A brief history of the global economy in one revealing chart

Here’s a very interesting chart from Citi that shows the  evolution and changes in the shares of various countries/regions in the global economy.

It’s a chart by Citi and it shows the percentage shares of the US, Western Europe, China and India in global economic output, measured in international dollars in 1990. (For more on the definition of international dollars, click  on this link.)

Collectively, these regions/countries account for 55-60% of the global economy.


US: The US never really shot into global prominence until the early 1800s, when the Industrial Revolution picked up steam. It remained a strong economic power until the 1950s, after which its fortunes have been rather choppy and repeatedly challenged by up-and-comers such as India and China.

It remains the most influential country in the global economy and the situation is expected to remain that way until 2030, when it could be edged out by China.

Western Europe:  Given the various colonial  powers that sprung from Europe, it’s not surprising that Western European countries have wielded significant influence on the global economy throughout history.

However, similar to the US economy, Western European countries have accounted for a declining share of the global economy since the 1950s. Their golden age was the period between the late 1800s and the early-to-mid 1900s.

As a region, they are expected to account for around 15% of the world economy by 2030.

China: Asia’s economic giant was a major player in the world economy until the early 1800s, after which its share declined dramatically as it became more inward-looking.

However, after economic liberalisation in the late 1970s, China’s share of the global economy has improved markedly.

It is expected to account for a little over 20% of global economic output by 2030, marginally exceeding the share of the US economy. If everything goes according to plan, it will become the top nation contributing to global economic output by then.

India: Its share of the world economy has been on the decline since the 1700s (primarily because it came gradually under British rule, which turned the country from a trading and manufacturing centre into a raw materials factory).

Since the 2000s, its share in the global economy has been gradually rising, and is expected to hit the 10% mark by 2030, lagging China’s.

[Image Credit]


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