This is a big job for a little graph, but yes: according to Michael Cembalest, an analyst at JP Morgan, that image below maps the economic history of the world's major powers all the way back to the year one A.D. The graph shows the share of worldwide Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for each country throughout the last two millennia - basically, how much of the world's wealth each country laid claim to.
It features some surprises, like the fact that as of year one, India had the biggest economy in the world. As The Atlantic's Derek Thompson explains, that's because prior to the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s, GDP was mainly determined by population size.
Things are different today: the United States now accounts for five percent of the world population, but 21 percent of its GDP, while Asia (minus Japan) accounts for 60 percent of the world population but only 30 percent of its GDP. As Thompson puts it, "everything to the left of 1800 is an approximation of population distribution around the world and everything to the right of 1800 is a demonstration of productivity divergences around the world". Check it out below:
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This is a big job for a little graph, but yes: according to Michael Cembalest, an analyst at JP Morgan, that image below maps the economic history...Next Photo Previous Photo