Between 2001 and 2011, Brazil lifted 20 million people out of poverty and into its growing middle class, and in the last quarter of the twentieth century Botswana's gross domestic product per capita grew faster than that of any other country on the planet. The once-labeled 'Third World' is edging its way into the 'First World.'
I was born in Jamaica but was educated by, and now serve, prestigious First World institutions, so I believe that I have a unique, dual perspective. To sidestep any biases I might have, I use the objective lens of the stock market to discover which policies actually delivered prosperity to emerging markets.
Disciplined governments do not engage in the economic equivalent of binge eating followed by crash dieting.
Good economic policy requires not so much the bravado to implement drastic change as the strength and wisdom to make reasonable trade-offs over the many years it takes to transform a country's standard of living.
I think my wife would take objection to any characterization of me as perfect.
Fear of foreign domination in India led the Janata Party, in the 1970s, to push for partial Indian ownership of all multinational firms within the country. The result was a spectacular pullback, by companies such as IBM and Coca-Cola, and a stagnant economy.
It's probably indicative that I was destined for an academic career that I'm 6-5 and I lost the slam-dunk championship to somebody 5-8. I was a lot better at math.
Just as an individual's ability to delay gratification at a young age is a powerful predictor of future academic and professional achievement, discipline is also central to the long-run economic health of nations.
A government decision that slashes spending at the wrong time and sends a weak economy into a tailspin can be just as undisciplined as one that unleashes a wasteful spending spree in an overheated environment.