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IN the first week of the Olympic games and the preceding build up, it has felt easy for someone like me to think of London as the world’s most genuinely global city – indeed, the BRIC capital of the world. Our time zone, the increasing use of English as the language of business and cross border communication, the era of technology and the internet, our legal system, general openness and of course, as demonstrated beautifully by the opening ceremony, our creativity especially as it relates to music and the arts, give us all sorts of advantages not available to other cities.

As I joked at the Mayor’s conference on London’s role on Monday, if New York City changed her time zone by five hours, then we might have some issues. But in fact there is little overlap between NYC business hours and those of anywhere in Asia or Russia. The opportunity, which as well as the Olympics has been further highlighted by the Royal Wedding and Queen’s Jubilee, fills me with real excitement and should offer that to many, especially those with an international outward looking nature.

These recent events remind of many of the issues raised in my book published last December, ‘The Growth Map: Economic Opportunities in the BRICs and Beyond’. There I described, as simply as I could, the theories that drove me initially in 2001 and on multiple occasions since with my team, to highlight the considerable changes afoot in the world as a result of the rise of the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) as I christened them, together with the next 11 largest populated emerging nations .

These fifteen nations include around two thirds of the world’s population. Economic growth in at least eight of them – the four BRIC countries together with Korea, Indonesia, Mexico and Turkey, will each be likely part of the top ten contributors to global growth within this decade. Their combined dollar contribution to global growth will be as much as that of the US and Europe combined.

So next time you read about how Greece is going cause the world to blow up and experience an even worse era of weakness than the one we have been through since 2008, my advice is to turn the page. For us here in the UK we must export our way out of our considerable challenges. Succeeding in selling goods and services ranging from education to luxury to the BRICs is going to be key, critically including those currently excluded from work and opportunity. It will be a great journey for us all way beyond the Olympics.

Jim O’Neill is the Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, managing over $800bn in client assets. He coined the term ‘BRICs’ and is author of ‘The Growth Map: Economic Opportunities in the BRICs and Beyond’. Jim is chairman and one of the founding trustees of the London-based charity SHINE

Listen to Bright Blue blog editor Jonathan Algar in conversation with Jim at the Royal Institute of International Affairs:


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