Category Archives: BRICS

What really goes on at G7? Interview with Nick Dearden

‘Nick Dearden, Director of NGO Global Justice Now, talks about what is really going on at the summit in the Bavarian town of Schloss Elmau. As the leaders of the richest countries on the globe meet to discuss improving the world, are they really just planning policies to benefit elites in Western countries? Plus what is The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition and how is it making it easier for big corporations to buy up land in developing countries.’ (Going Underground)

WikiLeaks releases secret TISA docs: The more evil sibling of TTIP and TPP

Glyn Moody reports for Ars Technica:

WikiLeaks has released 17 secret documents from the negotiations of the global Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), which have been taking place behind closed doors, largely unnoticed, since 2013. The main participants are the United States, the European Union, and 23 other countries including Turkey, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, Taiwan and Israel, which together comprise two-thirds of global GDP.

Significantly, all the BRICS countries—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—are absent, and are therefore unable to provide their perspective and input for what is essentially a deal designed by Western nations, for the benefit of Western corporations. According to the European Commission’s dedicated page: “TiSA aims at opening up markets and improving rules in areas such as licensing, financial services, telecoms, e-commerce, maritime transport, and professionals moving abroad temporarily to provide services.”

TISA’s focus on services complements the two other global trade agreements currently being negotiated in secret: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the corresponding deal for the Pacific region, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which deal with goods and investments. Like both TTIP and TPP, one of the central aims of TISA is to remove “barriers” to trade in services, and to impose a regulatory ratchet on participating nations. In the case of TISA, the ratchet ensures that services are deregulated and opened up to private companies around the world, and that once privatised, they cannot be re-nationalised.

The 17 documents released today include drafts and annexes on issues such as air traffic, maritime transport, professional services, e-commerce, delivery services, transparency, and domestic regulation, as well as several documents on the positions of negotiating parties.’

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UK shift to China and AIIB “extremely worrying for Washington” – Interview with Liam Halligan

‘Liam Halligan, editor at large of Business New Europe and Telegraph columnist, talks to Going Underground host Afshin Rattansi about the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. He explains it is a rival to not only the IMF but also to the Asia Development Bank, which is Japanese-led. This is extremely threatening to the US as the BRIC countries wield a massive amount of power. There is a difference in the way that America and Britain see China, with the UK seeing them as a trading partner rather than a challenge. It is a symbolic move for Britain to back the AIIB, taking a step away from Washington towards a current that the US sees as a ‘major irritant.’ And he feels there is a growing argument that Britain’s future lies not in the West, with a failing Eurozone, but in a thriving Asian economy.’ (Going Underground)

China’s building a new Silk Road to Europe, and it’s leaving America behind

Pepe Escobar writes for Tom Dispatch:

‘[…] The Yiwu-Madrid route across Eurasia represents the beginning of a set of game-changing developments. It will be an efficient logistics channel of incredible length. It will represent geopolitics with a human touch, knitting together small traders and huge markets across a vast landmass. It’s already a graphic example of Eurasian integration on the go. And most of all, it’s the first building block on China’s “New Silk Road,” conceivably the project of the new century and undoubtedly the greatest trade story in the world for the next decade.

Go west, young Han. One day, if everything happens according to plan (and according to the dreams of China’s leaders), all this will be yours—via high-speed rail, no less. The trip from China to Europe will be a two-day affair, not the 21 days of the present moment. In fact, as that freight train left Yiwu, the D8602 bullet train was leaving Urumqi in Xinjiang Province, heading for Hami in China’s far west. That’s the first high-speed railway built in Xinjiang, and more like it will be coming soon across China at what is likely to prove dizzying speed.

Today, 90% of the global container trade still travels by ocean, and that’s what Beijing plans to change. Its embryonic, still relatively slow New Silk Road represents its first breakthrough in what is bound to be an overland trans-continental container trade revolution.

And with it will go a basket of future “win-win” deals, including lower transportation costs, the expansion of Chinese construction companies ever further into the Central Asian “stans,” as well as into Europe, an easier and faster way to move uranium and rare metals from Central Asia elsewhere, and the opening of myriad new markets harboring hundreds of millions of people.

