The BRICS and the Future of Global Order
By (author) Oliver Stuenkel
Publication date:11 March 2015
Length of book:228 pages
The transformation of the BRIC acronym from an investment term into a household name of international politics and, more recently, into a semi-institutionalized political outfit (called BRICS, with a capital ‘S’), is one of the defining developments in international politics in the past decade. While the concept is now commonly used in the general public debate and international media, there has not yet been a comprehensive and scholarly analysis of the history of the BRICS term. The BRICS and the Future of Global Order offers a definitive reference history of the BRICS as a term and as an institution—a chronological narrative and analytical account of the BRICS concept from its inception in 2001 to the political grouping it is today. In addition, it analyzes what the rise of powers like Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa means for the future of global order. Will the BRICS countries seek to establish a parallel system with its own distinctive set of rules, institutions, and currencies of power, rejecting key tenets of liberal internationalism, are will they seek to embrace the rules and norms that define today’s Western-led order?
Stuenkel provides a detailed chronology of the concept of the BRICS from when BRIC was first coined by Goldman Sachs as a financial concept in 2001 to its status today as a political and economic institution. Stuenkel’s book specifically sets out to examine what impact these rising powers will have on global affairs. As his book demonstrates, despite different regime types, intra-BRICS cooperation has begun to occur on social and economic issues, such as development, finance, and health. A larger, looming question underlying this book is whether the BRICS represent a threat to the current global order by attempting to create an alternative paradigm. The final three chapters are quite informative and serve as a springboard for future research on intra-BRICS cooperation. These chapters note the successes, such as the creation of the New Development Bank and the Contingency Reserve Agreement, but stress the potential challenges for continued intra-BRICS cooperation. Stuenkel concludes that BRICS actions demonstrate a desire to widen the playing field to be more democratic rather than creating a new global order. This book is a must read for anyone interested in the BRICS and is highly recommended for undergraduate, graduate students, and faculty. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels.