The past two decades have been all about the BRICS: a group of five countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) that soared to economic superstardom and gradually won geopolitical influence. But now, with their economies slowing down, those days seem to be over. What’s more, by some measures, the BRICS have squandered their years of plenty. Even as they poured money into building dynamic economies and becoming global leaders, they neglected to invest in their own populations. As a result, they are less far down the development road than many would have expected. 

Nothing demonstrates the problem more clearly than a group of economies that have avoided it entirely. Mexico, Colombia, and Singapore have invested more in economic and social welfare than in becoming global leaders. As a result, these smaller economies seem to be doing better in some areas than the BRICS.

BIG BAD BRICS

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  • EDUARDO J. GÓMEZ is a Senior Lecturer of International Development and Emerging Economies at King's College London, King's International Development Institute.
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