Chapter 2. Wealth and History: How the World is Growing Richer


Gross National Product is our Holy Grail.

 --Stuart L. Udall (b. 1920) Former U.S. Interior Secretary[1]

During the last century, the world has grown dramatically wealthier, and most of us have experienced it personally. But the dimensions and background of this historic progression are not so readily understood. How rich are we? How much better off are we than a few generations ago? