Editor's Note: Throughout the week, Ruchir Sharma will be posting thought-provoking questions with answers and explanations on CNN.com/GPS. Be sure to check out his excellent new book Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles.
By Ruchir Sharma - Special to CNN
Question: There are 15 members in the club of trillion-dollar economies. What are the next two countries that will join the club?
Answer: Turkey and Indonesia.
Significance: These are big Muslim democracies with increasingly market-oriented economies. The implications of their arrival among the global elite will be profound, both as inspiration to Muslim nations that are still struggling, and as an object lesson to Westerners who believe Muslim modernity is an oxymoron.
In both these nations growth has been unleashed by modern Muslim leaders who understand the essentials of market reform. In Turkey, the main achievement of prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been to contain inflation that had once hit 6200 percent, and debts that had forced Turkey to accept an IMF bailout, in the months before he took office in 2002.
In a nation that had been ruled since World War I by an aggressively secular minority, Erdogan freed pious Muslims like himself to play a normal role in the economy, and to compete for any job, generating growth that has raised average incomes from $3500 to $10,500. He is deregulating Islam itself.
Indonesia is a similar story: after the fires that engulfed the last months of the Suharto dictatorship in 1999, and the series of incompetent leaders who followed, President SBY (Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono) got control of inflation and debts, and unleashed the previously downtrodden and marginalized provinces to grow.
Unlike many other commodity economies, Indonesia has smartly invested the proceeds of a decade of high commodity prices in new roads and other basics for future growth, rather than throwing wild parties, Russian-style. Under SBY Indonesia has become the rare developing commodity economy that works.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of Ruchir Sharma.