The main feature of the new issue of The Economist is on the emerging economies. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa make up the group better known as the BRICS. In the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis the economies of the BRICS managed to roar onward and upward. Analysts thought this was a crucial moment for the countries and a sign that the Western standard bearers had some company that would change the global economic landscape.
Five years later the BRICS are not looking so great. All are growing, but things are leveling off for most. Economics correspondent Ryan Avent says (see video) that the booming growth may have been a unique set of circumstances as opposed to a new trend. He says that China took advantage of existing global trade to achieve massive growth. That was held back by high poverty levels and poor policies. Changes helped propel China forward in a way that benefited many other countries around the world.
Now that China has caught up so much to the world’s leading economies there is less room to continue growth at a rapid pace. That has impacts on fellow BRICS and other emerging economies. Most of all, what China did is not necessarily something that other nations can replicate. So that leaves us with wondering what will come next.