So if Washington is intent on “pivoting to Asia,” China has its own plan in mind. Think of it as a pirouette to Europe across Eurasia.’

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The End Of An Era: Is The US Petrodollar Under Threat?

Andrew Topf writes for Oil Price:

‘Recent trade deals and high-level cooperation between Russia and China have set off alarm bells in the West as policymakers and oil and gas executives watch the balance of power in global energy markets shift to the East.

The reasons for the cozier relationship between the two giant powers are, of course, rooted in the Ukraine crisis and subsequent Western sanctions against Russia, combined with China’s need to secure long-term energy supplies. However, a consequence of closer economic ties between Russia and China could also mean the beginning of the end of dominance for the U.S. dollar, and that could have a profound impact on energy markets.’

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A real counterweight to US power is a global necessity

Seumas Milne writes for The Guardian:

Vladimir Putin‘[…] There is little chance of the western camp responding to Putin’s call for a new system of global rules. In fact, the US showed little respect for rules during the cold war either, intervening relentlessly wherever it could. But it did have respect for power. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, that restraint disappeared. It was only the failure of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – and Russia’s subsequent challenge to western expansion and intervention in Georgia, Syria and Ukraine – that provided some check to unbridled US power.

Along with the rise of China, it has also created some space for other parts of the world to carve out their political independence, notably in Latin America. Putin’s oligarchic nationalism may not have much global appeal, but Russia’s role as a counterweight to western supremacism certainly does. Which is why much of the world has a different view of events in Ukraine from the western orthodoxy – and why China, India, Brazil and South Africa all abstained from the condemnation of Russia over Crimea at the UN earlier this year.

But Moscow’s check on US military might is limited. Its economy is over-dependent on oil and gas, under-invested and now subject to disabling sanctions. Only China offers the eventual prospect of a global restraint on western unilateral power and that is still some way off. As Putin is said to have told the US vice-president, Joe Biden, Russia may not be strong enough to compete for global leadership, but could yet decide who that leader might be.’

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Can China and Russia Squeeze Washington out of Eurasia?

Pepe Escobar writes for TomDispatch:

Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping‘A specter haunts the fast-aging “New American Century”: the possibility of a future Beijing-Moscow-Berlin strategic trade and commercial alliance. Let’s call it the BMB.

Its likelihood is being seriously discussed at the highest levels in Beijing and Moscow, and viewed with interest in Berlin, New Delhi and Tehran. But don’t mention it inside Washington’s Beltway or at NATO headquarters in Brussels. There, the star of the show today and tomorrow is the new Osama bin Laden: Caliph Ibrahim, aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the elusive, self-appointed beheading prophet of a new mini-state and movement that has provided an acronym feast—ISIS/ISIL/IS—for hysterics in Washington and elsewhere.

No matter how often Washington remixes its “Global War on Terror,” however, the tectonic plates of Eurasian geopolitics continue to shift, and they’re not going to stop just because American elites refuse to accept that their historically brief “unipolar moment” is on the wane. For them, the closing of the era of “full-spectrum dominance,” as the Pentagon likes to call it, is inconceivable. After all, the necessity for the indispensable nation to control all space—military, economic, cultural, cyber and outer—is little short of a religious doctrine. Exceptionalist missionaries don’t do equality. At best, they do “coalitions of the willing” like the one crammed with “over 40 countries” assembled to fight ISIS/ISIL/IS and either applauding (and plotting) from the sidelines or sending the odd plane or two toward Iraq or Syria.

NATO, which unlike some of its members won’t officially fight Jihadistan, remains a top-down outfit controlled by Washington. It’s never fully bothered to take in the European Union (EU) or considered allowing Russia to “feel” European. As for the Caliph, he’s just a minor diversion. A postmodern cynic might even contend that he was an emissary sent onto the global playing field by China and Russia to take the eye of the planet’s hyperpower off the ball.’

