Rarely has an acronym like BRICS become so popular. There are others – like CIVETS and N. 11 – but none has ever seen such widespread adoption. It is all thanks to cunning intuition, the “I” for India that makes it all easier to pronounce and understand, and the “S” for South Africa to round out the ensemble. A product of Goldman Sachs, BRICS has captivated the interest of scholars, the media, and the leaders of the five countries being represented. BRICS is now an international summit of heads of state and government, a proposed alternative to the World Bank, and an unofficial alliance in other international meetings. A pretty impressive result for an acronym that was thrown together on the spot. Truth be told, the component countries of BRICS actually have very little in common, and their chances of truly joining together are quite slim. Their greatest common denominator is simply the fact that they are different from us, from the development model of industrialized nations. This does not mean they can be assimilated, if not in the negative sense: they are what we are not, a typical example of “the west and the rest.” China is the factory of the world, and India is its office. Russia is hampered by the financial crisis and relies on its seemingly infinite natural resources, while Brazil and South Africa have only their hard work and political choices to rely on. Some of them are overpopulated, while others have low population density. Most importantly, some have embraced democratic governments, others have a limited understanding of it, and still others are ignorant to the concept and do not appear to have any interest in changing their approach. Nevertheless, they are all different and growing, while the rest of the world languishes. This is the fact that breeds concern, that a new model – a possible alternative – is possible. There is no need for deeper analysis: in the quest for growth, any experiment towards that goal is justified. The biggest fear is China, which by no coincidence represents 50% of BRICS GDP on its own. The Asian giant is also the biggest trading partner for the other four members of the acronymic club. In many cases this place has been taken from the United States. There exists the risk of confusing a part for the whole, but that would be a mistake. Intimidated by Beijing’s strength, Western executive offices have grouped it together with the other capitals, making the BRICS seem stronger than they really are. But never fear; Beijing has so many internal problems that it hardly feels the need to take on any more. Involving China with BRICS is neither wise, nor prescient.