Re: poly: World Economic History

From: Hal Finney <>
Date: Wed Jun 10 1998 - 09:59:47 PDT

Carl's posting is fascinating as usual, but it raises a question. GDP is
basically productivity times population. It would be interesting to know
how much of the historical growth is due to each of these two factors.
As Carl mentions, getting access to the Americas allows population to
increase considerably, independent of any productivity growth.

When Robin first posted about growth rates, he referred to a set of
papers which fit an asymptotic curve to (recent) population levels
(infinite population around 2030 or so). For that to work, rate of
growth needs to be proportional to population squared. In traditional
biological growth, growth rate is proportional to population. So we
need an additional multiplicative factor proportional to population.
Could this be productivity? If growth rate is proportional to population
times productivity, and productivity is proportional to population,
then we get the asymptotic curve.

All we have to do is get data on historical population levels and divide
into Robin's GDP data to get historical productivity. Then we can look
and see if it grows roughly in step with population.

Received on Wed Jun 10 17:18:10 1998

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