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Global Economic History

The Great Divergence

The book starts with absolutely no frills and gets straight to the point.
It talks about 3 phases in the recent history of the world since 1500.
From 1500 to 1800 - lots of mercantile stuff.
From 1800 to mid-1900's (I think) - Industrial revolution
mid-1900s to now - He talks about the "Great Push"

There is this divergence in the ability of the country to multiply its GDP. Some rich European countries and USA multiplied by 35 to 50 times whereas countries in Africa only managed 5 to 7 at max.
Suprisingly, Japan, Taiwan and S.Korea majorly kicked butt at this trend to be an outlier on that divergence graph. They really leapfrogged to development.

It is also interesting to note how China and India dominated world production in 1750 and down to pretty much minuscule percentage in 1950. China is ramping up and if it goes back that is one full circle. It is also interesting to note that India and China were pushed back to manufacture commodities whereas the wealth from other countries came from being able to produce rich products out of industry.

The chapter then goes on to talk about how "Real wages" is a good measure of a country's well-being. It is captured as the ratio of what a person receives to what is the basic required to sustain. The basic required to sustain is measure in terms of the cost for an approx. 2000cal diet and so more things to capture the cost of clothes, soap, etc.


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