In the next 50 years, BRICs - Brazil, Russia, India and China - could become the world’s largest economic power. Utilising the latest demographic projections and models of accumulation of capital and production growth, the Goldman Sachs group conducted a study entitled "Dreaming with BRICs: the path to 2050" where the economies of these countries were mapped until 2050.
If the projections come true as predicted, in less than 40 years BRICs will be bigger than the G6 - USA, Japan, England, Germany, France and Italy. The group will possess over 40% of the world’s population and will have a Gross Internal Product in excess of U$85 trillion.
Despite the fact that these four nations do not form a political bloc (like the EU), a formal commercial partnership such as Mercosul and ALCA, or a military alliance (for example NATO), there are in existence various commercial cooperation treaties, signed in 2002, to give leverage to their growth.
Although still not the world’s largest economies, they already exercise a great influence on the capitalist world. This was witnessed in the OMC meeting of 2005, where developing countries led by Brazil and India, joined forces with sub-developed nations to effect the withdrawal of government subsidies and reduction of import and commerce tariffs imposed by the European Union and United States as a means of stimulating their growth and that of other countries affected by poverty.
Each of the four elements of BRICs will be stabilised according to its potential. Brazil will sit in fifth place in world economic ranking by 2050 and will be the leading exporter of agricultural products, feeding 40% of the world’s population. Its sugar-cane plantations will be essential for renewable and ecologically-correct fuel production, for example alcohol and biodiesel.
Together with and strongly influencing its Latin partners, Brazil will be responsible for the supply of raw materials essential to developing countries - petroleum, steel and aluminium. However the country’s most important role will be in its natural water reserves and flora and fauna, unequalled anywhere else, and will soon be on the petroleum wish-list of political leaders around the globe.
Russia will perform a similar role in the supply of agricultural products and raw materials to the population of the BRICs member states, facilitated by its expansive land mass. The exportation of a labour force highly qualified in the field of precision technology, inherited from the Cold War and its then military might, will also be indispensable.
India will enjoy the highest growth average among the BRICs and estimations are that in 2050 it will be the third largest world economy, behind China and the USA. Many industries will locate to this country due to heavy technological investment and the skills acquirement of the massive population, besides its tradition in the exact sciences. It will arrive in 2050 with an immense military power.
China, when that year arrives, will be the world’s major economic power, based on its sustained and accelerated economic growth throughout the beginning of the 21st century. There will be a huge concentration of industries owing to its population mass, technology and military strength. China currently finds itself in the process of transition from socialism to capitalism, which should be complete within the next 40 years. It is not known, however, if the government will continue as totalitarian or if there will be complete evolution to a democracy.
Between the four BRICs, Brazil easily has the greatest potential to benefit from this race for the First World. The country has enormous natural resources and great agricultural development potential due to a favourable climate and fertile soil.
There is no religious conflict, the democratic regime is stable and consolidated, it has a solid financial system and its institutions are respected. The biggest stumbling-block remains its growth rate, the result of repeatedly short-sighted public policies.
In the last six years the economy grew little more than 15%, way behind that achieved by the others: China grew 63%, India 43% and Russia by 41%.
But a future of sustainable development for BRICs depends, apart from geopolitical change, upon the solutions each country seeks to overcome its own obstacles. Each faces differing challenges to maintain a desirable growth rate in the middle of internal conflicts, corrupt governments and popular revolutions, which makes them very vulnerable. It is also possible, of course, that we will witness the beginning of a completely different era to that which we have seen over the history of nations: a wholly decentralised world where all countries find a point of equilibrium, heralding the start of true globalisation.