The BRICS Policy Center hold the colloquim "The rise and fall of BRICS, seen from South Africa and Brazil", on June 6th, with Patrick Bond* (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg) and Ana Garcia** (UFRRJ).
“The Rise and Fall of the BRICS Seen from South Africa and Brazil” consisted of lectures by Professors Anna Garcia and Patrick Bond. Anna Garcia’s study explored how BRICS behaved in investment regimes and treaties. She evaluated, at the international level, the role of BRICS countries in increasing competition for natural resources, new markets, and new imperial competition with traditional powers. Looking at Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, her study concluded that in most cases, investment follows the traditional model of bilateral treaties. However, several nations are in stages of reform to prioritize international human rights over multinational corporate agreements. Garcia gave the example of the New Development Bank which aims to finance infrastructure and green economy and she used the term “BRICS from below” to define the possible international solidarity between BRICS countries and social societies such as activists, community organizations, and those adversely affected by multinational investment.
Patrick Bond’s lecture focused on the shortcomings of BRICS association through historical and current events exploring geopolical, economic, environmental, and social issues. He began by analyzing the rise of Brazil and South Africa in the global economy. Bond uses the term “super exploitation” to demonstrate how the exportation of surpluses puts a nation in an imperial position. For example, he explained how China exporting their excess steel drives bankrupt local markets of steel production in other countries such and England and India. Bond’s quoted a recent survey which found that the top concerns of citizens of BRICS nations were climate change and economic instability. Yet, he mentions how the 2016 Paris Agreement, designed to tackle climate change, is insufficient and non-binding, allowing the United States and BRICS, who generate most of the pollution, to benefit and take advantage of poorer African and Latin American nations. He additionally compared political situations in Brazil and South Africa. For Brazil, he talked about the current impeachment of President Dilma and whether or not other BRICS nations could have influenced the outcome. For South Africa, he discussed how President Nelson Mandela’s post-apartheid government ended up receiving payments from the IMF to pay off debts acquired because of apartheid. Bond’s concluded by summarizing the complicated relationship between the IMF, international monetary systems, and BRICS leaders and suggesting alternative cooperative actions during economic instability.
Click here to watch the interviews the panelists gave to TV PUC-Rio.
*Patrick Bond - Professor of political economy at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (from 2004-12 he headed the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society in Durban). Patrick finished his PhD (with David Harvey) in 1993 and in 1994 drafted democratic South Africa's first policy document, the White Paper on Reconstruction and Development in the office of President Mandela. His recent books include BRICS: An Anti-Capitalist Critique (2015, co-edited with Ana Garcia), Elite Transition: From Apartheid to Neoliberalism in South Africa (3rd edition 2014) and Politics of Climate Justice: Paralysis Above, Movement Below (2012).
**Ana Garcia - PhD in International Relations from the IRI/PUC-Rio and a Masters in Political Science from the Freie Universität Berlin. Professor in the Department of History and International Relations at the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRRJ). Coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Laboratory of International Relations Studies (LIERI / UFRRJ). Research collaborator at the Institute of Policy Alternatives for the Southern Cone (PACS). Recent publications: “BRICS, an anti-capitalist critique” (co-edited with Patrick Bond), Jacana, South Africa, 2015; “Uneven development: BRICS countries' participation in world scientific and technological production”. Contexto Internacional (online), vol. 37, p. 215-253, 2015; “Public policies and private interests: an analysis from the Nacala Corridor in Mozambique”. Notebook CHR, Salvador, vol. 26, nr. 76, pp. 69-86, 2016.