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World Cup Lessons: What Brazil 2014 could mean for Russia 2018

Manuel Veth writes for Futbolgrad:

‘The World Cup 2014 in Brazil was hailed by some media outlets as the greatest tournament of all time. But while the action on the pitch may serve as the benchmark for future tournaments, the headlines circling the organisation of the tournament will serve as a serious warning for the next edition of football’s most prestigious tournament, to be held in Russia in 2018.

Both Russia and Brazil share a place among the BRIC grouping acronym, which refers to four emerging market powerhouse economies – Brazil, Russia, India and China – all deemed to be at a similar stage of economic development and expected to be among the world’s most dominant economies by the year 2050 . Such similarities are leading analysts to use Brazil’s experience as a guide, or more importantly as a source of foreboding concern for Russia over the next four years.’

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Global Value Chains, Globalisation and the New Trade Policy Narrative: Interview with Faizel Ismail

World Trade Organization’s failure points to fragmented future for global trade

From Reuters:

‘[…] For several years, many of the bigger economies have been pouring their energies into new clubs aiming to liberalise trade in particular regions or in specific sectors of the economy. “What WTO promoters fail to understand is that their forum competes with other vehicles for reform. Through poor design, bad luck and bad tactics, the WTO has handicapped itself in this race,” said Evenett.

Of all the big economies, India has perhaps bet most on the WTO, with little progress in opening up bilateral or regional ties. Despite its role as a offshore services hub and its vast population, it has yet to sew up a bilateral trade agreement with the EU and an investment treaty with the United States. The 28-nation EU and the United States, which are trying to negotiate a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, are among pioneers of the smaller clubs, but China is also involved.

Beijing is a member of groups trying to develop new standards for information technology products and environmental goods, and it wants to join one that is working to liberalise trade in services. Last week’s veto prompted some countries to discuss moving ahead with the customs treaty without India.’

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Obama on the new world (dis)order

Editor’s Note: Many people, especially within the conspiracy community, get excited whenever the term ‘new world order‘ is uttered by politicians. The ‘new world order’ often spoken of by U.S. leaders over the past 25-30 years, starting with George H.W. Bush at the end of the Cold War, refers to an American led global order. In recently years there has been a challenge to this American led system through the growth of the BRICS countries which has weakened U.S. global military and financial power. It is the growth of Russia and China in particular that TTIP and TPP are designed to stifle economically. You also have the Asia Pivot (aimed at China) and American/NATO involvement in Ukraine (aimed at Russia) which come into it on the side of foreign policy. It’s all essentially one big game of chess that has been going on for many years now.

Ben White reports for Politico:

‘President Obama at a fundraiser last night outside Seattle: “People are anxious. Now, some of that has to do with some big challenges overseas. I am very proud that we have ended one war, and by the end of this year we will have ended both wars that I inherited … But whether people see what’s happening in Ukraine, and Russia’s aggression towards its neighbors in the manner in which it’s financing and arming separatists; to what’s happened in Syria … to the failure in Iraq for Sunni and Shia and Kurd to compromise … to what’s happening in Israel and Gaza” …

“Part of people’s concern is just the sense that around the world the old order isn’t holding and we’re not quite yet to where we need to be in terms of a new order that’s based on a different set of principles, that’s based on a sense of common humanity, that’s based on economies that work for all people. … But here in the United States, what people are also concerned about is the fact that although the economy has done well in the aggregate, for the average person it feels as if incomes, wages just haven’t gone up; that people, no matter how hard they work, they feel stuck.”’

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Pepe Escobar: A chessboard drenched in blood

Pepe Escobar writes for the Asia Times:

‘ […] The Big Picture spells out the Empire of Chaos elites as extremely uneasy. Take Dr Zbigniew “The Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski, who as a former foreign policy mentor has the ears of the increasingly dejected White House paperboy. Dr Zbig was on CNN this Sunday challenging Europe’s leaders to “stand up to Putin”. He wonders if “Europe wants to become a satellite” and worries about “a moment of decisive significance for the future of the system – of the world system”.

And it’s all Putin’s fault, of course: “We’re not starting the Cold War. He [Putin] has started it. But he has gotten himself into a horrendous jam. I strongly suspect that a lot of people in Russia, even not far away from him who are worried that Russia’s status in the world is dramatically being undermined, that Russia’s economically beginning to fail, that Russia’s threatened by the prospect of becoming a satellite to China, that Russia’s becoming self-isolated and discredited.”

