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.
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.