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BRICs, CIVETS, and PIGS: What's in a name?

A look at how financial firms use colorful nicknames to push investments.

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Ten years ago, Jim O'Neill, a Goldman Sachs "rock star," published a paper titled "The World Needs Better Economic BRICs." It was a bit of wordplay on which, as they say, he is still dining out.

He identified Brazil, Russia, India, and China as four rapidly growing "developing countries" likely to challenge the Group of Seven major economies (the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Canada, and Italy). The four countries' names make a memorable acronym, and it surely sounds solid, doesn't it?

"Developing countries" is often a euphemism used in contrast with "developed countries," such as those of the G7. But in the case of the BRICs, the "developing" countries are actually developing, and fast enough to help keep the global economy afloat amid rough weather in Europe and the US. Mr. O'Neill's judgment has been vindicated over the past decade.

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