Since the end of the Cold War, when the constraints of the bipolar world ceased to exist, developing countries have gained greater political autonomy in the international system.
Global changes that have occurred since the beginning of the century were certainly the turning point for there affirmation and consolidation threw economic transformation and also, political and social progress in the international arena.
Thus, the integration of these countries into the world economy – especially those under the acronym BRIC – can be classified as one of the phenomena that are impacting the world’s economy functioning since the beginning of the century.
Although the BRICs are often mentioned because of there heterogeneous and challenging nature, there union for greater weight, range and relevance in the international arena is increasing.
BRIC´s growing participation in the world economy imposes challenges to multilateralism and international governance systems, both in the economic sphere and in politics.
Participation in decision-making in international bodies or under multilateral environmental agreements is today an indicative signal of their central role in defining and implementing the international agenda.
The increasing participation of the BRICs in the international sphere, besides subverting the contemporary international order, requires a rapid political and economic adaptation in the multilateral system created at the end of World War II.
From an economic perspective, for example, the post-financial crisis scenario seems to be a possible lever for this change.
The slowdown in world growth, especially after the exhaustion of the monetary and fiscal impulses; the reduced financial wealth in the world; and the need to rebuild U.S. savings, are reasons that lead the emerging countries to assume a central role in the resumption of growth worldwide.
Their presence, however, can already be heard. The large consumer market of the four countries – which together, amount to three billion people or 42% of global population – has been identified as the main shell for the economic crisis.
Moreover, between 2000 and 2007, the BRICs have reached the figure of 50% of the global economy, having a larger share of world trade than the U.S.
The partnership, before restricted to the economic field, seems to take new shapes in order to boost economic growth and global multilateralism.
The integration of these countries, however, stands as a double challenge: in addition to greater demand for involvement in many different spheres, consistent with the international responsibilities that have been reached, it also requires the deepening of domestic reforms, whether bureaucratic or to increase competitiveness, to achieve an amplified share in the costs and benefits associated with the global economy, which may allow them to climb the ladder of development and to make the twenty-first century the “century of emerging countries.”
Fernanda Fernandes Graduated in International Relations in Candido Mendes University and works as researcher of GAPCon, at Centro de Estudos das Américas/Candido Mendes University.