Obviously Dr Zbig is blissfully unaware of the finer points of the Russia-China strategic partnership, as well as their concerted voice inside the BRICS, the G-20 and myriad other mechanisms. His trademark Russophobia in the end always gets the better of him. And to think that in his latest book, Strategic Vision (2012), Dr Zbig was in favor of an enlarged “West” annexing Turkey and Russia, with the Empire of Chaos posing as “promoter” and “guarantor” of broader unity in the West, and a “balancer” and “conciliator” between the major powers in the East. A quick look at the record since 2012 – Libya, Syria, Ukraine, encirclement of China – reveals the Empire of Chaos only as fomenter of, what else, chaos.

Now compare a fearful Dr Zbig with Immanuel Wallerstein – who was a huge influence in my 2007 warped geopolitical travel book Globalistan. In this piece (in Spanish) Wallerstein argues that the Empire of Chaos simply can’t accept its geopolitical decadence – and that’s why it has become so dangerous. Restoring its hegemony in the world-system has become the supreme obsession; and that’s where the whole “policy” that is an essential background to the MH17 tragedy reveals Ukraine as the definitive do or die battleground.

In Europe, everything hinges on Germany. Especially after the National Security Agency scandal and its ramifications, the key debate raging in Berlin is how to position itself geopolitically bypassing the US. And the answer, as pressed by large swathes of German big business, lies in a strategic partnership with Russia.’

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Nobel Economist Joseph Stiglitz Hails New BRICS Bank Challenging U.S.-Dominated World Bank & IMF

‘A group of five countries have launched their own development bank to challenge the U.S.-dominated World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Leaders from the so-called BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — unveiled the New Development Bank at a summit in the Brazilian city of Fortaleza. The bank will be headquartered in Shanghai. Together, BRICS countries account for 25 percent of global GDP and 40 percent of the world’s population. To discuss this development, we are joined by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, a professor at Columbia University and the World Bank’s former chief economist. “It’s very important in many ways,” Stiglitz says of the New Development Bank’s founding. “This is adding to the flow of money that will go to finance infrastructure, adaptation to climate change — all the needs that are so evident in the poorest countries. It [also] reflects a fundamental change in global economic and political power. The BRICS countries today are richer than the advanced countries were when the World Bank and the IMF were founded. We’re in a different world — but the old institutions haven’t kept up.”‘ (Democracy Now!)

China’s President offers to build a railway across South America

From the Business Standard:

‘Firming up ‘s engagement with resource-rich Latin America, President Xi Jinping has offered to build a railway network across the continent, considered the backyard of the US.
During his meet with Peruvian President Ollanta Humala on the sidelines of BRICS summit in Brasilia yesterday, Xi proposed that China, Peru and  form a working group to promote cooperation on the project.

He suggested that a trilateral working group be established to guide their cooperation in all related aspects including planning, design, construction and operation of the transcontinental railway, state run China Daily said today. Experts say collaboration on the railway project, which would run from the Peruvian Pacific coast to the Brazilian Atlantic coast, will be a good example of China’s positive impact on the Latin American continent, the Daily said.’

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Jim Rickards: BRICS Development Bank A Significant Step Away From The Dollar

China plans investment bank to break World Bank dominance

RT reports:

‘China is moving forward with a plan to create its own version of the World Bank, which will rival institutions that are under the sway of the US and the West. The bank will start with $100 billion in capital. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will extend China’s financial reach and compete not only with the World Bank, but also with the Asian Development Bank, which is heavily dominated by Japan. The $100 billion in capital is double that originally proposed, the Financial Times (FT) reported.

A member of the World Bank, China has less voting power than countries like the US, Japan, and the UK. It is in the ‘Category II’ voting bloc, giving it less of a voice. In the Asian Development Bank, China only holds a 5.5 percent share, compared to America’s 15.7 percent share and Japan’s 15.6 share. At the International Monetary Fund, China pays a 4 percent quota, whereas the US pays nearly 18 percent, and therefore has more influence within the organization and where loans go. “China feels it can’t get anything done in the World Bank or the IMF so it wants to set up its own World Bank that it can control itself,” the FT quoted a source close to discussions as saying.’

