Coffee House

Forget the MINTs, the next economic success story will be in the BALLS

11 January 2014

10:21 AM

11 January 2014

10:21 AM

Jim O’Neill, the Mancunian former chief economist of Goldman Sachs in London, commands attention whenever he speaks and has a claim to fame as the coiner in 2001 of the acronym ‘Bric’ for the four rapidly developing countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China — to which economic power looked set to shift during the early part of the new century.

Undeterred by the hindsight view that he should have gone for ‘Bic’, like the throwaway razor, because Russia has lagged so dismally behind the others on almost every measure of progress, O’Neill has now come up with ‘Mint’, for Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey, as the next cohort of economic giants. This might have been ‘Mist’ — South Korea was another contender — but the producers of his current Radio 4 series evidently thought Nigeria sounded sexier.

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And O’Neill may be last year’s guru in the sense that the think-tank talk these days is all about high-growth mega-cities, rather than countries, as future focal points of prosperity: see, for example, McKinsey Global Institute’s ‘Urban World’ reports.

With 600 booming conurbations to choose from, at least 100 of them in China, any catchy acronym is possible. So far I’m favouring Bangalore, Atlanta, Lagos, Lima, Shenzhen.


This is an extract from Martin Vander Weyer’s ‘Any Other Business’ column in this week’s Spectator. Click here to read the full piece, or read Kate Chisholm’s review of O’Neill’s programme on the MINTs here. You can subscribe to the Spectator here for just £1 per issue.

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Show comments
  • Terence Hale

    Hi,
    Acronyms. What about Argentina, Sweden, Switzerland, Holland, Oman, Luxembourg, El Salvador.

  • Daniel Maris

    Russia seems to have averaged about 4% per annum GDP real growth since 2001. Given their population is declining, this must mean the rise in per capita GDP must be even higher. It does give the lie to the nonsense idea that you need population growth to have GDP growth.

    So I am not sure how MVW justifies taking the R out of BRIC.

  • Icebow

    Reminds me a bit of Kevin Carroll….

  • Frank

    Isn’t it time for Goldman Sachs to leave Britain and set up in lovely Frankfurt? The only really interesting thing (about what Jim O’Neill said) is working out how it helps Goldman Sachs screw the rest of us.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Well if it is for Radio 4 it has to be BALLS. How about Wellington, Accra, Nairobi, Khartoum, Eskopi, Riga for all those financial experts who like to lay purile acronym games

    • Holly

      Financial experts…Now that IS funny.
      Do those two words match up any more??

  • Makroon

    If Martin Vander Weyer still hasn’t realised that South Korea is a wealthy developed country, there is not much hope for him (and his column) really.

    • Daniel Maris

      I believe the whole of Seoul is wi-fid up is it not?

  • Icebow

    BETA: Boring Economist Touting Acronyms.

    • telemachus

      Boring = Osborne
      *
      But not just boring
      Dangerous to the poor and disabled

      • Icebow

        I note that someone just voted you down and me up; not I. Please consider yourself ignored, at least by me.

        • telemachus

          Be not an ostrich
          The sooner folks realise how unequal Osborne is making our society the better for us all

          • Icebow

            But…but…he is the son of a baronet! It’s not for you to question your betters!
            By the way, have you heard of full stops?

            • telemachus

              Exactly
              Exactly
              Problem is he has not even heard of Noblesse Oblige

              • Icebow

                Strictly speaking, I suppose, a baronetcy is just short of nobility. But have you never heard of the economic principle that sometimes things must get worse for the poor before they can get better for the rich?

                • telemachus

                  Are you for real
                  Egalitarian principles are what society is all about
                  Too many children go to school without shoes in Tower Hamlets

                • Icebow

                  Let them make clogs!
                  Tower Hamlets? Sounds like some collection of vertical villagettes.

                • ArchiePonsonby

                  Nothing to do with said children’s ethnicity, then?

                • telemachus

                  Reprehensible comment comrade

                • ArchiePonsonby

                  Che lives, man!

                • Holly

                  And Tower Hamlet’s MP is ?????

      • Andy

        telemachus = Fascist.

        Dangerous to the poor and all those who cherish Liberty.

        • telemachus

          Who was it said “the poor are always with us”
          Well they sure will be unless we ditch this coalition soon

          • Icebow

            I venture to express the hope that you be always poor and never with us.

            • telemachus

              You seek a titter
              But that is exactly the attitude that breaks our society
              Keith Joseph would be proud of you

              • Icebow

                Keith Joseph! (Homer drool). Stop it, you’ll make me come.

          • Andy

            You Fascists have destroyed the poor with your mass immigration and racism.

