Jim O’Neill, former Goldman Sachs chief economist, invented the acronym BRIC (for Brazil, Russia, India and China) in 2001, betting on the rise of these emerging nations. In 2011, South Africa joined the group, which later became the BRICS. Twenty years later, he notes very different successes in three of the four countries.
In 2001, how did you come up with the idea of the BRICS countries?
As I became Goldman Sachs ’chief economist, I realized a vision and was waiting to make my mark. I was very impressed with how China indirectly played a role in ending the 1998 Asian financial crisis. Then, on September 11, 2001, the World Trade Center in New York was attacked while I was on these separate tours. Two days ago. I immediately told myself: American domination over the world will not last. So on November 30th I started this brief BRIC.
Did the comment immediately attract attention?
All. It wasn’t until 2003 that he really cared. At that time, a study was released that the GDP of the BRICS countries would exceed the six largest economies in the world. [Etats-Unis, Japon, Allemagne, Royaume-Uni, France et Italie] By 2050 he was soon showing an inner interest in Goldman Sachs. Then the head of Ikea told me that he had designed his strategy. Stephen Schwarzman [cofondateur de Blackstone, une société d’investissement] He then instructed her to read it. The business community as a whole doubled down on this idea.
In the first decade, until 2010, your predictions came true …
All four countries have already experienced growth following the expected situation. Even before 2010, Brazil became the seventh largest economy in the world and China overtook Japan … The G-20 has become the most important group because the BRICS group has grown exponentially. The first “BRIC Summit” was held in Russia in 2009. I could not believe it: world leaders formed a club based on the summary I found! But ten years later, we realize that this club is more symbolic than anything else.
Twenty years after the invention of the acronym, are your predictions true?
Yes and no. Brazil and Russia have already gone through a devastating decade [depuis 2010]. After a sharp rise, the weight of GDP in the world economy returned to its normal level in 2001. For these two countries, the trip was a huge roller coaster. Maybe I should have called the club “medieval”. [Inde et Chine] Or even a “C”.
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