Economics Index and Qualifications
By Richard Bruce BA, MA, and PhC in Economics
Former Instructor St. John's University, New York City

Croatia, The Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia
Lithuania, Poland, and The Slovak Republic
Free - Freedom House and
High Income - World Bank

The World Bank reclassified the Czech Republic, Estonia, Slovakia, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Hungary from upper middle income to high income between 2005 and 2013 inclusive. High income status is considered developed by the World Bank.

Freedom House has rated all these countries but Russia free, in fact all the free countries but Croatia, Hungary, and Latvia have the highest possible rating, a one.

If you wish to check the statistics here are the links, The World Bank and Freedom House You will have to do a little work to get the Freedom House figures, they want to give them to you as a spread sheet file.

For what it is worth, and granted it is very little, I would like to congratulate the newly free, democratic, and developed nations of Central Europe to the club of developed democracies. While my congratulations are not significant, your new status is very significant, so I will discuss that.

Significance of Developed Democracy Status

Developed democracy status tends to be permanent. Of course a country that has just achieved developed status could suffer a recession, or a decline in the exchange rate of its currency and slip in the upper middle income category. This is currently happening to Hungary. It has happened to other countries, including those on this list. Nevertheless, generally developed democracies with broad based economies do not suffer serious economic declines. In Russia's case, dependent as they are on the volatile prices of their oil and natural gas exports, this is not so certain.

Furthermore, the richest countries ever to lose their freedom to a dictator were far poorer than the threshold for high income countries, which was 12,746 in 2013. I believe that this threshold is about twice as rich as Germany was when Hitler seized power, and several thousand dollars richer than Argentina was the last time the generals seized power. So even if a democracy does reach developed status and drops back to developing status for a year, the democracy will almost always remain a stable democracy.

Finally, developed democracies do not fight wars with other developed democracies. So if you were planning on launching a sneak attack on the United States, France, or one of the other developed democracies, forget it. I have provided a list of developed democracies so you will know who not to attack.

I am hoping everyone will join the club so that we can have permanent world peace. World peace is a good objective because we still have a lot of nuclear weapons. Exceptions can and should be made for Vatican City and other special districts, without nuclear weapons or significant military forces.

New Responsibilities

For developing countries one of the prime responsibilities is economic growth. Even if they are democratic and free we can not be sure that they always will be. There is some danger that a mad man, I believe you remember a guy named Hitler, may take over and threaten world peace. As we live under the cloud of nuclear weapons, peace is good for the ecology. Therefore, economic development protects the ecology by assuring the political stability of economically developed democracies.

However, you in the developed democracies of Eastern Europe are now beyond that. Further economic growth is good. It will allow you to import more goods from developing nations which will help their development, and to fulfill various responsibilities. But as you grow you might also want to help with the common goods of the First World: scientific research, artistic achievements, common defense, foreign aid, etc.

I might also mention that the First World needs to reinvent the technology of high-income nations so everyone is able to live in a high-income nation without wrecking the ecology. To make the point more clearly, we want the people of every nation to be comfortable enough that a dictator can not take over. Presently that involves a lot of energy, natural resources, and ecological damage. We need to invent a more ecologically friendly dictator proof society.

Nuclear Power

On the controversial subject of generating electricity with nuclear power, you are in my unofficial opinion now rich enough to be trusted with this technology. I believe it would be better if many developing nations did not use it, but we have every reason to believe that you will always be ruled by a reasonable government.

Olympics, World Cup Soccer ?

Finally, there is the matter of a coming out party. I believe that countries that have newly achieved the status of developed democracies should be given preference for hosting the Summer and Winter Olympics and the World Cup Soccer Tournament. When developing nations or countries that are not democracies host these sporting events it usually ends up being an embarrassment. I wrote this a few years ago but the last few years have repeatedly confirmed the observation.

On the other hand, when the nation has clearly crossed the line and established itself, for example, the Summer Olympics hosted by Barcelona, Spain in 1992 it can be a wonderful, joyous celebration of an important achievement. As the Olympics, particularly the Summer Olympics are expensive the ideal host would be a recent addition to the list of developed democracies with a large population. For example, Poland. If the country has a smaller population and the cold weather to host a Winter Olympics then the Winter Olympics would work. If the new developed democracy only has warm weather then the World Cup Soccer Tournament could be used to celebrate there developed status. If there were no host cities with these qualifications then the Olympics and the World Cup should be held in the more established developed democracies. When we deviated from these guidelines and held these tournaments in countries that do not meet both of these qualifications there has always been a lot of negative publicity. The host country almost always looks bad. It is simple. Do not hold the graduation party until you graduate.

Of course, these are just my opinions. Making decisions on this is a little above the level of a personal web site webmaster. After all this is simply the communication of one American citizen to those who choose to read it.

But at any rate, welcome to the developed world.

Related Pages

I have a few other pages where I use all that economics education. As I mentioned above I have a BA, an MA, and a PhC. which means I passed the courses and the orals on a PhD. The dissertation did not work out because I was lazy, or motivationally challenged as we say these days. It was also a problem of those pesky Nobel Prize winners that kept publishing my ideas before I did. That happened three times. I also came up with a lot of other things that had already been published by distinguished researchers who had not won the Nobel in Economics. Back in the 80's I taught economics full time for seven semesters at a four year college.

This page has a list of countries that are high income and free, as determined by the World Bank and Freedom House.

I have a web page which argues that all of the countries of the Third World will make it to First World status and perhaps sooner than we think. Check out my reasoning.

The percentage of the human race living in low income countries was reduced by almost 80% in eleven years.

How will the 3rd world develop? This popular web page lays out the growth path.

Here is an index to my other pages on economics, and a short review of my qualifications in this field.

Tell me what you think. Here is my contact information..

Last updated June 26, 2015