June 20, 2012

ALL OF ECONOMIC HISTORY in one graph

One thing that really baffled me about Europe was just how much damn history there is. Like... Virginia, for as long as it's had political boundaries of the type I recognize/am required to study, has always been Virginia. West Virginia left, but for as long as it's been a state it's had kind of roughly continuous boundaries and such. That is so not the case in Europe. Any given spot was probably controlled by the Vikings and the Romans and the Normans and the Holy Roman Empire and god knows who else; one town could have been part of a dozen different political territories throughout it's history. I find this incredibly confusing.

So in light of this, I have no idea how this graph works, but I think it's kind of nifty all the same.

Graph of world economic history by share of GDP
How do you even calculate GDP in the year 1000? Does "Italy" mean the Roman Empire and all its territories when that's relevant, or just modern-day Italy? Where the hell are, like, the entire continents of Africa and South America? I have no clue. World history is mind-blowing and graphs are cool.

2 comments:

timecorps said...

If you like this sort of thing, can I recommend "Why the West Rules -- for Now?" It does things like trying to measure GDP of "Eastern" and "Western" cultures going back to the Stone Age, and shows some of the workings, too.

Katie Casey said...

Fantastic, thank you!