In a recent statement Microsoft innovator and entrepreneur Bill Gates declared an optimistic world economy forecasting convergence of low and middle income countries reaching the level of rich countries in due course. Gate's conception has been tested and verified by a group of researchers at the University of Southern California known as Global Income Convergence Group (GIC-G) who have been engaged in studying the convergence phenomenon for over a decade. Over the last decade, the Global Income Convergence Group at the University of Southern California has established itself as a pioneer in identifying the prospects of low and middle income countries catching up with rich countries in during the 21st century time horizon. GIC-G has developed theoretical, empirical and institutional indicators to challenge the widespread, dichotomous view that countries are destined to be either rich or poor.
The global income convergence phenomenon is a significant innovation that is in sharp contrast to the traditional development economists' dismal view that the world economy is divided permanently into rich countries and poor countries and that the less developed countries, "LDCs," would continue to remain dependent upon rich countries.
Over the last decade the GIC-G has conducted research into theoretical, empirical and institutional elements of global income convergence testing and estimating selected low and middle income countries per capita income growth prospect. The findings have been extremely optimistic. For instance it has been found that China's per capita income, the most populace countries in the world, will catch up with the United States per capita income in approximately 35 years. And India, the second most populous countries in the world is expected to catch up with the per capita income of the United States in approximately one century. These findings are phenomenal. They can only be explained in the differential annual growth of per capita income of these countries as compared to the United States in the last few decades. The long-term historical growth rate of per capita income of the United States has averaged approximately 2 percent per year. But the Chinese annual growth rate increase of per capita income In the last three decades has average over 7 percent and those of India has grown at 4.4 percent; therefore they are in the process of catching up because these growth rates are cumulative and they increase the absolute value of per capita income rapidly.
The most significant aspect of China and India's per capita income growth that has bewildered development economists is the fact that both countries are over-populated and have very huge population numbers -- over a billion each -- which compelled development economists to conclude that they were caught up in a vicious circle of underdevelopment-population-trap in spite of the fact that China had a one child population policy (now it has been relaxed somewhat) and India has also been able to control its population growth.
The performance of China and India has been instructive to other low- and middle-income countries who wish to emulate the high rates of annual per capita income growth of China and India. This view has been contagious and been verified by the researchers of GIC-G at the University of Southern California who have published reports on per capita income convergence of Botswana, Brazil, Bangladesh, Columbia, Ghana, and Turkey pointing to their potential rise of percapita income and convergence within the 21st century time horizon.
The implications of global per capita income are significant for the well-being of all nations and world citizens. They include an end to dependency of low and middle countries upon rich countries. Countries at the level of per capita income of rich countries will be able to provide basic needs and other amenities for their citizens' nutrition, health care, education, housing, living wage, decent employment, infrastructure, research/development and performing arts. Moreover, in a world of all rich countries the probability of wars will most likely diminish or be eliminated and nation states will be able to turn their focus for globalization, international trade, and international finance contributing to strengthening international organizations for global tranquility and international peace. The low- and middle-income countries should heed Bill Gates' vision and overcome the inertia of being trapped at low income status.