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India seeks giant gas deal with Russia following in China’s footsteps

Valentin Mândrăşescu reports for The Voice of Russia:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry O. Rogozin in New Delhi. File photo‘Less than a month ago, China ensured that its voracious economy would have a steady supply of Russian natural gas for the next thirty years. Indian press reports that Narendra Modi would like to follow Xi Jinping’s lead and connect India to the vast energy resources of Russia. For a decade, Russian experts have been talking about making the country the top energy supplier in Asia and creating a North-South energy axis that will inevitably lead to closer relations between the biggest geopolitical players on the continent. It seems that India’s newly elected Prime Minister is willing to take the necessary steps to make Moscow’s dream a reality.

The Financial Express reported that Narendra Modi is considering an ambitious plan to extend the natural gas pipeline between Siberia and China all the way to India. The pipeline will link Russia’s natural gas resources to Indian industrial and domestic consumers, drastically reducing the current exuberant energy costs that act as a drag on the country’s economy. For Modi, industrialization is everything, because without industrialization he can’t fulfill the promises he made to the India’s poor and middle class citizens during the recent elections. However, industrialization without low energy prices is impossible and India’s new leader is therefore obliged to seek cheap and reliable sources of natural gas and oil. The only reasonable option is to strike a long-term deal with Russia.’

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BRICS nations hope to bankroll a changing world order

Michael Pizzi writes for Al Jazeera:

‘After more than six decades of dictating development policy in much of the emerging world, the Western-led International Monetary Fund and World Bank may soon have some competition.

The BRICS nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — are reportedly close to finalizing their long-awaited development bank and currency reserve, each valued at $100 billion, in what has been billed as a historic challenge by the world’s emerging economies to a global financial architecture that has been dominated by the U.S. and Western Europe since its post–World War II inception.

The BRICS nations first announced their plans for the bank in March 2013 but struggled to reach an agreement over China’s desire to hold a greater stake in the institution. But a Brazilian government official told Reuters last week that the five members were ready to split funding and control equally, clearing the last major hurdle for a launch in 2016.

To economists in the developing world, who have long criticized the World Bank and IMF as anathema to the countries they purport to help, the New Development Bank holds tremendous promise. Critics say the West has taken advantage of its monopoly in international lending to wield outsize influence in the economic and political affairs of developing countries, dictating development models that further entrench these countries’ subservience to the West.

But unlike the U.S. and Europe, who are in lockstep on most things, the BRICS countries have little in common but a shared ambition to rebalance the global economic order.’

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Could China Kill the US Dollar?

‘For the last few years, increasing numbers of commentators, including Max Keiser, have been predicting the collapse of the US dollar, a collapse that could be closer than you think. America currently faces a very real, impending threat — China. China accounts for more global trade than anyone else on the planet, and most of that trade happens in US dollars keeping demand for the dollar high and overseas trade at low costs. Not only this, but China holds around 1.3 trillion dollars of US debt. A debt accumulated by China’s stockpile of dollars from international trade which they lend back to the US at ridiculously low interest rates. But what happens if they stop playing the game? Well, in some respects they already have.’ (Truthloader)

Jim Rogers: Countries ditching dollar over U.S. foreign policies

Hear the full interview here…

Unipolar world is coming to an end, Putin says

From Vestnik Kavkaza:

‘President of Russia Vladimir Putin stated at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum that the unipolar model of the world has failed; and today it is obvious to everybody, including those who try to live in the past and maintain a monopoly, dictate their rules in politics, trade, finance, and impose cultural standards.’

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The Birth of a Eurasian Century: Russia and China Do Pipelineistan

Pepe Escobar writes for TomDispatch:

Photo: Here's what it looks like.‘A specter is haunting Washington, an unnerving vision of a Sino-Russian alliance wedded to an expansive symbiosis of trade and commerce across much of the Eurasian land mass – at the expense of the United States.

