The distinction between developing and developed countries has long been central to development studies and to debates on development policy. In earlier decades, it was in many respects accurate, and was for many purposes useful.
Although the world is still very much divided between rich and poor countries, relationships among countries have changed so much that the developing-developed country distinction has become an obstacle to understanding current problems and opportunities and, even more, to thinking productively about the future. It is time to stop using it. This paper suggests an alternative approach to country classification based on state capacity.