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Introduction When we talk about the GDP per capita of different countries, we can easily notice the huge difference about the developed countries and the developing countries. What makes a country richer or poorer than other? This question, which seems to be easy, is actually quite complicated to answer. Economic historians try to answer the question by analyzing economic developments and historical events. A remarkable work in the field is the Maddison Project, which “continues Maddison's work on measuring economic performance for different regions, time periods and subtopics.” This essay describes the economic development of six countries from 1870 to 2010 using the Maddison data: UK, USA, Germany, Japan, Australia and Argentina. It is divided into three main sections: the first section focuses on the Second Industrial Revolution (1870-1914); the second section talks about the influence of the two World Wars (1914-1945); the third section explains the economic situation from the end of WWII to the recent years. Finally, the conclusion summarizes the most important ideas. The Second Industrial Revolution (1870-1914) The Second Industrial Revolution is usually dated between 1870 and 1914. Great changes took place during this period: steel, chemicals, electricity, transportation, production engineering, agriculture and food processing, information technology such as telegraph or telephone, etc. (Mokyr 1998). The revolution in technology and science instigated the transition from traditional economy to the modern economy which culminated in the emergence of USA and Germany. After the Civil War, USA started a rapid economic transformation, turning itself into a highly industrialized country. Four policies of 19th century contri... ... middle of paper ... ...ntries like Singapore or South Korea, Argentina remains as one of a kind. In the early 20th century, Argentina was even richer than Germany. By 2012, Argentina only ranked at 59th position in GDP per capita. The period of time from the late 19th century to early 20th century was the era of economic growth in Argentina, also called as the Belle Époque of Argentina. The construction of railroads and the invention of refrigerator made Argentina a leading exporter of beef (Lovering 2007). Between 1900 and 1914 Argentine exports of frozen beef multiplied by a factor of 15. According to the Economist, from 1870 to 1914, Argentina’s GDP had grown at an annual rate of 6%. The GDP per capita increased by 155% in that time. The land attracted thousands of immigrants from Spain and Italy. However, the country was rich because commodities and did not develop modern industries.
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