This is too important to ignore –
Try to read it all. The subject is kind of depressing. What can one do? Short-sighted policies reign worldwide. The sky is falling!
"…The formulas that international financial institutions have offered to transform the less-fortunate nations of the world have generally failed to do the one thing necessary to win lasting advocates for reform: enable those who are poor to join the middle class or even to realistically aspire to it. The absolute income levels of the poorest may be creeping up. But with the notable exceptions of India and China and a few others, which show some heartening middle-class growth, we are doing a very bad job of building the middle classes, which are the foundation of stability and the antidote to the boom-bust cycles that bedevil much of the emerging world.
The picture is clearest when you look at the number and fate of the world’s middle- class countries (rather than middle-class individuals, although the story there is not so terrific, either). For all the great progress of the past four decades or so, from the end of colonialism and communism to the birth of the Information Age, only four economies—South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan—have managed to join the ranks of "high income" nations, now defined by the World Bank as countries with a per capita gross national income (GNI) of more than $10,066. That is to say that, by Western standards, on average their citizens are now reasonably comfortable."