China 5/16/2010 4:43:00 PM China, China, China! By: John Diamond China right now is the biggest of the BRIC nations, both by population and economic size. Their GDP as of last year was $8.789 trillion and they have a population of 1,338,612,968 (July 2009). This is the largest in the world and it creates a lot of interesting factors for a booming country. The back bone of the Chinese market is made up of cheap labor which they can supply so much of because of their high population. Another thing that actually plays in their favor (for the short term at least) is being a dictatorship. It would be extremely difficult to run a democracy with a population the size of China’s. Take India for example, they have a population of 1,156,897,766 (July 2009) and they have a democracy that is riddled with corruption and red tape. Their government is very slow to get anything done unlike the Chinese who snap their fingers and it happens. Now this is not good in the long run, dictatorships rarely survive long nowadays While China may have a very large GDP, their GDP per capita is much smaller, only $6,600. This is the 128 lowest in the world and speaks volumes. While we see many pictures of the big and sprawling city’s we don’t see many pictures of the hundreds of millions of farmers that live in rural China. These people live on less then a dollar a day which is incredible how that can happen in a country with the third highest GDP in the world. This lack of caring towards its own poorer people creates a very volatile country. Add that to the fact that most of the poorer people are moving to the cities, making money, and joining the middle class. This is bad news for Chinese government because the biggest thing about middle class people is that the usually are vocal and they usually want their freedoms. In China that means that there are a lot of very loud and very angry people which is never what people in power want.
Brazil and Its Problems By: Nayab Mahmood Brazil is a country that is slowly becoming a rising world power. With a $2.025 trillion GDP, it ranks 10th in the world. It's economy is made up of mostly service industry (67.7%) followed by Industry (25.8%). The median age of it's people is 28.6 years, with it's population growing at a rate of 1.199%. It's people are failry literate, with an 88% literacy rate. However, despite all these attributes, there are still many issues that need to be addressed before it can be known as a dominant world power. Poverty, education, environment, health, safety, and the prevalance of drugs are issuses that need to be resolved. Many of the poor in Brazil live in areas known as favelas. These areas are ravaged by poor sanitation, and are controlled by the powerful druglords. In addition, there is a noticeable economic segregation, with Black Brazilians being on the lower end of the economic spectrum. Environmental issues also need to be resolved before the country can be seen as a major world player. 64% of Brazil's natural habitat remains, and there are approximately 270 endangered or threatened species. Trafficking of wild animals and deforestation of the famous Amazon Rainforest are major problems plaguing the country. Despite it's environmental problems however, Brazil is making huge strides to become a more green nation. It has recently turned towards using more and more ethanol as opposed to gasoline to fuel it's cars. Because of this movement for change, Brazil has become the world's largest producer and consumer of the ethanol from sugarcane. These efforts have been remarked as major strides by other major powers, towards working to a more environmentally-friendly future. In regards to the world's most powerful country, the United States, relations are friendly. Brazil maintains a close friendship with the US, and thus has become a relaible trading partner. The US holds the title as the first country to recognize Brazil's independence in 1822, and now regards it as a major player in Latin America. In March 2008, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signed a Joint Action Plan for Racial Equality, a program designed to help combat racial discrimination. Most recently, in March 2009, President Obama and President Luiz Lula da Silva of Brazil had major discussions about the economy, environment, and child abduction. There are still many changes that need to take place to provide for a strong infastructure in Brazil. However Brazil proves to be a powerful country who will inevitably prove to be the in the next new stage of dominant powers.
INDIA! INDIA! INDIA! Crowned the "Jewel of the East", India is a force to be reckoned with. With the world's second largest population, it is no surprise that India is quickly advancing to become a place of social and economic progress. With a $3.56 trillion dollar GDP, India ranks 5th in the world and is quickly rising to the top in terms of leading the world's economy. Leading in areas such as steel, engineering, and technology, India has begun to surpass the rest of the world and has many more achievements to go. India has a 61% literacy rate and the median age of 25 years old for men and women; Indiaâ€™s social capital has many opportunities for development and progress. Indians are primarily Indo-Arayan; with 80% of the total population as Hindus, religion plays a major role in India yet India has primarily become a secular nation with a federal republic as government. This secularism has been causing a massive urbanization movement where Indians are seeking to move to the city. City populations are growing exponentially as Japan is helping India with building more green cities. This effort to become more environmentally friendly is a smart move on behalf of India due to their problems of pollution and deforestation just to name a few. Japanâ€™s aid to India is one among many foreign relationships and allies that India has; on July 18, 2005, President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced their resolve to transform the relationship between their countries and establish a global partnership. This was the beginning of a new relationship between these two world powers. Significantly, the United States and India share a commitment to Afghanistan, recognizing that rebuilding that nation is critical to combating terrorism and enhancing regional stability and prosperity. The relationship between America and India is an extremely important one in terms of global stabilization and progress.
