The emergence of the BRICS is one of the defining developments of international relations in the twenty-first century. The group of significant regional actors have created a mechanism through which they can collaboratively work together to further their own interests, whilst simultaneously promoting the needs and issues faced by developing countries more generally. The traditionally Western dominated form of global governance has faced an increased backlash, as unrepresented countries have fought back against the actors who use the global stage to further their own interests and causes. The creation and continuing functioning of the BRICS to promote alternative causes has led to a shift in world power and influence: this has been done primarily through its economic functions.
The very creation of the BRICS was pivotal in challenging the traditional world order. Many developing countries, particularly those in the global south have felt unrepresented and unaccounted for in the western biased world order. With power diffusing away from traditional western-centric hegemonic actors, emerging powers began to gain more power and have a more consequential role on the world stage. Despite the five countries that comprise the BRICS nations being extremely culturally and economically diverse, they have managed to achieve an unusual level of institutionalisation through their shared motivation of creating a new global order. The political creation of BRICS highlighted an idea of political activism from traditionally weaker developing countries in the Global South. The very process of the BRICS formation, diplomatic consolidation and institutionalisation has in itself challenged established balances of power. The BRICS managed to capitalise on the shifts of power that were occurring from the West to the East and South. The BRICS have hence created a new world order.
One of the BRICS’ primary aims are to create more ‘progressive’ means of socio-economic development of the less developed nations, in a bid to halt the levels of the increasing and existing inequality between them and the West. One BRICS nation has been especially prevalent in successful economic growth: China. Whilst principally evident in the Chinese economy, but still prevalent in all BRICS nations, levels of economic growth rates have been higher amongst these emerging powers than they have been in the traditional powers over the past decade. This highlights a deconcentration of economic power away from the historic hegemons. As the principal mechanisms for global governance and order is through economic power, this resultantly highlights how the BRICS nations have manged to penetrate the once closed off system and become influential actors in regard to global governance.
Despite the individual Chinese economic success, the institution of BRICS as a whole is still paramount to the success of overturing the established global order. The unique differences in terms of culture and interests will serve to the BRICS benefit in their quest for global power, as their established ability to work as a collective despite their obvious differences foreshadows the coexistence of these different interests in a ‘multiplex’ world. This will result in a representative and thus more successful system that the existing one, as more countries concerns, and views are voiced and represented. Resultantly, the BRICS nations are not only challenging the nature of the established balances of power in global governance through the nature of the very countries that are represented and dominate the international system, but also through the theory and ideologies that global governance has traditionally operated through. Whilst the BRICS do not operate through one singular economic model, they all denounce neoliberalism – the ideological framework that the West has operated their global governance efforts through since its initial adoption in the 1970s/80s. This therefore highlights another demarcation away from the traditional operation of global governance, and a shift towards the new world order.
The formation and strong institutionalisation of the BRICS has led to a successful challenging of once established balances of power in global governance. Through reshaping the scope of the global political economy’s priorities, polices and fundamental ideological stance, the BRICS have already altered the areas over which they have control. The BRICS’ goal of creating a new world order, in order to represent the developing countries that are currently unrepresented by the old-world order, is significantly under way, and as such their level of influence over the existing world order will only increase with time.
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