Africa’s number one economy, for wealth evaporation

Published on Pambazuka News, by Patrick Bond, May 1, 2014.

Nigeria’s ‘rebased’ GDP now beats South Africa’s in theory – but how does this measure up against the country’s actual wealth? Patrick Bond examines some of the biggest fallacies of the neoliberal investment prospects of the 2000s – BRICS, MINT (countries) and CIVETS, and why citizens are rising up in spite of the hype. 

Jim O’Neill – the Goldman Sachs banker who in 2001 coined the idea of a Brazil-Russia-India-China ‘BRIC’ serving as “building bricks of the 21st century world economy” – has another bright idea. He recently announced a new fascination with the Mexico-Indonesia-Nigeria-Turkey countries, which “all have very favourable demographics for at least the next 20 years, and their economic prospects are interesting.” O’Neill is now completing a BBC series on the MINTs, and no doubt will profit handsomely from investments made in these countries’ financial assets, the way any scurrilous marketer does when, brandishing an insider-trading portfolio, he draws naïve consumers to a product with limited shelf life.

MINT economic prospects are ‘interesting’ insofar as Goldman Sachs makes enormous profits from churning investors’ funds through new markets, using whimsical rationales based upon silly acronyms. As Matt Taibbi described the firm’s philosophy in Rolling Stone five years ago, “The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere. The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”

Goldman Sachs is a useful barometer of stupidity, since it brought the world economy to its knees in 2008 by creating infinitely-toxic financial products. For example, what was just a decade ago a supposedly glorious group of high-growth European countries led by ‘Celtic Tiger’ Ireland, became financially-cancerous ‘PIGS’ once Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain melted down seven years ago, in the process wiping out hundreds of billions of dollars in paper assets. O’Neill has also tried out the ‘Next 11’ and ‘CIVETS’: Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa.

The rationale behind acronym subterfuge? According to O’Neill, his customers “are still scared of these places.” That means, as the Christian Science Monitor interpreted, “financial firms use colourful nicknames to push investments,” and O’Neill is “using the power of language to try to make investors feel more comfortable about putting their money into these places.”

And now, just a year after the Durban BRICS summit, you are more likely to find Brazil, India and South Africa described as leading the “fragile five” emerging economies, and Russia now also under increasingly severe financial attack the more it attacks the border demarcations on Eastern European maps … //

… (full long text with many hyper-links).


Fundamental assumptions in economics — a matter of nonsense, on Real-World Economics Review Blog, by Lars Syll, May 3, 2014;

The definition of capital and the difference between the productivity and the profitability of capital
, on Real-World Economics Review Blog, by merijnknibbe, May 1, 2014;

After Iraq’s elections: Iraq’s post-election period is expected to bring neither security nor order to the country, on Al-Ahram weekly online, by Salah Nasravi, 1 May, 2014;

Egypt: Presidential elections deciphered, Who is on whose side, and why? on Al-Ahram weekly online, by Dina Ezzat, May 1, 2014;

Egypt: The star and the eagle, on Al-Ahram weekly online, by Gamal Essam El-Din, May 1, 2014;

It’s not Russia that’s pushed Ukraine to the brink of war: The attempt to lever Kiev into the western camp by ousting an elected leader made conflict certain. It could be a threat to us all, on The Guardian, by Seumas Milne, April 30, 2014; v

US: IRM(72) Retirement Plans, on AngelNexus.

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