…out of nineteen non-Western countries that belonged to the rich club in 1960, only four remained there (the Bahamas, Japan, Mauritius, and Slovenia) [in 2000].
Or perhaps you are wondering which countries, according to available statistics, appeared on the verge of crossing over into the "rich" category in 1960? Here is the list:
Lithuania, Serbia and Montenegro, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Poland, Russia (addendum: no, I don’t believe the data), Ukraine, Croatia, Haiti (!), Guyana, Jamaica, Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua, the Congo (!), Senegal, Gabon, Ghana, Singapore, Iran, and Hong Kong. At the time many of these countries lagged only slightly behind Portugal.
The lesson? Don’t take your future prosperity for granted.
That is all from the very interesting Worlds Apart: Measuring International and Global Inequality, by Branko Milanovic. Here is more information on the book. Here are the author’s working papers. This paper argues for allowing the free movement of soccer players onto teams outside their nationality.