The BRIC countries, the original four mega economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China added South Africa around the time of the last World Cup to its group of developing economic giants. The original four economies and its later partner were seen by investment experts as the new developing engines of growth as far back as 12 years ago, and for the most part they did not disappoint. The BRIC’S’ label itself may have started with a clever way to group these four dissimilar economies into one simplified group for marketing purposes, but with the group forming its own economic association, the BRICS have become an interest group with a strong bargaining position within the international economy. Going beyond labels for investment purposes, organizations like the IOC had chosen to pick winners based on the assumptions that the BRICS will be the next winners in the international economy. International sporting competitions were slowly given to the BRICS nations whether or not they were truly prepared for them or whether or not it was a wise policy approach to invest in an Olympic Games and World Cup in succession with each other, or have the next Olympics in Russia with local tensions dominating the competition, or simply ignoring abuses against Chinese citizens for the sake of the games in 2008.
The reality of the BRICS is that some of the BRICS have done better than others, often they have little in common, and when they do have economic or political links, it has nothing to do with them being in the same BRICS grouping. Some budding investments have come between dissimilar BRICS partners however, with some business between unlikely business partners in Brazil and India likely coming from team BRICS, but for the most part the BRICS label and the fact that these countries are large developing economies are the only links they have in practical terms. The label has been somewhat successful bringing positive attention to the original four, but for the next line of growing large economies the term BRICS seemed to have the last spot filled by South Africa, maybe simply because they had the S, the most sellable letter in the Latin alphabet.
The next group of dissimilar large economies has also been cleverly labelled; we present to you the MINT nations! The fresher BRICS of Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey have been described by the investment analyst that labelled the BRICS as the next in line to take the coveted mega economies spot in the investment world. With unexpected links being formed between the BRICS due to clever labeling, the investment analyst that created the MINT points out that the four dissimilar MINT nations have little in common, but also praises the fact that the label may create an unexpected benefit for the new group as a whole or on an individual basis. Realistically however, each country will not be able to avoid bad policy decisions or a drop in commodity prices due to a link in an acronym created to simplify investments, the BRICS and the MINT are not infallible, and recently the BRICS have taken a lot of criticism for not always being good individual climates for investment.
Much discussion on Chinese debt, corruption in India and Russia, and poor long term policy decisions highlighted by protests in Brazil are beginning to plague economic news on the BRICS nations. In the January 12th 2014 broadcast of Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN, Fareed took to describing how some economies in Latin America will come out as winners and will continue to grow in the long run. He describes in detail why countries like Argentina, and to a lesser degree Brazil, have taken some policies out of the Venezuelan economic policy book to close off their economies to investment, thus shutting down long term future growth. Fareed goes through the criteria for becoming a country that makes investors allergic to placing their trust in a nation’s investment climate and goes into detail on how the region may look in the future if his criteria for a poor investment climate is met by Argentina or Brazil. He praises Mexico, Chile and Colombia for their openness to investment with Mexico making major reforms to opening up their economy and traditional industries to international capital. The MINTs may be fresher, but in the end there is no substitute for balanced, logical and fair policy approaches.