And no wonder Washington is anxious. That alliance is already a done deal in a variety of ways: through the BRICS group of emerging powers (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa); at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Asian counterweight to NATO; inside the G20; and via the 120-member-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Trade and commerce are just part of the future bargain.  Synergies in the development of new military technologies beckon as well. After Russia’s Star Wars-style, ultra-sophisticated S-500 air defense anti-missile system comes online in 2018, Beijing is sure to want a version of it. Meanwhile, Russia is about to sell dozens of state-of-the-art Sukhoi Su-35 jet fighters to the Chinese as Beijing and Moscow move to seal an aviation-industrial partnership.

This week should provide the first real fireworks in the celebration of a new Eurasian century-in-the-making when Russian President Vladimir Putin drops in on Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.  You remember “Pipelineistan,” all those crucial oil and gas pipelines crisscrossing Eurasia that make up the true circulatory system for the life of the region.  Now, it looks like the ultimate Pipelineistan deal, worth $1 trillion and 10 years in the making, will be inked as well.  In it, the giant, state-controlled Russian energy giant Gazprom will agree to supply the giant state-controlled China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) with 3.75 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas a day for no less than 30 years, starting in 2018. That’s the equivalent of a quarter of Russia’s massive gas exports to all of Europe. China’s current daily gas demand is around 16 billion cubic feet a day, and imports account for 31.6% of total consumption.

Gazprom may still collect the bulk of its profits from Europe, but Asia could turn out to be its Everest. The company will use this mega-deal to boost investment in Eastern Siberia and the whole region will be reconfigured as a privileged gas hub for Japan and South Korea as well. If you want to know why no key country in Asia has been willing to “isolate” Russia in the midst of the Ukrainian crisis – and in defiance of the Obama administration – look no further than Pipelineistan.’

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China’s Latin American Empire

From World Crunch:

Article illustrative image‘The recent tour of four Latin American states by China‘s Foreign Minister Wang Yi was hailed as a success in each place he visited: Cuba, Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina. Back in Beijing, it was largely seen as a rehearsal for a planned visit by the Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is expected to watch the World Cup final in July in the legendary Maracaná stadium, as a guest of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff.  That will be the Chinese President’s second trip to the region since he took office a little over a year ago, after a 2013 visit to Mexico, Costa Rica and Trinidad, where he met with half a dozen Caribbean leaders. After the World Cup, the Chinese President will attend a meeting of BRICS countries in Fortaleza in Brazil and next January, China’s first summit with CELAC, the grouping of all regional states bar the United States and Canada.

Xi is showing more interest in the region than Barack Obama or European heads of state. And for good reason. China buys, invests and loans a lot of money to the region. It was China’s demand for Latin American raw materials that largely spared the region from the 2008-2009 global financial crisis. Chinese growth may have slowed, but crude prices are continuing to rise because it is buying more oil than ever. China is becoming the premier oil buyer from Venezuela and Ecuador, the greatest purchaser of copper from Chile, of soya from Argentina and of Brazilian iron and corn. It is already the biggest trading partner of Brazil, Chile and Peru and Mexico’s second commercial partner.’

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BRICS: Quiet revolution of the emerging countries

Astrid Prange writes for DW:

BRICS heads of state (photo: dpa Bildfunk)‘The goal of the emerging countries is clear – to change the global order with the United States as the hegemonic power. “The BRICS countries are a group of nations unsatisfied with the international order,” said Peter Birle, head of research at the Ibero-American Institute (IAI) in Berlin. “The importance of BRICS could rise if Russia remains permanently excluded from the G8,” he added.

According to Birle, the five emerging countries seek to permanently upend the power constellations established in 1945 and relativize the US position. “All these countries view themselves as emerging powers with a great future ahead of them,” he said at the 15th Stuttgarter Schlossgespräch, an annual conference involving a panel of international social science, culture and politicis expert. This year’s talks focused on the relationship between Brazil and Europe.’

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New economic world order: 1. China. 2. USA. 3. India

Deepak Chitnis writes for The American Bazaar:

‘A new report by the World Bank shows that China is all but guaranteed to surpass the US this year as the world’s largest economy, currently just a hair’s breadth away from claiming the top spot, while India stands at a solid third place.

