Now comes the rise of the rest

July 1, right on schedule, the World Bank announced the statistics for 2012. So the developed world has some new members.

Russia has moved up to the high-income, or developed world. Russia is an oil-rich country, so a fall in the price of oil could reduce it back to upper middle-income, or developing status. Still, this the biggest percentage increase in the developed club since Japan joined decades ago.

Russia is the first of a number of major countries that soon will graduate to developed status, including Brazil, Mexico, Turkey and Argentina, and of course, the big one, China. Within 15 years, the percentage of the world’s population living in developed countries is likely to more than double.

Chile and Uruguay also graduated to developed status. They are the first non-oil-rich countries in Latin America to make it. In the next few years, we will see much of Latin America follow.

The United States has an income per capita about four times the World Bank’s threshold of $12,616 U.S. dollars gross national income per person. The figures are calculated by the “Atlas method,” which is based on regular exchange rates between countries.

The new statistics are simply milestones reflecting the larger story: First we had the rise of the West, now it is time for the rise of the rest.

The rest of the world is coming to join the party, so the developed world needs to work hard to create technologies that will allow us to be both developed and ecologically benign. UC Davis has and no doubt will continue to play a major role in this.

Richard Bruce


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