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Bolsonaro’s supporters celebrate. Photo: Sergio Lima/AFP/Getty Images
On Nov. 30, 2001, Jim O'Neill, chief economist at Goldman Sachs, released a 16-page white paper declaring a new geo-economic bloc that he said would supplant the current world order. If you were an investor, "BRIC" — Brazil, Russia, India and China — was the way to go.
The big picture: When O'Neill made his pronouncement, it caught fire. It was regarded as brilliant, and O'Neill himself as a seer. The world was still seven years away from the financial crash, but somehow it seemed right, as O'Neill proposed, that two of the G-7 nations step aside to make way for a future G-9 that would include all of the four newcomer economic giants.
But that is not what has happened: Only China took on the economic stature that O'Neill described, becoming central to the global economy. India has grown fast as well, but it has not become a global engine.
"Brazil is deteriorating badly in the wake of massive corruption, out of control crime, a bloated public sector and high inequality," Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, tells Axios.
In the glare of a history, the BRICs seem to some like a mere bumper sticker.
What's next: The BRICs, which later added South Africa, making the name BRICS, from the outset saw themselves as a political and economic counterweight to the Western order. Now, however, they align with the global trend, says Ivo Daalder, president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. That gives more force to the global trend challenging the post-WWII order.
"The BRICS are a source of ‘alternative’ international institutions to the U.S.-led liberal international order."— Harold Trinkunas, a professor at Stanford University
The bottom line: Despite their failure to coalesce as O'Neill forecast, what the BRICs do — and what happens to them — is important. BRICS as it's known could itself fall apart, since Bolsonaro "is much more anti-China than any of Brazil’s recent presidents," said Trinkunas.
Photo: Sebastian Gollnow/Getty
America's massive student debt problem is slowly getting better, but thousands who took on big loans but never graduated still have little chance of escaping the morass.
By the numbers: The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS), a non-profit advocacy group, did an analysis of all U.S. undergraduates who started college in 2003 or 2004:
Overall, the nationwide student debt burden is beginning to shrink as a proportion of household income, reports Axios' Felix Salmon. And for the first time since the 1980s, tuition inflation is lower than the rise in consumer prices.
A sepsis training demonstration using a dummy. Photo: John Leyba/The Denver Post/Getty
Researchers have developed a machine-learning tool that could improve the treatment of sepsis, a blood infection that can shut down vital organs and is a leading cause of death in the U.S., killing nearly 270,000 people a year.
Axios' Eileen Drage O'Reilly reports: The Artificial Intelligence Clinician tool, which has only been used in a lab setting, matches sepsis patients across a database of prior cases to advise doctors on the best treatment, according to a new report published in Nature Medicine.
In sepsis, an infection triggers a bodywide immune response that can be lethal. Treatments usually include a regimen of antibiotics, intravenous fluids and sometimes a vasopressor drug to raise blood pressure, but timing and the amounts can be tricky to determine.
The researchers had AI Clinician examine data from 96,000 patients in hospital intensive care units.
Danny McAuley of Queen’s University of Belfast, who was not part of the study, says the algorithm needs to be tested in real time:
"These are simulations. They look very encouraging but of course this will need further testing in clinical trials like all new treatment strategies."
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Tree lighting at New York's Rockefeller Center. Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty
Forget wealthy parents with fat wallets or rich millennials in big cities. This holiday season, the smartest retailers will be focusing on the 15-year-olds, reports Retail Dive.
Erica reports: Unlike their older siblings and parents, Gen Z consumers prefer shopping brick and mortar than going online. These young shoppers, if successfully courted by retailers, have the potential to revitalize physical stores and save dying malls.
The big picture: Gen Zers will soon be the largest-ever cohort of shoppers.
When it comes to shopping for holiday presents, Gen Zers love giving experiential gifts, like cooking classes or trips, per Retail Dive. And when they do give physical gifts, they prefer buying them at stores with experiential elements.