Coined in 2001 by an economist at the multinational global investment firm Goldman Sachs, the “BRICs” acronym (referring to Brazil, Russia, India, and China) identified a group of four countries that were, due to their scale, population size, and growing share of global GDP, regarded as the leading non-Western economies and as future motors of global accumulation. The acronym, with the addition of S for South Africa, has since come into widespread use as a symbol of the apparently epochal shift in global economic power away from the developed G7 economies toward the “developing world,” and the wider realignment of world economic and ultimately political power that would be engendered by the collective influence of these countries. This chapter seeks to explore the changing political geographies resulting from the rise of the BRICS and the implications for the contemporary study of international relations.
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