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The BRIC Countries Essay


Introduction

The modern international system, states compete for economic and political power for them to be considered superpowers. Polarity is a term used in foreign policy analysis to refer to the centre of power meaning that a state must possess certain features to be powerful.

Scholars of foreign policy observe that a state must be able to influence the global society politically, diplomatically, economically, culturally, militarily, and technologically for it to be accepted as a superpower. Before the First World War, there were various centres of power, including Russia, Japan, the United States and Britain.

During this time, the international system was characterized by multi-polarity. Only two centres of power emerged after the Second World War, a situation referred to as bipolarity. The Cold War brought a number of changes because it led to the emergence of only a single centre of power, which was the United States. The Soviet Union was disintegrated after the changes that were Gorbachev introduced in early 1990s (Atkinson 884).

Recently, the international system is characterized by multi-polarity, but only economically because the US still dominates politically, culturally, militarily, technologically, and diplomatically. China, India, Russia, and Brazil are the emerging economies that pose a serious challenge to other developed economies, such as the United States, Japan, France, and Britain. These countries are referred to as the BRICS.

The BRIC countries are developing at a very high rate economically, but a majority of them are still lagging behind in terms of cultural and political development. In these countries, political reforms are never allowed because the state controls state resources.

In China, the state owns all major investments whereby an individual is the property of the state. The article analyzes the capability of the BRIC countries in terms of influencing the global affairs. In the article, it is noted that the countries have managed to influence economic issues, but not diplomatic and political.

Demographical Comparison (Data)

China released the 2010 census report in April, which shocked very many people in the world. The media focused on the getting old before it gets rich theme, which is related to the iniquitous policy proving that an individual should have just a single child due to inadequate resources.

The policy was put in place sometimes back owing to the population pressure, which placed a lot of pressure to the government regarding provision of basic needs, such as education, security, healthcare, food, and many more. Even though China is showing a good economic prosperity, it has a serious problem that is related to population. However, population is not a curse to the Chinese government as is the case in other places, such as Africa (Lankhuizen 1402).

Therefore, the population plays a critical role in China because it serves as the consumer of finished goods and services. Many organizations around the world are always interested in investing in China because of stable market. Apart from providing the market for the finished industrial goods, the population offer labour. Studies suggest that China has semi-skilled, skilled, and unskilled labour. In this regard, cheap labour is readily available, which has played a major role in boosting industrial production.

The total population of China according to the 2010 census is 1.34 billion. India has a population of 1.21 while Brazil’s population is 190.7 million. The census report reveals that the population of the BRIC countries grow every decade, with China having a decadal growth of 74 million, which translates to 5.4 percent.

For every decade, the population growth of India is 181 million, translating to 17.6 while that of Brazil is 21 million, which translates to 12.3 percent. The census reports for these countries confirm that their rise to global power is attributed to population increase. China and India had to come up with a policy that forced individuals to accept family planning strategies.

In terms of gender, China has a male population of 51.3 percent while that of female is 48.7 percent. This shows that the ratio of men to women in the country is 105/100. Any population that is dominated by men has the potential of developing at a high rate because men can easily work in industries, unlike women who demand feminine jobs. India and China shares something in common, which is the gender of the population because India has ratio of 100 to 94.

This translates to 51.6 percent men and 48.4 percent women. In Brazil, women are slightly more than men are because they constitute 51 percent of the total population while men are 49 percent. Regarding the age ratios, the BRIC countries have able population because half of the population are men. Only 16.6 percent of the population in China is made of children while the old constitute only 13.3 percent. In India, only 13 percent are children while Brazil has children population of 24 percent.

In terms of the level of literacy, the BRIC countries have an educated population because the literate rate in China is over 96 percent while in India it is above 74 percent. Brazil has a literacy rate of over 91 percent. In China, 49.7 percent of the population lives in urban areas while 30 percent live of the population of the population lives in the urban areas in India. In Brazil, over 84.4 percent of the population are urban dwellers (Groot 507).

The data presented above shows that the BRIC have the high chances of excelling economically because the number individuals who can engage in economic development is very high. In some countries, the population is an issue of concern because able individuals should be imported from other countries. The population below six years is reducing in India while the population between 15 to 64 years is increasing in China. This shows that these countries will never lack sufficient markets and labour.

Social Analysis

In terms of social development, the BRIC countries are still facing a number of challenges because their governments are yet to formulate policies aiming at mitigating the various social challenges. However, the countries are putting up measures that would help their citizens in dealing with the challenges of globalization. Recently, the representatives of the BRIC countries met to deliberate on the ways through which the health of their citizens would be improved.

Moreover, the conference discussed some of the ways that would allow the old to access basic pensions, as well as social security. Therefore, it can be observed that the BRIC countries are concentrating on improving health, setting up pension plans, and extending social security to various individuals who might be in need. In a report released by ISSA titled social security coverage extension in the BRIC countries, it was noted that social security plays a critical role in improving the welfare of the majority in society.

