From a sheer human standpoint, the BRICS countries are among the most important in the world, accounting for 40 percent of the world’s population and standing symbolically for the hopes and dreams of many more. Through good policy choices they can avoid or escape the middle-income trap, and we hope that they will. This book offers them, and countries like them, a clear path to prosperity. We sincerely hope that they will chose it.
That this book exists is a practical testament to the importance of students in the intellectual development of their professors. We were first introduced to each other in August 2014 by a former student of Hartmut’s. Daniel Kremers of the German Institute for Japanese Studies had attended one of Salvatore’s lectures, where he spoke of Hartmut and described him as “mind blowing and entertaining.” Two and a half years later, Salvatore must concur. We can only hope that this book is mind blowing and entertaining as well. For this would be a good sign that it will have an impact in the world!
We will keep our acknowledgments to a minimum. But we must thank our editor at Stanford University Press, Margo Beth Fleming, for believing in this project enough to suffer us through several long delays. We are also grateful to her for providing detailed editorial feedback that greatly improved the final text. We would also like to thank Professors Samuel Cohn, Robert Holton, and Ray Kiely for their comments and advice. Finally, we are grateful to the copy editor, Jeff Wyneken, who produced the final, polished typescript, for his careful reading.
Hartmut Elsenhans, Leipzig
Salvatore Babones, Sydney
April 20, 2017