Brazil, Russia, India, China – BRIC. The acronym was pushed as a hot investment idea in the heady 2000s. Back then, before the financial crisis, steady economic growth was expected to last forever in rich and poor countries alike, with poor countries growing much faster. Jim O’Neill, then of Goldman Sachs, simplified the theme for the investing masses. The four biggest developing economies were on the smooth road to riches, and investors could hop on for a profitable ride.
Has finance become a “false divinity in the world”? Pope Benedict XVI thinks so. “We see that the world of finance can dominate the human being,” he has said. “[It is] no longer an instrument to foster well-being… [it] becomes a power that oppresses, that almost demands worship.”