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Political Research Exchange - PRX

The Relationship between Emerging Power Strengths and Weaknesses: Corruption and the BRICS

Laura Mahrenbach
Bavarian School of Public Policy
Laura Mahrenbach
Bavarian School of Public Policy

While Emerging Power (EP) strengths in global affairs garner ever more attention in the literature, their weaknesses are often relegated to brief, cautionary notes sketching how these weaknesses may hinder their achieving treasured global aspirations. This paper addresses the relationship between EP strengths and weaknesses in more detail by examining the reverse situation, namely, the impact of EP strengths on their capacity to address their weaknesses. Focusing on the recent corruption protests in two BRICS states, Brazil and India, I ask why, although corruption has long been widely criticized in both countries, it suddenly became such an important domestic issue in 2011. In answering this puzzle, I will argue that corruption’s prominence in Brazilian and Indian domestic debates in 2011 is linked to two Emerging Power strengths - strong economic credentials and effective participation in global decision-making - which were enhanced during the recent global financial crisis. Consequently, this paper seeks to identify global factors which affect citizen’s perception of government legitimacy within EP states.
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