04 May 2008

Waves of Economic Convergence ~ e.g. Japan, South Korea, and China with US

If we use Gapminder (and other means of Visualizing Economics) to look at a couple centuries of Income per Capita vs Time this allows us to see the remarkable phenomenon of economic convergence or catch-up waves as one economy after the other -- for example, first Japan, then South Korea, and now China -- takeoff and begin to grow disproportionately faster and converge, in per capita economic terms, with the wealthier countries (which are growing more slowly and steadily) represented by the United States... We need to understand these growth-takeoff success-stories well enough to spread prosperity policies everywhere in order to accelerate convergence world-wide, especially among the bottom 50-60 economies, Paul Collier's Bottom Billion.

Quick thought experiment: If all developing countries, starting today (or soon), began growing at the average "takeoff rate" of Japan/Korea/China, roughly when would be the timeframe of economic convergence with US and the rest of today's rich?

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