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Development, Economic

Economic progress is a modern phenomenon. For most of human history, growth was stagnant or low, calculated on a per-person basis. Mass poverty was the norm. According to the World Bank, in 1820, about 75% of the world's population lived on the equivalent of $1 a day or less. Today, that figure is about 15% according to the bank and even less according to leading independent economists.

The modern era of economic growth that began in Western Europe in the mid-18th century and that has since spread unevenly around the world has produced a diverse record of economic development. Western Europe, its offshoots, and Japan have experienced sustained increases in wealth; poorer countries have gone through erratic growth cycles; some have seen declines in income or ...

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