The End of the ‘Developing World’


So what makes an economy “fat”? The United States is a prime example. Plenty is normal. Gross national income is close to $50,000 per person. There are downsides. The United States has one of the world’s highest obesity rates and has grappled with other, more figurative “fat” problems: a subprime mortgage epidemic, pay-to-play politics, a dangerous taste for fossil fuels. Other countries are also struggling to pay the wages of wealth. South Korea has declared Internet addiction a public health concern. Aging nations in Europe are scrambling to defuse the time bomb of generous pension programs. The consumption-fueled financial crisis exposed bloat from Iceland to Italy. Subsequent “austerity” measures have put fat economies in jeopardy for decades to come.

Dayo Olopade argues that the term “developing world” is not adequate anymore. There are fat countries (the US, Europe) and lean countries (African countries who avoided the crisis because of their insulation). An interesting idea.