The emerging powers and global governance

Why the BRICS matter

Authored by: Leslie Elliott Armijo , Cynthia Roberts

Handbook of Emerging Economies

Print publication date:  March  2014
Online publication date:  March  2014

Print ISBN: 9781857436709
eBook ISBN: 9780203108765
Adobe ISBN:


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Governments spanning the globe, international organizations, the world’s biggest banks, major think tanks, the European Union (EU), and the US national intelligence community all agree: economic power is shifting at a rapid pace and the next half-century will see major changes in the relative size and rankings of the world’s economies. 2 The US National Intelligence Council (NIC) bluntly summarized the situation thus: ‘In terms of size, speed, and directional flow, the transfer of global wealth and economic power now under way—roughly from West to East—is without precedent in modern history.’ 3 By 2030 the diffusion of power is expected to have a significant impact, ‘largely reversing the historic rise of the West since 1750 and restoring Asia’s weight in the global economy and world politics’. 4 The financial and economic crisis since 2008 has exposed serious structural challenges and fiscal constraints facing the US economy and weighing even more heavily on the USA’s key Western partners, but it is the rapid rise of other powers that ended the ‘unipolar moment’, according to the NIC, and is causing a ‘fast winding down’ of Pax Americana—the period of unrivalled US primacy since 1945. 5

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