Twenty years of BRICS: political and economic transformations through the lens of land

Mihika Chatterjee (Guest editor), Ikuno Naka (Guest editor)

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November 2021 marked the 20th anniversary of the conception of BRICS. Two decades have passed since the acronym BRIC – Brazil, Russia, India, China – was brought into our popular vernacular by Jim O’Neill, an economist at Goldman Sachs.Footnote1 His influential paper, entitled ‘Building Better Global Economic BRICs’ (O’ Neill, Citation2001), analysed the spectacular economic growth this group of countries were set to experience, and the implications of these future trends for international political economy. For enthusiastic consumers of the report and detractors alike, the term BRICs (where the ‘s’ at the end denotes plural) and its embedding within unambiguously optimistic economic predictions by a leading investment bank, was a clear indication of how these countries were being constructed as profitable investment destinations to which global financial flows could be directed. The external acronym, in fact, served as an impetus for the leaders of the four nations to act on the economic optimism surrounding them, when they first met in 2006 alongside the UN General Assembly. Delegates from the four countries met more formally in Yektarinburg, Russia in 2009 to give an institutional form to ‘BRICs.’ In the initial period that followed, the BRICs became an aspirational bloc with its own internal dynamics: they held yearly summits, had diplomatic ambitions, made commitments to large-scale infrastructure projects within their national boundaries as well as transnational ones in their regions. They flexed their economic muscle by establishing a new lending institution – the New Development Bank – and challenging the hegemony of European and North American countries in international finance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-13
Number of pages12
JournalOxford Development Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2022


  • land

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