High infrastructure societies

Jon Evans writes:

Until recently, I would have used “developed world” and “developing world” rather than “high-infrastructure” and “low-infrastructure.” However, now that the vast majority of the world’s poorest people do not live in poor countries, I’m not sure the first two phrases are meaningful any more.

There’s more parity than there has been in the past, to the point where the neediest are as much “here at home” as they are “far away.” Better to say we are members of “high-infrastructure” economies rather than being “developed,” in the sense that that word implies that the work is done.

Doug Saunders writes in The Globe and Mail:

Now we face what Andy Sumner, who’s probably the most talked-about scholar of poverty, calls the “poverty paradox.” The problem, he says, is that “most of the world’s extreme poor do not live in the world’s poorest countries.” … Today, nearly 80 per cent of the world’s poor live in “middle-income countries” – states, most formerly poor, that now have buoyant economies, large middle classes and surging economic growth propelled by exports to the West. Significantly, these countries aren’t dependent on foreign aid; rather, they’re large-scale givers of aid. They no longer need our “development”; they’re developing themselves.

Rising tides of market economics, internet-enabled economies, and more political and social freedom have lifted more ships. Those in “high infrastructure” countries is increasingly not about solving far-away problems. It’s about maintaining what we have built, or figuring out what needs further building.