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Interview: BRIC economist calls globalization "global benefit"
Last Updated: 2017-02-04 11:05 | Xinhua
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The economist who invented BRIC as a grouping acronym for Brazil, Russia, India and China has said that globalization is a global benefit.

At the beginning of the 21st century, British economist Jim O'Neill coined the acronym BRIC nations to describe the four economies whose growth in the coming years he saw was phenomenal and also central to the global economy of the 21st century.

He believed the heft of these four nations would alter the gravity of the world economy, the traditional West and its advanced economies would be less dominant, and the connections of economic influence and power would be increasingly linked to these nations.

This phenomenon would be intimately linked with the process of globalization, a process that was already well underway at the end of 2001, when O'Neill, as chief economist at U.S. banking giant Goldman Sachs, put out his BRIC paper.

Since then, BRIC nations have exceeded his expectations. And, as he explained in a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua, China is the lead among these four nations and is a major, beneficial player in the world economy.

"Globalization is clearly, as President Xi Jinping said in Davos, a really good thing for mankind," said O'Neill.

He pointed to the recent arrival in the London railway yards of a train full of goods that had made a 12,000-km trip from China's Yiwu City in the eastern Zhejiang Province.

This is the first such train to reach Britain from China, and is a bid to boost trade and ties. Its journey took 18 days, slashing weeks off the conventional journey time by sea.

"This is a perfect example of why globalization helps everybody. If the British consumer wants to buy cheap socks and the cheapest happens to be somewhere in China, and they can get here in 18 days instead of 55 days. That seems to me to be a pretty good thing for the British consumer," O'Neill said.

It is also an example of cooperation across the globe, with the train traveling the length of the Eurasian landmass and passing through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France.

For O'Neill, it is an example of China's Belt and Road Initiative in action.

"The most important thing for me about the Belt and Road is what it does for the trade relationships of those low and middle-income countries along the road," said O'Neill.

"So this could be fantastic for the likes of Kazakhstan, Afghanistan and all those places," said the economist.

"I'm a passionate believer that more trade with your neighbors is the way to prosperity. South Korea is the best example in the world, or maybe Luxembourg," O'Neill said.

To reap the benefits of globalization fully, capitalism needed to be aware of itself, said O'Neill.

For him, the habit of companies pursuing globalization as an end in itself rather than as a way of helping consumers and their shareholders and employees share in a prosperous world is not beneficial.

"The role of share buybacks has become very abusive, and they should be curtailed," he said.

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