Which countries will move from 3rd world to 1st world status over the next 30 years

I know that South Korea was a 3rd world country then under Park Chung Hee its economy grew at around 11% a year until it became a developed country like it is now. Israel, Singapore, Hong Kong & Taiwan have all joined the 1st world over the last 50 years too due to rapid economic growth. In the next 30-50 years are there any countries that look like they might become 1st world economically? I assume a good deal of China and India will reach this status, but all of their combined 2.4 billion people reaching first world status seems like a stretch (especially considering the fact that alot of the economic growth in the 5 countries I listed above and India and China seems to be export driven and 2.4 billion people exporting and services seem unrealistic), however both have growth rates of 8-10%.

Although this is an unfortunate time for them, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand are well on the way, and I’m sure that recent events will not stop this. (And combined South Africa could go either way - it has the aspirations to succeed, but many problems to go with them. Thirty years from now, it’ll either be a first world economy, or facing the same situation as present-day Zimbabwe.

Perhaps northern African democracies such as Egypt and Morocco could be successful? (IIRC the Prince of Morocco has only half-jokingly suggested that he’d like the country to eventually join the EU.) South and Central America?.. Anyone with better knowledge than me (not hard) can inform us.

You need to define first, second, and third world really. Few countries come straight from third to first without an intervening “second world” period that I’d define as places with highly sophisticated urban centres, but bad economics in the provinces.

From personal experience I’d put Thailand and Malaysia (the recent disaster notwithstanding) in this “getting there” classification, as well as places like Dubai, Qatar, Bahrain. How would we classify Eastern European nations? Romania, Slovenia, FYR of Macedonia, and Slovakia, for example, are pretty poor but on the right track.

I think the Brazilians might surprise us. They’ve got a country as big as the U.S. and plenty of resources and, since recently, genuinely democratic government.

In the next decade China will either become an economic superpower or be devastated by civil war. Just my WAG.

Well, at this point, I think Turkey is more a second-world than a third-world country, but I can see it joining the first world in the relatively near future. India would also be fairly high on my list of countries that will become first-world nations within the next few decades.

China will reach the “developed” point for sure. Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia are getting there.

I think India still has a longer way to go than most people think. Right now China has twice the per capita income of them. India isn’t doing much better off than Botswana. Until the overpopulation gets under control, India is going to have problems.

But for the love of God folks, “second world” means “communist”. Unless we’re talking about Cuba, can we use developed and undeveloped or something?

Remember that China’s and India’s populations are likely to implode sometime this century because of their emphasis on boy children over girl children. I understand that in China at least this is already something they are worrying about.

That said I think that China will reach ‘developed’ status after throwing off the last vestiges of communism (I expect this to happen when the old guard start dieing off sometime in the next 20 years or so).

India also will eventually reach ‘developed’ status…they have the infrastructure for it and if their population also implodes they will be in pretty good shape IMO.

Many of the Eastern European nations that are joining or have joined the EC will also become powers in this century. Poland especially I think will eventually be something to see.

As has already been said, many of the Pacific Rim nations will also become economic powers this century…many are right on the verge now, despite the terrible tradegy thats recently befallen them.

I also expect Western Europe to look to the UK as an example and to eventually throw off the shackles of socialism and rejoin the darkside to become an ecomomic power in its own right. ( :wink: Just kidding btw)


China Needs Women! :slight_smile:

LOL! Its a joke, but at its heart its truth. I was watching a show on National Geographic about this, and they were talking about what China is going to do this century about this problem. They were talking about increased homosexuality in China (something the communists are even more opposed too for some odd reason than your average fundie) to bringing in ‘pure’ blooded chinese women from other countries. Basically they didn’t know WHAT the hell they were going to do with something like (if memory serves) a 4 males to every female ration this century.

That huge sucking sound you will be hearing this century is China’s (and India’s) population implosion. Honestly, in the long run, it will probably be good for both nations to have a much smaller population.


There’s no way that any country would be able to join the EU (note: no longer EC) without being essentially a first-world country. And many of them, such as Hungary and the Czech Republic, are hard to distinguish from the European averages in many ways.

:smack: Gods know why I put EC down…I must be in retro mode today or something. Blame it on quick posts from work I suppose.

I realize that the EU mostly takes in economic powers…however, in the case of many of the Eastern European nations already accepted or due to be accepted soon its more of a potential than an actual ‘first-world’ status. I could be wrong about this, but I don’t think many of the Eastern European nations have achieved full economic parity with whats considered the ‘first-world’ yet, though some are close.


No . . . they’ll become rich countries but they won’t become “powers,” in the sense of fearsome players on the world stage – because the European Union as a whole will be the only “power” in that sense in Europe. Eventually. The Brits, for instance, still think they’re a “power,” but time will teach them better.

Some do, but don’t tar us all with that that brush, please.

It may be irrelevant nowadays, but the tradititional “second world” nations were the communist countries, specifically the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. At least that was part of the original definition of the first, second, and third world as created by the French political philosopher who made up the idea (whose name I’ve forgotten).


By this definition I would argue that South Africa is already a second world country. As a middle class urbanite, my life was just as First World in Cape Town as it is now in the United States. However, this is definitely not true for everyone, and the country has huge wealth inequality.

While acknowledging the country has many issues, I find it hard to imagine it going the same way as Zimbabwe. They’re just not the same country at all. Given the fiscal policy of the current administration, which by all indications is starting to bear fruit, I remain cautiously optimistic regarding South Africa’s transition to a First World country.

No, not really:

GDP Purchasing Power per Capita, 2003 est.

Industrialized European Countries:
Ireland: $29,600
Netherlands: $28,600
United Kingdom: 27,700 (all figures US)
Germany: $27,600
France: $27,600
Sweden: $26,800
Italy: $26,700
Spain: $22,000

Eastern European:
Czech: $15,700
Hungary: $13,900
Slovakia: $13,300
Poland: $11,100
Russia: $8,900
Romania: $7,000
Ukraine: $5,400

Other Major Economic Powers:
United States: $37,700
Canada: $29,800
Australia: $29,000
Japan: $28,200

They got a ways to go, I’d say.

Er…not really what? I did say “I could be wrong about this, but I don’t think many of the Eastern European nations have achieved full economic parity with whats considered the ‘first-world’ yet, though some are close.” Your figures seem to support the fact that many of the old Eastern European nations don’t have economic parity with the first world…putting them back in the 3rd or perhaps in a few cases 2nd world. Which is why I said that in this century I think several of them will achieve 1st world status.


New Zealand

The new memebers will get billions to help build infrastructure and in ten years, they’ll be catching up and start paying back. When Spain joined, they were on a level between where Poland and Romania are now. Spain has almost caught up with Scandinavia and will pass us in a few years.

As for other countries on the move: Chile, Argentina, Turkey, Mexico (thanks to NAFTA), Cuba (once beardface dies).

I think people have forgotten those definitions, unfortunately (it makes them sound, er, less informed).

I agree with The Gaspode, but a serious matter in becoming a “first world” power is that you need not only economic growth and industrial capacity, but in most cases, a social overhaul to an industrial/commercial economy. Many nations that otherwise have potential to become first world powers are bogged down in antiquated ideology - in general, they need to secularize, usually, and resolve conflicts with ethnic groups inside and outside of their boarders.