Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Economic Centre of Gravity

We all know economic power is shifting away from the US toward China.  This interesting chart by McKinsey, based on data from Angus Maddison of University of Groningen, shows how economic power has shifted from AD1 to present day, along with forecasts into the future.  Not surprisingly, the centre of gravity has shifted most rapidly between 2000 and 2010, since we all know that all rates of change have accelerated in recent days.

This map definitely recalled for me some of the themes in History of the World Since 1300, the wonderful Coursera course by Jeremy Adelman of Princeton that I took last year.  I sent Adelman a copy of the map and he cautioned that the data was hugely controversial.  He was surprised that the 1950 data was not further west, given the dominance of California and trans-Pacific exchanges. Adelman also pointed out how Euro-centric the image was: you could picture that shift shooting out over the Pacific rather than creeping back across Europe.

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