Moreover, it was agreed that social security would be provided to individuals, given the fact that the countries host over 42 percent of the world’s population (Feenstra 78). The secretary general of ISSA was of the view that the BRIC countries have to take an initiative of understanding the social dimensions of developments in order to improve the living standards of citizens. The conference conducted an analysis of the ongoing projects related to social security and suggested new measures.

Nevertheless, the countries contracted an international social security organization to undertake an extensive research to establish the social needs of citizens in the four countries. The study found out that political good will was lacking in almost all the countries meaning that leadership is still a challenge as far as implementation of social policies are concerned.

The report however established that the countries had adequate economic environment that would support social policies. The leadership of ISSA observed with concern that economic objectives cannot be achieved in case the leadership of the BRIC countries do not take social development seriously.

For instance, a healthy population is needed for the production process to go on interrupted. In this view, all social institutions operating the BRIC countries have to be given adequate support to enable them resolve the many issues facing the population (Bosworth 51). The governments should set standards that will go a long way in helping people regarding their social safety.

Economic Analysis (Features)

Research shows that Brazil is the largest economy in the South American region. The country has a developed agricultural system, mining industries, and manufacturing companies. Moreover, the service industries in the country are well developed meaning that the macroeconomic features of the country are very stable.

From 2003, the country embarked on a recovery mission whereby it was expected to attract foreign capital, decrease debt, prevent inflation of prices, and commit itself to financial tasks (Eichengreen 56). The recovery program was hindered by the 2007 global financial crisis, but the country recovered so fast The GDP level of the country returned to its initial figure, with the central bank reporting a 5 percent growth in 2010. The country relies heavily on the service sector followed by the industrial sector.

The GDP of Brazil from 2007 to 2009

Figure 1: The GDP of Brazil from 2007 to 2009

Brazil’s per capita from 2007 to 2009

Figure 2: Brazil’s per capita from 2007 to 2009

Russia is the world’s largest country in terms of geographical area because it borders fourteen countries. The country engages in trade with various partners, mainly those in Europe. In 2007, the economy of Russia almost collapsed because the stock market was performing poorly.

The economic crisis affected the prices of commodities given the fact that Russian products never had demand in the global market. Economic growth fell from 9.5 to 1.1. The country’s economy picked up in 2009, but at a low level. The increase in the prices of oil products boosted Russia’s economy since the country depends on oil. The country relies heavily on production and transportation given the fact that it owns one of the longest gas pipes in Europe referred to as Gazpromo.

Among the BRIC countries, India is the less developed, even though it has a huge population. The country boosts of a cost effective labour and economy because cheapo labour force is readily available. Many developed countries outsource their work to India mainly because of cheap labour. The country relies heavily on exports and manufacturing.

China is an economic powerhouse in Asia mainly because of the population, which provides adequate labour and market. The GDP growth of China was 10.456 percent in 2010, which amounted to $ 5745.13 billion. Financial analysts observe that this growth rate is expected to increase. The country opened up its economy by allowing the market to operate according to its own internal logics. However, China’s economic growth is only felt in the cities since the rural areas are still very poor (Amiti 12).

Political Analysis

Politically, India is perceived as the most democratic among the four BRIC countries. Nevertheless, democracy in India does not measure up to the internationally recognized standards meaning that it has a long way to go in case it wants to embrace democracy.

This means that BRIC countries have serious problems regarding the rule of law, respect for human rights, media freedom, constitutionalism, and the existence of the civil society. For instance, the Chinese government does not allow political competition because it interferes with the position of the ruling class. In the BRIC countries, the gap between the rich and the poor is ever increasing meaning that economic gains are not distributed equally.

The media is highly controlled in China and Russia, which means that it only reports what the government wants. In Brazil, the opposition is never given a chance to participate in elections democratically. The system of checks and balances do not work in the BRIC countries. The president is always in charge of foreign and domestic policy implying that citizens are never involved in making major decisions that would their lives (Rodrik 89).

Works Cited

Amiti, Freund. China’s Growing Role in World Trade. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010. Print.

Atkinson, Salverda. “Top Incomes in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom over the 20th Century.” Journal of the European Economic Association, 3.1 (2005): 883-913. Print.

Bosworth, Collins. “Accounting for Growth: Comparing China and India.” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 22.3 (2010): 45-66. Print.

Eichengreen, Park. When Fast Growing Economies Slow Down: International Evidence and Implications for China. Cambridge: NBER Working Paper, 2011. Print.

Feenstra, Wei. Introduction of China’s Growing Role in World Trade. Cambridge: NBER Working Paper, 2009. Print.

Groot, Withagen. “Dynamics of China’s Regional Development and Pollution: An Investigation into the Environmental Kuznets Curve. Environment and Development Economics, 9.2 (2004): 507-537.

Lankhuizen, Linders. “The Trade-Off between Foreign Direct Investments and Exports: The Role of Multiple Dimensions of Distance.” The World Economy, 34.1 (2011): 1395-1416. Print.

Rodrik, Derick. One Economics, Many Recipes: Globalization, Institutions and Economic Growth, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2007. Print.

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