The world’s population has risen 22-fold since the year 1000, while per capita gross domestic product has increased 13-fold and world GDP nearly 300-fold, with the biggest gains occurring in the rich countries of today (Western Europe, North America, Australasia and Japan). But in the year 1000, the rich countries of today were poorer than Asia and Africa.
Angus Maddison looks at what influences the economic performance of nations over such long periods in a new book for the OECD Development Centre, The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective. The book seeks to identify the forces that explain the success of the rich countries and explore the obstacles which hindered advance in regions which lagged behind. He also scrutinises the relationship between the rich countries and the rest of the world to assess the degree to which this relationship was exploitative.
The book is to be published in June 2001.
©OECD Observer No 226/227, Summer 2001