Tsheola: Contemporary International Relations and the BRICS Geopolitics of State Capitalism


This article posits that the BRICS set serves to create a “regional” business space for exclusive operations of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) of member states. Far from being forecast as leading emerging economies of future significant standing on the global stage, the BRICS of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa is trapped in the binary-paralysis of private-public partnership governance. The article examines the BRICS set conditionalities and principles for conduct of international relations in order to demonstrate that member countries’ continued reverence of state capitalism governance, manifested through SOEs “champions”, will precipitate intra-set economic and political conflict in ways that perpetuate domestic political-economy of poverty and inequality. It argues that state capitalism, and a nuance hybrid of SOEs that are supported through public funds in order to operate on the global business platform in the same way as private multinational corporations that pursue commercial financial interests, does not serve societal goals of justice and equity. Given that the establishment of the BRICS is framed on the set being the centre of future global growth, consolidation of state capitalism and the nuance hybrid of SOEs imply that domestic poverty and inequality will continue unabated, as public investment share of education and health remains negligible.

The article demonstrates that state capitalism and SOEs “champions” governance, is inherently biased towards greater public investment in industrial production rather than social objectives. It concludes that multidimensional and income poverty will continue to be intensive whilst inequality remains stark among the BRICS member states, whilst their cultural, historical and ideological diversities stimulate economic and political conflict in international relations.


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