve big established economic superpowers like the USA. e.g., chinese investment in brazilian mines.

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention BRICs in charts | Gene Expression | Discover Magazine -- Topsy.com()

  • http://washparkprophet.blogspot.com ohwilleke

    The bellwether Subsaharan African economies would be Nigeria and South Africa – Nigeria because of its immense population, South Africa because of its stronger industrial and mining economy base.

  • Wade Nichols

    but the rationale for a substantive BRIC alliance has always escaped me.
    .
    .
    i thought it was a pure economic descriptor, not a hint of any ‘alliance.’

    I think the answer is even simpler than that – “BRICs” is just a simple term/concept that the investment banks came up with in order to sell emerging markets products to their clients.

  • http://rfmcdpei.livejournal.com Randy McDonald

    @ Razib: The thesis’ suggestion that these rising powers would collaborate with each other–more that this collaboration would be particularly unusual and noteworthy–is what gets me.

  • Hema

    Razib – What about political systems and stability? Sure they don’t come on a chart but does it mean they don’t belong in an analysis of cooperation in BRIC group. A certain level of political and social stability is required for sustainable economic cooperation, I feel. Do you feel the prospects are bright in that regard?

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    hema, most to least stable IMO

    brazil > india > china >> russia

    i think there’s a big gap between china and russia. mostly cuz russia is a petro-state and that creates all sorts of problems.

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This blog is about evolution, genetics, genomics and their interstices. Please beware that comments are aggressively moderated. Uncivil or churlish comments will likely get you banned immediately, so make any contribution count!

About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com

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