Norms and Values
Global Inequality: Will the BRICS Countries Succeed in ‘Steering’ the Global Economy
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The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are important in the context of addressing global inequality. Together, they occupy a huge proportion of the Earth’s population and geographical space. Therefore, “inequality” and “equality” within the BRICS have global significance. The nature of economic growth in the BRICS countries has a signifi cant impact on changes in inequality in other countries, both developed and developing. These nations are also important because they are committed to combating inequality between countries, they share a desire to promote what Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called “a new polycentric system of international relations”.

They are also important because their efforts to address domestic inequalities are becoming an increasingly important source of innovation and development as a beacon of hope and change. In a quest to understand different dimensions of inequality within BRICS nations, we took a glimpse into their political economic architecture.

In recent years, the BRICS countries have reduced inequality between countries, driving economic growth through trade and investment in poorer regions of the world. In 2012, they collectively invested more than $6 billion in Africa compared to $3.7 billion for the US.

They have had an impact on inequality in poor countries, stimulating industrializationvas well as commodity production, creating jobs for many poor people while providing national elites with new opportunities for accumulation. They have helped rebalance world trade, making South-South fl ows much more important in the composition of world trade. This effect is likely to continue despite the slowdown that some BRICS countries are now experiencing. Geopolitical shifts partly reflect changes in the global economy. In recent years, the BRICS nations have gained more leverage to assert their interests, which sometimes coincide with those of the global South as a whole. This analysis seeks to characterize the BRICS and their growing infl uence as an actor in global politics in light of the anti-equality agenda.