The BRIC acronym was coined by Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O’Neill in 2001. He predicted four emerging economies — Brazil, Russia, India and China — were on their way to reshape the world economy.
Opponents said the countries were too different culturally and socially to be grouped together and that ultimately, it was a Goldman Sachs marketing ploy.
Still, in the first decade, the countries met all expectations and beyond. Investment banks, think tanks and academia capitalized on the successes and everyone was talking about BRIC. In 2010, the group added South Africa, making its acronym BRICS.
The countries went from less than 20% of the world’s GPD in 2003 to about 30% 10 years later. China and India were growing exponentially, while rising commodity prices kept Brazil and Russia in good pace to meet O’Neill’s predictions.
But shortly after the financial crisis, external factors combined with serious internal turmoil proved too much for the group. While China and India are growing steadily today, Russia and Brazil have gone in the opposite direction.