In Moscow, they are “non-Soviet Russians.” In New Delhi, they are a “political Goliath” that may soon awake. In Beijing and São Paolo, they are lawyers and other professionals who complain about glacial government bureaucracies and endemic graft.
Prosperity is spreading in many emerging market nations, but political change is not.
Economic liberalization has sparked vast economic changes in the BRIC nations – China, India, Russia and Brazil. A middle class that was once made up of government servants is now dominated by private-sector employees.
At the same time, government institutions that once provided the basics of life – education, healthcare and employment – are crumbling. Frustrated members of the middle class are demanding change, but traditional power holders, from Russia’s Vladimir Putin to India’s large political parties, remain entrenched.