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2014-11-03 18:45:00Gabriel Paulot
Inflation - Evolution since 1800 (US & UK)
A look at long term inflation evolution tells us that from 1800 (1830 for the United-Kingdom) the stability or slight decrease in prices is the norm - except in case of major conflicts (American Civil War, WW1 and WW2 for the United-States ; WW1 and WW2 for the United-Kingdom).

Starting the post second world war, inflation start being the norm at around 2% for the US and 3% for the UK with even a 15 year period from 1967 to 1982 (end of Bretton Woods monetary system and oil chocks) with a strong acceleration in inflation levels.

Today, inflation pressures are coming down with even some countries already experiencing price decreases (e.g. Italy, Japan if we exclude VAT impact).

A very interesting point is that, on the long run, there does not seem to be a link between inflation level and real GDP growth. The US growth is above 4% during the XIX century until the civil war and prices decrease by 0.3% per annum. But after WW2, United-States registered again a growth of 4.1% per annum but with an inflation of +2% per annum.
UK numbers are showing the same evolution. The expansion during industrial revolution was done without inflation. But again the expansion after WW2, which was about of the same magnitude, was done with a significant inflation of 3.7% per annum.


2014-10-30 19:30:00Gabriel Paulot
Motor vehicles production by country - 100 years of evolution
Some interesting facts about vehicle production by country.

Go to data series by country

Until 1899 France is the leading country with a bit more than 2,000 vehicles produced in 1899.

From 1900 until 1979 the United-States take the leadership. They accounted for 80% of global production in 1913 and 76% in 1950. The share then gradually decline with the increase in production in Europe and Japan.

From 1980 until 1993 and again from 2006 to 2008 Japan is number one with about 12 million vehicles produced every year - slightly ahead of the United-States (which ranked one again from 1994 to 2005)

From 2009, China has become the largest producer of vehicles in the world with 22.1 million vehicles produced in 2013 ahead of the United-States (11.0 million) and Japan (9.6 million).

Another evolution during the last 25 years is the decline of European countries even if Europe as whole has maintained its production at around 20 million units per annum. In 1989, Europe placed 6 countries in the top 10 with Germany (3rd), France (4th), Italy (5th), Russia (6th), Spain (7th) and the United-Kingdom (8th). In 2013 only Germany was left. France moved to the 13th place with production down from 3.9 million units to 1.7 and Italy to the 21st place with production down from 2.2 million to 0.7 million.
In the meantime South-Korea became the 5th largest producer with 4.5 million unites (up from 1.1 million in 1989), India was 6th with 3.9 million (up from 0.3 million), Brazil 7th with 3.7 million (from 1.0) followed by Mexico, Thailand and Canada.


source: OICA since 1997, M. Freyssenet up to 1996.
2014-10-27 19:30:00Gabriel Paulot
In Search Of Economic Growth (2) : The Economic Catch-up By Emerging Countries
Europe, along with its Offshoots (North America, Australia, New-Zealand mainly) entered the industrial revolution gradually starting early XIX century. Up to 1950, these countries built a huge gap with the rest of the world in term of economic power and standard of living.
The only non-European country to take part to this economic prosperity was Japan in 1868 (Meiji era).

However, after the Second World War and the decolonization that followed soon after, countries from other parts of the world started to enter into the industrial era, catching up with most advanced countries.

The first ones to enter the show were the '4 Asian tigers' Singapore, Hong-Kong (a British territory until 1997, part of China started 1997) - 2 small island cities - as well as 2 medium sized countries, Taiwan and South Korea. Malaysia and Indonesia accompanied them in this first wave albeit at a slightly lower pace.

The second wave took place around the year 1980, when the 2 most populous countries, which dominated the world economy for most of historical time, China and India started to catch-up, with China moving significantly faster than India. Other Asian countries joined them (e.g. Vietnam) and started also to register high level of growth.

The third wave, which started around the year 2000, is the African countries wave. After decades of wars (and, sometime with them, famine), political instability or plutocratic regimes, that occurred in many countries in the region for several decades after the end of colonial time, the continent registered significant changes at the turn of the new millennium. Over the past 10 years, countries in East Africa (Ethiopia, Rwanda) as well Nigeria for example have registered high and regular GDP growth rates.

