[Marxism] BRICS-watch: Immanuel Wallerstein's ambivalent

Ismail Lagardien ilagardien at yahoo.com
Wed May 1 07:45:38 MDT 2013

In haste, I agree with the conclusions, but not quite with the argument. 

Roughly, without much thinking or significant research.... My sense is that the BRICS will try to expand. I know, for instance, that Indonesia and Nigeria have made representation for inclusion. Doing so may diffuse power across quite a territorially vast span of countries. We should not under-estimate regional priorities. Anyway, if this dispersion does occur, the BRICS may  to lose power, coherence and stability as some kind of hegemon - to the extent that global/historical orders require hegemonic stability. 

Given the systemic crisis underway at the moment, and my sense is that its full (historical, philosophical and social) impact has not yet run its course (global-systemically), I can't see how the BRICS would 

a) resuscitate the global capitalism (as a functional totality)
b) revitalise the institutions of global capitalism 
c) keep US militarism in check, and 
d) generally re-introduce confidence in the system. 

These are some of the cornerstone projects for global capitalist stability and coherence and/or putative next hegemonic period

It is important to note that when China joined the WTO they presented an important message to the world: they opted into the existing structures, and did not want to replace it. My sense is that BRICS countries will, likewise, want to retain global capitalist institutions, organisations and structures and herein lies a potential crisis. 

So, where am I going... not sure, I guess, what I am saying is that it's too soon to tell (i don't like predictions). If i were to read the piece critically, i would, as a Critical Realist, start with some questions about ontology. One of the first would be to define imperialism/sub-imperialism. Second I would raise the level of analysis away from sub-national/national to global/historical/systemic. Across the long view, the rise and decline of growth within BRICS countries may well be irrelevant - which brings us to Wallerstein's conclusions...

A good piece, nonetheless. Thanks, Patrick.

Send list submissions to: Marxism at greenhouse.economics.utah.edu
Set your options at: http://greenhouse.economics.utah.edu/mailman/options/marxism/ilagardien%40yahoo.com

More information about the Marxism mailing list