History of the world in two graphs

Update, June 21: Derek Thompson has updated his post, with some slightly more fine-grained charts. (This time he's paying attention to the x-axis. And citing Jared Diamond.)

It's not quite as complex an argument as Jared Diamond makes in his 1997 book "Guns, Germs and Steel," but in case you haven't yet seen it, here's a graph that Derek Thompson of The Atlantic has posted showing share of world GDP:

Pretty interesting - essentially, China and India were the economic powerhouses for most of human history. Italy, or perhaps I mean "Italy," since the country as we know it didn't exist then, has a bit part early on because of the Roman Empire. And Spain and the UK get their moments as their empires develop (not the Dutch, though - could they be embedded in Spain?)

There are some problems with the chart's layout. Can you identify them before you check that link?All the same, Thompson argues that the pre-1800 distribution reflects population, and the post-1800 the Industrial Revolution. Do you agree?

Here's another look at similar data, based this time on purchasing power parity:

The numbers don't add up to 100% but not all countries are included: Spain is omitted here.
via bharatkalyan97

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