February 9th, 2014
10:34 PM ET

What I'm reading: Developing countries hit BRICS wall

By Fareed Zakaria

“It isn't just the raw figures that are fueling concern among the governments of developing nations. From Beijing to New Delhi to Rio, the upswing has fostered a new self-awareness in people, creating a broad popular movement in the truest sense of the term,” write Erich Follath and Martin Hesse in Der Spiegel. “In recent years, impressive middle classes have taken shape in virtually all of the emerging economies.”

“Members of that middle class are now demanding a larger piece of the pie and higher wages. At the same time, they also want ‘good governance’ – meaning greater responsibility and accountability for their leaders – and the right to increased democratic participation. Economic progress has served as catalyst for political demands. If that dream now suddenly ends, it could also slam the brakes on these emerging popular movements – or at least stir emotions in dangerous ways.”

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"Our will-to-comfort, combined with our technological powers, creates a stark possibility," writes Tim Wu in the New Yorker. "If we’re not careful, our technological evolution will take us toward not a singularity but a sofalarity. That’s a future defined not by an evolution toward superintelligence but by the absence of discomforts."

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“The complex machinery of Brussels decision-making is well-known in Britain. To the Americans, it’s a mind-boggling juggernaut, stemming chiefly from a lack of understanding about issues of sovereignty and the reality of trying to shape common policies out of the politics of 28 different countries,” argues Allie Renison in The Spectator. “Washington’s mindset is ‘just get it done’, and the concept of endless discussions between multiple EU institutions just to reach a consensus is something U.S. officials struggle to get their heads around.”

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“With Egypt clearly shifting away from democracy, it is critical that international media are able to report freely on government abuses,” writes Sherif Mansour in the Washington Post. “If they have support from the international community, journalists and press-freedom groups working with progressive factions within and outside the government could still limit the power of the military and security services.”

“Soon, however, Egypt could fall into an information black hole and a sense of impunity could make the minor act of interviewing members of the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist crime – in Egypt and any other country taking notes on how to get away with criminalizing journalism.”


soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. JAL

    Sofalarity. Lol. Exercise daily bro and eat your cream of wheat.

    February 10, 2014 at 9:26 am | Reply
    • JAL

      On a different note, I enjoyed watching the British Invasion show on CNN. Music is so important right now. I have one question however. Why is there no new HD audio standard similar to the recent DVD to blue ray hardware standard progression. Vinyl is the gold standard, but cant we use the higher density disks to store a sound closer to vinyl as an industry standard? This is a big issue to me and a missed opportunity.

      February 10, 2014 at 10:10 am | Reply
      • JAL

        Is it possible to be too humiliated to progress? I think so. Music is one of the best ways to get over it quickly and to keep believing.

        February 10, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
      • JAL

        That is the primary reason why I believe in the power of music and musicians. If you need another reason, it turns out I am in love with one. :p

        February 10, 2014 at 8:17 pm |
  2. j. von hettlingen

    It's alarming to see more and more countries turning their clock back to totalitarianism. Egypt's generals believe it is the only path forward. It's a sign of their insecurity. They fear that freedoms of expression and assembly would mobilise the masses to overthrow them.

    February 13, 2014 at 9:03 am | Reply
  3. Margaret

    Thomas Sowell : How do people who think we can't aforfd medical care ( ie , it's inefficient ) think we can aforfd medical care PLUS an army of bureaucrats to administer it .Free market decisions made by the distributed intelligence of Free People are optimal .Also , Light Rail is generally just another subsidized Statist boondoggle . Buses are far more flexible and therefore efficient .It was nice to see nobody make a fool of themselves claim the molecule of life was going to fry us all .

    July 6, 2014 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  4. Rendi

    I missed this when it was on. Funny and sorueis too. Sad how much catching up we need to do. The rest of the world is passing us by while politicians play politics and don't do anything to help.

    July 21, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Reply
  5. Rafiq

    Surely you mean LN23, not LN24, in this and your last post.As a general conmemt, the projected delivery numbers in your spreadsheet seem optimistic. The latest guidance from the 2011 full year earnings call was for 70-85 combined 747-8 and 787 deliveries this year, of which "approximately half" were 787s. At the moment you have 68 deliveries of 787s alone. I would have thought that a maximum total around 50 was more realistic.

    July 25, 2014 at 8:38 pm | Reply

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