This is essentially the question asked and answered by Hans Rosling at a recent TED lecture.
For those that don’t know him, Rosling is something of a superstar at the intersection of public health research and data visualization. Rosling’s recent work focuses on dispelling the misconception that there is a binary distinction between the developed and developing worlds. While Rosling is not the first to argue against this dichotomy (and all its political ramifications), his approach is both fascinating and affective. Rosling utilizes an impressive visualization tool–that he developed and Google bought–to present data on the progress of the developing and developed worlds in a relational manner. The video below was shot in June of 2009 at a TED-sponsored talk at the US State Department.