World’s biggest economies throughout history | The Economist

World’s biggest economies throughout history | The Economist

October 25, 2019 100 By Stanley Isaacs


Time is money–the world’s largest economies
throughout history. At the start of the Common Era, India was
the world’s largest economy, followed by China. The far-flung Roman Empire came a distant
third. A thousand years later, it looked almost the
same. But third place shifted to Byzantium, in modern-day Turkey.
Five hundred years after that, Italy returned, rich from renaissance trade. Over several centuries, other European powers
vied for third: initially France, and then Britain. China and India swapped places. After the industrial revolution, the top three
economies accounted for less than half of global output.
In the 20th century, America dominated. China temporarily fell away. Russia made the top
three. As did Japan. Britain dropped down. Now the modern world resembles the distant
past: China and India are back, along with a single Western economy. And America’s
preeminence is over. China overtakes US as the world’s largest
economy.