Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Economic History Graph

Here is an interesting graphic from the Wall Street Journal, courtesy of Economist Greg Mankiw that shows how large the GDP of the US, China, and India has been relative to the GDP of the entire world.

(Source: Greg Mankiw's Blog)


Anonymous said...

I think this really interesting graph especially to Americans. Our way of thinking tends to be that we are the most dominant country in the world and control every aspect of it. I do not think many Americans would have thought that the U.S. produces only a little over 20% of the world’s GDP. I figured that with the increased technology, the percentage of the GDP relative to the U.S. would have to go up. Now that I really think about it though, technology is also being increased in China, India, and many other nations. It is important to note how much China’s percentage of the GDP has gone down since the beginning of the graph, but it is incredible to think that one country was able to produce the same GDP as half of the world in 1820. It is also noteworthy that all three of the countries saw increases and decreases at relatively the same times. The economies of all of these countries are solid and are continuing to grow. It would be fun to see this graph extended to the present. I wonder who the next biggest GDP producing country is and how far below the others it sits.
-Natalie Halpern

Anonymous said...

ok so that first sentence should be "I think this graph is really interesting especially to Americans"... i dunno what happened there
-me again

Anonymous said...

Like Natalie, i think that it is important to note how China's GDP has gone down since 1820, and how at one time it was producing the same GDP as half the world. Also, it is important to point out how much America has grown in the past 200 years. Natalie said that many American's would be surprised to see that the US only produces a little over 20% of the world's GDP (and I'll admit that I thought it would be higher), but if you look at the fact that while a country like China was at it's peak, America was just starting out as a country. For the US to be producing over 20% of the world's GDP in a little under 200 years is incredible. Also, it is amazing to see that 3 countries have a combined GDP of about 85% of the world's GDP, and the continent of Asia alone makes up for 65%. It would be interesting to see what percentage of the world's GDP the entire Asian continent makes up. It is almost unbelievable that the entire world with the exception of 3 countries, only produces 15% of the world's GDP.
-Emily Spurlock

Anonymous said...

This was very interesting to me because most people in the United states, myself included, tend to think that we rule everything, and are always the most prominant. This GDP graph and its results kind of reminds me of a story I read in a newspaper over the summer. The article was about how people in India tutor people in the United States, and they say, as far as teaching goes, they teach a 10th grade American as they would teach a 7th grade Indian, and this is very scary to me. With the intelect, technology, and GDP developing faster than US this graph explains and shows how soon we might not be as powerful as we liek to think.

Anonymous said...

that was me above... sorry

Anonymous said...

This graph shows that the U.S. only produces 20% of the world's GDP. As both Natalie and Emily pointed out, this fact may not be so obscure. Technology, as they mentioned, is an important concept in this situation. China has definately increased their technology. In terms of economics, an increase in technology can increase supply, which lowers cost. This would help in a nation's GDP. Another aspect of the graph that should be noticed is the fact that the U.S.'s GDP has increased by alot over the past few years. China started out with a major GDP percentage over the world. China produced the same GDP in 1820 as half the world. That's pretty crazy. The graph does show that these three economies are continuously growing and are somewhat stable. Consider that the data does show that three countries in this world produced 85% of the world's GDP. This is huge for three countries. Interesting graph with surprising data.

Dave said...

There's some misreading here: China didn't produce half the world's GDP, it produced the proportion of world GDP shaded brown, ie about a third in 1820. That's hardly surprising given that China contained a third of the world's population and that international per capita income differentials weren't so great as subsequently.

The US share of "only" 21% today shouldn't be thought so disappointing given that the country contains fewer than 5% of the world's inhabitants. The higher mid-century US share reflected in part the impact on Europe and the Far East of two World Wars, not conditions one would wish to consider normal.

As the world's most populaous country, China will eventually regain its natural place as the largest economy following two centuries of relative decline. But it's unlikely ever to be as dominant as the mid-20th century US.

And other countries will eventually erode China's competitive advantage as Chinese wage levels rise. The spread of prosperity should be encouraged if we want to live in a world economy that works.