The World Economy - A Millennial Perspective


Over the past millennium, world population rose 22–fold. Per capita income increased 13–fold, world GDP nearly 300–fold. This contrasts sharply with the preceding millennium, when world population grew by only a sixth, and there was no advance in per capita income. From the year 1000 to 1820 the advance in per capita income was a slow crawl — the world average rose about 50 per cent. Most of the growth went to accommodate a fourfold increase in population. Since 1820, world development has been much more dynamic. Per capita income rose more than eightfold, population more than fivefold.
The growth process was uneven in space as well as time.

In the past half century, resurgent Asian countries have demonstrated that an important degree of catch–up is feasible. Nevertheless world economic growth has slowed substantially since 1973, and the Asian advance has been offset by stagnation or retrogression elsewhere.

The purpose of this book is to quantify these long term changes in world income and population in a comprehensive way; identify the forces which explain the success of the rich countries; explore the obstacles which hindered advance in regions which lagged behind; scrutinise the interaction between the rich countries and the rest to assess the degree to which their backwardness may have been due to Western policy.

The World Economy - A Millennial Perspective

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