Now where does Latin America stand? In-between. Latin America has developed sooner than Asia or African countries but its economic history is staggered with disparities and irregularities. In 1913, Argentina was one the richest country in the world in term of GDP per capita, raking 12th in the world, just ahead of France. In 2013 the country ranked 61 and its GDP per capita was just above a quarter on the French one. Brazil is also familiar with dramatic reversal of trends, alternating periods of fast growth with periods of relative stagnation. The country clocked an average GDP growth of 5.8% in the 60s and 8.4% in the 70s. This rates fell to 2.9% in the 80s and 1.6% in the 90s, two lost decades for economic growth in the largest and most populous country in the region.

The table below presents economic catch-up for 12 selected countries.


From this, we can derive some elements and factors required for a country to register fast growth rate and catch-up with the most advanced ones:
- Country independence (Hong-Kong - a British territory until 1997 being an exception).
- Peace and Political Stability
- Development of education
- Protection of private properties
- Mix of State planning and intervention and private initiative. The state is acting as an 'architect' of the economy: it plans, ensures high saving rate to support high investment rate, defines priority sectors and orientates savings towards these sectors.
- Development of infrastructure especially in energy
- Development based on private entrepreneurs - not state owned companies
- Development of intensive-labor industry
- Development of exports to get access to large markets and finance imports of machinery and equipment.
2014-10-23 11:59:00Gabriel Paulot
In Search Of Economic Growth (1) : Population and GDP over last 2000 years
I have derived from Angus Maddison's remarkable work on computing data and estimates on long term demographic and economic evolution (2000 years) some tables and graphs.

I have split Asia and Africa in different regions when I felt it was making sense.
Regarding Ehtiopia & Sudan for which there was no separated data for the year 1913 I have completed with other source (as I wanted to display the 'Nile Valley' than runs from Egypt to Ethiopia throug Sudan - these countries were quite connected in antique times and home to civilisations interacting with each other and in contact with middle east civiliations).

From this long series some interesting facts come out:
- Until the beginning of the 18th century (i.e. in 1820 after the end of French Revolution and Napoleaon's wars and when the core of industrial revolution is going to start), China and India are still from far the largest countries in the world both in term of Demography and Economy. Combined they accounted for 50% of world's population and almost the same level (47%) of world's GDP. At the same time Western Europe and its offsprings (mainly North-America) represented 14% of the world's population and a quarter of it's GDP. Western Europe has already taken some advance in term of GDP per Capita but still to a limited extent.
- In 1913, in just less than 100 years after, the picture has radically changed. Western Europe and its offsprings accounted for 21% of world's population and more than half (54%) of global GDP. Included Eastern Europe and the countries that were going to form the USSR it was more than two third of global GDP that was originating from these countries which accounted for 35% of total population. The combine share of India and China in world's GDP was reduced to 16%.
- The peak of Europe and its offspring in global GDP was reached in 1950 at 70% when China and India combined declined to only 9%. However in % of population its share already started reducing to 30% from 35%. In addition, in 1950, , following 2 major conflicts in just 30 years, the share of Europe was already down in the global GDP, and its Offspring - due to the place taken by the United-States, were totalling 30% of global GDP.
- From 1950 to 2008, Europe and its offspring share in global population started decreasing at a very fast rate (to 19% in 2008) due to sharp increase of Africa and Middle East. Its share of global GDP also started going down (from 70% to 45%) due to the economic take-off that occured mainly in Asia. In 2008, the share of India and China in global GDP was back up to almost a quarter of global GDP (24%).

2014-10-14 11:59:00Gabriel Paulot
Global Growth - Scenario at an horizon of 50 years
The scenario has been based on assumptions:

1 - A pursuit of Growth - in term of GDP per capita - at +1.8% per annum in most advanced countries. This is the same pace observed on the long run (since 1820). It assumes the pursuit of techonological advances which looks a reasonable assumption when we look at innovations in differents fields: internet - IT - automation, medicine, environment (energy, electric cars) for example.

2 - Developping countries will continue to catch-up with most advance advanced countries. In 50 year time (2063) they will reach 70% of the level of most advanced countries in term of GDP per capita. This means that at the horizon 2063 all countries in the world will be in the same range in term of development.

3 - Population projections are based on United Nation projections (central scenario).


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