The BRICS group of countries, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, met last week in New Delhi and declared their intention to form an independent development bank. This represents a new and potentially significant departure. Here are five developing countries, all with high economic growth rates, that are banding together, not with a common ideology, but for economic reasons. For the first time the monopolar control of world commerce by the USA, with its European allies, is being challenged by non-European based countries.

There is no doubt that China is a rapidly developing country, with huge growth rates of nearly 10% per year for the past 10 years. India (11%) and Brazil (12%) are nearly in the same category, and South Africa, Russia and China have huge reserves of strategic minerals and diamonds. By forming this club, they seek to break the financial monopoly of the USA and the international agencies, the World Bank and the IMF, and they seek to do so based on their own economic development.

What was lacking in the past division of the countries of the world into “first,” “second” and “third world,” based largely on ideology, the communists vs the capitalists vs the under-developed countries, was an unrealistic categorization. Now those that are developing are focussing on the economic aspects of their situation and are moving away from ideology as the motivating force. Yes, China is still Communist, India and China still have huge rural populations that live on the edge of subsistence, Brazil is destroying the Amazon forests and South Africa has significant social problems of black and white. But, the change in emphasis on improving their economic plight by themselves is significant. While an independent BRICS Development Bank has not yet reached actuality, there is little doubt that these large economies with big populations and huge natural resources are beginning to band together for mutual interest.

I have several times proposed that Israel take the lead in forming an equivalent group of small countries (GSC), that have common economic interests. Such countries could include Denmark, Holland, Singapore, Qatar, New Zealand, Lithuania, Costa Rica and so on. Such a grouping could help Israel by taking the emphasis of its foreign policy away from the Middle East situation and towards the international and economic sphere where Israel can make vital contributions.

About the Author
Jack Cohen was born in London and has a PhD in Chemistry from Cambridge University. He moved to the US and worked at the National Cancer Inst. and then Georgetown Medical School. In 1996, he Moved to Israel and became Chief Scientist of the Sheba Medical Center. He retired in 2001 and worked as a Visiting Professor at Hebrew University Medical School for 5 years.