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The BRICS countries, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, have been growing and economically expanding recently, in no small degree due to their cooperation. However, there is much criticism towards the group, mostly regarding how some decisions and circumstances limit its impact. This essay aims to explore the strengths and weaknesses of the BRICS system and estimate its future performance based on the findings.
Positive Aspects of BRICS
An essential aspect of BRICS is its unique design. According to Toloraya and Chukov (2016), “the BRICS countries developed an innovative format for international cooperation, which is grounded in the absolute equality of the partners” (p. 71). The informal format of BRICS creates incentives not present in associations that are more formal. According to Cooper and Farooq (2015), during the creation of the National Development Bank, the different countries all agreed to invest into the project, even though the benefits were uneven, because of a sense of the need to show their support of the BRICS initiative. In a more formal institution, there would likely be complaints, and the process would have taken considerably longer.
Negative Aspects of BRICS
A common critique of BRICS is that it is not a unified body of countries. According to Degaut and Meacham (2015), the alliance’s measures “are limited in their depth, scope, and acceptance, which reflect the group’s lack of cohesion, resources, priorities, economic models, foreign policy interests, and, consequently, their inability to shape their own international agenda” (p. 21). They go on to state that BRICS is merely an association of individually powerful countries and does not represent a significant force of change on a global scale.
BRICS is a significant force and is not to be overlooked or underestimated. Its members are powerful countries, capable of massive undertakings when they cooperate and of swift action due to the informal nature of the organization. However, the organization’s lack of unity and a shared global aim means it is likely not going to change the global balance of powers in a significant manner.
Cooper, A., & Farooq, A. (2015). Testing the club dynamics of the BRICS: The new development bank from conception to establishment. International Organizations Research Journal, 10(2), 32-44.
Degaut, M., & Meacham, C. E. (2015). Do the BRICS still matter? Center for Strategic & International Studies.
Toloraya, G. D., & Chukov, R. S. (2016). BRICS to be considered. International Organisations Research Journal, 11(2), 97-112.