Op-Ed piece5/18/2010 8:33:00 AM The BRIC Nations by John Diamond The four rising countries that make up the BRIC nations are Brazil, Russia, India, and China. These nations have the fastest growing economies in the world and are becoming more and more powerful in the geopolitical landscape. What is interesting to note is that all of these countries are expanding economically because of other nations who are already economically powerful. Russia and Brazil have vast oil deposits that they sell to other countries and India and China has plentiful and cheap labor which other countries use. Because of this each country faces long term problems. It is difficult to have an economy that runs solely on exporting goods in such a niche market. In order to continue to expand and develop each nation is going to need to diversify. For a long time the USA hold an almost global monopoly on the world’s steel producing more than half of the world’s steel, but when the steel industry lost its importance and in a sense “collapsed” the American economy stayed buoyant. They also face a lot of short term problems but those are unique to each country. China for instance has to deal with a rising middle class which is never something a Communist Dictatorship wants to deal with since the middle class has a strong tendency to want personal freedoms. I just don’t see any country who doesn’t allow their people to use Google to truly prosper and flourish. India on the other hand has to deal with a paralyzed democracy. American has a tough time getting its own government to work and there are only 300 to 400 million people living here compared to India’s 1.15 billion people! To get anything done in India it could take months with all the red tape and corruption as opposed to its main competitor for cheap labor, China. China doesn’t have to wait for popular consent but as I mentioned earlier this will eventually be China’s undoing. Russia’s problems seem almost Hollywood like. After the collapse of the Soviet Union there was no control and no government. Gangsters took over and quickly and quietly became multi-millionaires and even a couple billionaires. While Russia is now booming off of these millionaires and billionaires they are still criminals. It’s never good for a country to be thriving off the blood that gangsters have spilt and it’s even worse when most of them own the oil companies that provide the backbone to the country’s economy. Brazil is very similar to Russia in many respects. They are both economies that are booming because of oil and they both have serious crime and gang problems. Brazil is unique though because they house a very important environmental benchmark; the Amazon. The rainforest in Brazil is considered the lungs of the earth and therefore is very important to all the other developed nations. Every developed country in the world has to pay attention to Brazil because of their oil reserves and the rainforest which gives them another leg up.
Russia 5/12/2010 8:51:00 AM Russia By: Dave Solomon Russia has had a very rough time getting along with the United States the past few years. The aggressive privatization/free market reforms implemented by Russian President Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s were strongly encouraged and supported by the U.S. administrations of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and by American economists and corporations. However, the reforms, known as "shock therapy", produced a major economic crisis in Russia. This left their Unemployment rate at 8.9 percent, their population below the poverty line was at 15.8 percent and their public debt rose to an outstanding 6.9 percent of GDP During the presidencies of Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush, the U.S. and Russia began to have more serious disagreements. Under Putin, Russia became more assertive in international affairs than it had been under his predecessor; under Bush, the U.S. took an increasingly unilateral course in its foreign policy, particularly in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. In 2002, Bush then withdrew the United States from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in order to move forward with plans for a missile defense system. Putin called the decision a mistake. Now in 2010 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S President Barack Obama struck a warm tone at the 2009 G20 summit in London and released a joint statement that promised a "fresh start" in US-Russia relations. Although a poll by the University of Maryland, College Park released early July 2009 found 75 percent of Russians believed the United States abused its greater power and only two percent had "a lot of confidence" American President Barack Obama would do the right thing in world affairs. This isn’t the first time the U.S. and Russia managed to be civil though. On November 7, 2008 General Motors opened a car manufacturing plant in St Petersburg, Russia; which is creating jobs for Russians. John Beyrle, the US ambassador to the Russian Federation, has made a statement (and quoted) "This plant brings together American investment and the newest American automotive innovations and technologies with the best Russian engineering talent. – a powerful combination". American investment has been growing at a rate of fifty percent a year. Two-way trade between Russia and the United States now exceeds $26 billion, and two-way investment is approaching $20 billion. While The United States and Russia have had a strenuous past they seem to be coming together now. After seeing the success of the G20 Summit, more Russians are sure to warm up to President Obama’s diplomacy. Hopefully the United States ties with Russia gets stronger, the last thing the world needs is another Cold War.