, Volume 93, Number 6

Kristen Hopewell
The much hyped rise of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) has lately been met with equally fervent declarations of their demise. Amid slowing growth in many of these countries, the prevailing view now appears to be that the rise of the BRICS was little more than an illusion. In this article, however, I contest this assessment by arguing that the emerging powers were never solely, nor most importantly, merely an economic phenomenon. Instead, I show that emerging powers—specifically Brazil, India and China—have become an important political force in the global trading system and have had a profound and lasting impact on the World Trade Organization (WTO). Contrary to the widespread assumption that these countries are too diverse to ally, I argue that the emerging powers displayed a remarkable degree of unity and cooperation, working in close concert to successfully challenge the dominance of the US and other established powers. As evidenced by the collapse of the Doha Round, the collective rise of Brazil, India and China substantially disrupted the functioning of one of the core institutions of the liberal economic order created under US hegemony.

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