2000 years of GDP in one chart - and an amazing… | tutor2u Economics

2000 years of GDP in one chart - and an amazing statistic!

This chart from The Economist took me a little while to get my head around - but it is an amazing combination of world output and human history.

According to the chart, 55% of total world output in the last 2000 years was produced in the 20th century. That is an impressive number, but what is even more astounding is that 23% of the goods and services produced since AD1 was produced in the years 2001 - 2010, a total of 78% since 1900. Of course, this is in part due to a higher world population but is also testament to the much higher levels of production and consumption that the average world citizen does.

The chart does consider population, with the lighter blue bars showing the amount of relative “human history” made - population multiplied by years lived. These show that 6% of the human history in the last 2000 years was made since 2001 - 34% if you include the 20th century.


Although our quality of life now is undoubtably better for a large percentage of the world’s population due to the huge acceleration in goods and services available, the important question is….for how long is it sustainable?

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