Go to contents

BRICs and the OECD

Posted October. 27, 2010 12:54,   


André Pascal in Paris is home to the secretariat of the Organization for Economic Cooperation Development. The organization’s 26 special committees and more than 200 working groups handle tasks on the world economy and society. Kwon Tae-shin, former chief of staff at the Prime Minister’s Office of Korea, said, “The OECD is the world’s largest source of statistics and reports on countries, and a repository of success and failure case studies on policies in various sectors such as education, pension and labor.”

When Korea became the 28th member of the OECD in 1996, the entry was considered the gateway to joining the ranks of advanced economies. Things have changed, however. The OECD chose in 2007 to accept developing countries as members to prevent its status from weakening. In the 1990s, OECD member countries accounted for 60 percent of the world economy in purchasing power parity exchange rate, but the figure fell below 50 percent last year for the first time.

One cannot talk about the world economy without mentioning BRICs, the newly emerging economies of Brazil, Russian, India and China. In just nine years after the term BRICs was coined, their combined share of the world economy soared from 8.3 percent to 16.4 percent. For the OECD, setting rules for the world economy and devising cooperative measures have become meaningless without the participation of the four countries. The four, however, show little interest in joining the organization. Kwon said, “China has been invited to join every OECD committee, but the OECD is in trouble because China actively participates in committees where it can learn lessons from other countries while not joining committees that could impose a burden and responsibility on the country.”

Of the five developing economies invited to join the OECD, Chile, Slovenia and Israel entered this year and Estonia is in the final stage. Russia’s entry is being delayed because many consider the country to lack a fully developed democracy and a market economy. Brazil, India, Indonesia and South Africa are not OECD members but the organization considers them countries with which to enhance relations. If more developing countries join the OECD, Korea, which is strong in development, will see its role increase. This will also give Seoul more opportunities to exercise global leadership as it is doing in the Group of 20.

Editorial Writer Hong Kwon-hee (konihong@donga.com)