International Business Courses
Spring 2016 - Issues in International Business: Falling BRICS?
The big story in international business for the last 20 years had been the emergence of what have been called the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) countries or Big Emerging Market countries into the global market economy. Some of these emerged from the very poor, less developed nation group (Brazil, India), some from the “Second World” of planned economies (Russia), some from both (China) – and one from political and economic isolation for ideological reasons (South Africa). As these countries grew through the 1990s and 2000s, they provided a massive increase in demand in world markets – almost half the world population lives in one of these countries or one of the inconveniently named (Mexico, Turkey, etc.) but equally notable emerging markets – and drove economic growth globally through various ups and downs in the industrial world. However, since the economic crash of 2008, all of these countries have struggled. Russia is turning to a nationalistic authoritarianism, Brazil is enmeshed in debt and corruption, India seems culturally incapable of responding to apparent opportunity, South Africa is retreating into crime, tribalism, corruption at the top, and a institutional resistance to offering benefits to the poor. Even China has seen its growth rate drop, its currency devalue from market pressures, its foreign exchange reserves fall, and most recently its equity markets implode.
The issue for the seminar is what has happened in and to these countries and how this has impacted international business. Are the problems internal or derived from external pressures? Can they be corrected? With or without fundamental institutional changes? What are the effects of this sudden reversal of fortune among all of the BRICS simultaneously on the world economy? How do they affect each other? The developed world? The less developed world? How are all these macro-economic, political, social, and institutional changes affecting the international strategies of global companies, as their markets dry up, their supply chains are disrupted, and their competitive positions across many countries are scrambled? You will be encouraged to focus on one of the BRICS or similar countries, describe how it “emerged” and what its current situation is, and analyze how its position in the world economy has changed. You will be expected to further address how recent changes at the national level have affected business development in and from these countries and impacted the opportunities for trade and investment by multinational firms from elsewhere.
Prerequisite(s): Departmental approval required.
At least junior standing; other prerequisites may be specified by instructor.