Theoretical explanations for the origin of BRICS cooperation
The formation of BRICS cooperation has both exogenous and endogenous causes. Exogenous causes can be divided into functional factors, including the external environment, the power structure of the international system, and the international institutional environment, and normative factors, including the payoff culture for repeated cooperation, and the desire to develop fairer international norms. Endogenous causes can also be divided into functional factors, including the number of actors, complementarity and domestic politics, and normative factors, including cognition of homogeneity and endogenous consensuses. The BRICS’s judgement on whether to maintain the payoff structure and their understanding of the structure’s future impacts are two sets of mechanisms that link all the above factors. BRICS cooperation originated from the national initiatives and practices of the member countries under the exogenous environment. In other words, in the context of a non-neutral international system and the rise of the BRICS countries in both political and economic realms, the political and economic interdependence among the BRICS countries gradually increased. Their consensus on pursuing higher international status and interests transcended the homogeneous differences between themselves. This consensus led, in turn, to more trust among the four countries and promoted the establishment of relevant institutions and mechanisms.