The study, put together under the World Bank’s International Comparison Program, analyzed the Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) of various nations. By using PPP, says the report, researchers were allowed to essentially equalize the disparate currencies of the countries that were studied, and compare “size and price levels of economies around the world.”

The numbers, all of which are from 2011, show that China’s overall GDP was 87% of that of the US, more than double the 43% that Chinese GDP was in relation to the US in 2005. India experienced similar growth, jumping from 19% of US GDP in 2005 to 37% in 2011; in the process, India vaulted from the tenth-largest world economy to the third-largest in the span of just six years.’

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Meet TISA: Another Major Treaty Negotiated In Secret Alongside TPP And TTIP

Glyn Moody writes for Techdirt:

‘Similarities suggest TISA is part of a larger plan that includes not just TAFTA/TTIP, but TPP too, and which aims to cement the dominance of the US and EU in world trade against a background of Asia’s growing power. Indeed, it’s striking how membership of TISA coincides almost exactly with that of TTIP added to TPP:

The 23 TiSA parties currently comprise: Australia, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Costa Rica, European Union (representing its 28 Member States), Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Republic of Korea, Switzerland,, Turkey and the United States.

Once more, the rising economies of the BRICS nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa — are all absent, and the clear intent, as with TTIP and TPP, is to impose the West’s terms on them.’

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Pepe Escobar on Kerry’s attack on RT and the new media cold war: “Let’s talk about Fox News, BBC and Al-Jazeera bullhorns”

Former Foreign Secretary of India: ‘West scared of BRICS as it has no control over it’

Slowdown puts 1bn middle class at risk

Shawn Donnan and John Burn-Murdoch write for the Financial Times:

The Fragile MiddleAlmost a billion people in the developing world are at risk of slipping out of the ranks of a nascent middle class, according to FT analysis, raising questions about the durability of the past 30 years’ remarkable march out of poverty. Rising inequality and slower global growth raise issues for businesses that have been investing heavily in emerging markets. One of the biggest questions confronting governments is what slower growth will mean for the creation of a solid middle class in countries such as China and India, which many are counting on to drive the global economy in the 21st century.

…Analysis by the FT of World Bank income distribution data from 122 developing countries since the 1970s makes clear that most of the millions who have risen out of poverty in recent decades are sitting in what is best described as a “fragile middle” between those two lines. There were 2.8bn people – 40 per cent of the world’s population – living on $2-$10 a day in the developing world in 2010, the most recent year for which data are available. That makes the fragile middle the world’s biggest income group. Moreover, many of those lifted out of poverty remain in an even tighter band only just above the $2 per day line. There were 952m people earning $2-$3 a day in the developing world in 2010, according to the FT analysis, a vulnerable segment that has grown more quickly than any other across the income spectrum.

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Development by the Elites, For the Elites: Global Poverty and Neoliberalism

Ben Selwyn, senior lecturer in international development at the School of Global Studies, University of Sussex, writes for CounterPunch:

selwyn

Jim O’Neill is at it again. He is best known for inventing the acronym BRIC (now BRICS), a group of countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and then South Africa — which, he claimed, would dominate the world economy in the 21st century. Now he is suggesting that the MINTs (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) will have the same economic growth as China if they continue their market-orientated economic policies.

O’Neill, a British economist who used to work for the “vampire squid” investment bank Goldman Sachs, is pursuing a double objective. He is identifying emerging economies fit for investment by the global banking community; he says the BRICS and MINTs are knocking on a development door, which, if they’re pursuing the correct economic policies, will open wide to the benefits of economic growth. His view of the world system regards the self-interested actions of investment bankers as contributing to the development of poor countries; he and other neoliberal economists disguise the central dynamics of economic development under capitalism.

The contemporary world has unprecedented wealth, and mass poverty. Total global wealth was $241 trillion in 2013 and is expected to rise to $334 trillion by 2018. Yet the majority of people live in poverty. To suggest that rising global wealth and global poverty are interrelated, and that the former is premised upon the latter, is not something that most players in international development want to do because it would reveal the sordid foundation of their vision of development.

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