            • telemachus

              Andy
              As you get old you will welcome the industry of the immigrants to prevent you sinking into the poverty of old age

  • MirthaTidville

    Is it really any wonder that the world is in economic meltdown, with numpties like this in positions of influence..Nigeria FFS????????..He`s obviously never been to Africa

    • Count Dooku

      Nigerian has been among the fastest growing countries in the world for the past decade. It has a 170 million population and will soon be the largest economy in Africa. The majority of its population is below 30 as well.

      http://www.tradingeconomics.com/nigeria/gdp-growth

      O’Neill’s point is about the future direction of travel. His paper, which I’m sure you haven’t read, clearly discusses the risks pertaining to each country.

      • Holly

        I have not, and have no intention of reading this bod’s ‘paper’, but IF all these other countries are going to be so ‘important’ in the near future, why is everyone spending/wasting so much time, and effort on the basket case that is, the EU?
        Could it be all that political capital idiots have ‘invested’ in it over the years, and OUR taxes?
        Mmmm…
        I might have to go & have a think about that one….

        • Count Dooku

          No idea. The EU hasn’t been a great help for boosting trade with the developing world, insular and controlling as it is.

      • MirthaTidville

        Nigeria is a basket case…It borders on civil war and is riven by Tribalism. Muslim to the north and Christian to the south.Corruption is a by word for everyday life, ask anyone who has had to do business there.Lagos is one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Sure its rapidly expanding by population but thats about it.The trouble with these experts is they get paid to say something…Still dont think he`s lived or worked in Africa..I have though

        • Count Dooku

          Considering I spent quite a few years living there I think I have some idea what I’m talking about. Anyway, Nigeria is no more dangerous that Mexico or South Africa which are much richer nations. This hasn’t stopped them from growing though.

          I will admit corruption is a massive problem there but Jim mentions that in his paper.

    • Holly

      He’s probably one of them ‘expert’ thingy’s.

    • HookesLaw
  • dalai guevara

    Oh look, all these opportunities for the free money to filter through – where to put it?
    I thought the Arab Spring opened up that coastline market with 300m customers.

  • K BB

    Columbia Oman Chechnya Krygyzstan

  • telemachus

    The key to this post is that economic success is in the hands of the charismatic economic genius BALLS

    • Colonel Mustard

      Lagos Ontario Odessa Nagasaki York

      Lahore Islamabad Edinburgh Seoul

      • Icebow

        Telemachus Is Telemachus!

      • ArchiePonsonby

        Ontario, Col? Let’s not get carried away!

    • Holly

      Pity the ‘genius’ is making an mockery of himself, and the new shiny Labour leader, on the opposition benches then innit.

      BALLS, this genius we both admire so much, though for completely different reasons, has ensured that his credibility is not worth a light, and the genius has managed to do that all by himself.
      I Can’t help but admire his abilities at wrecking stuff.
      Including his own credibility (or complete lack of it)
      The guy is a whiz.
      Tee hee.

      • Icebow

        BALLZEBUB, I call him. Something about the eyes.

    • Redrose82

      If I hadn’t seen who had posted the above I would have thought he was being ironic but this idiot actually believes what he has written. You couldn’t make it up.

      • telemachus

        We all look forward not only to his dynamic economic leadership in 16 short months
        But to his exciting setting of the political agenda

  • The Laughing Cavalier

    Nigeria, like Russia is far too corrupt to develop properly, Turkey faces Islamic unrest, Indonesia has both disadvantages and Mexico is a Narco State.

    • In2minds

      Turkey, not only Islamic unrest but VERY corrupt too, I wonder if O’Neill has ever tried to do business there, or even been to Turkey?

    • Icebow

      I have had some strange looks associated with the way I have been pronouncing Nigeria. There has been precious little mention of the I-word regarding I, N, and T, as though there were no possible Muzz-relatedness.

  • LadyDingDong

    Croatia Romania Albania Poland

    • telemachus

      CROATIA has become the European Union’s 28th member and in a statement from European Commission spokeswoman, Pia Ahrenkilde, she said: “Croatia’s accession provides fresh evidence of the transformative power of the European Union: torn by conflict only two decades ago, CROATIA is now a stable democracy capable of taking on the obligations of EU membership and of adhering to EU standards.” Croatian nationals are now entitled to enter and live in Britain without restriction from UK immigration rules. We welcome this

      Britons ready to welcome migrants from ROMANIA, poll finds-Ipsos Mori survey shows 72% of people aged 35-44 support rights of east European workers to live and work in UK

      We welcome new wave of immigration into the UK after visa requirements for ALBANIANS were dropped by the EU

      The POLISH have been settling here since the war, impressing us with their work ethic and desire to integrate. No wonder their language is the most widely spoken after English
      *
      Well spotted LadyDingDong

      • McClane

        Hitching your copy & paste (and irrelevant) reply to the top-rated comment again, tm? What a waste of bandwidth you are.

      • Daniel Maris

        “We welcome new wave of immigration into the UK after visa requirements for ALBANIANS were dropped by the EU”

        Thanks for the warning Telemachus. They should add tremendously to the rich tapestry of British society as they the enemies of religious factionalism, quick resort to violence, clannish behaviour and sexism.

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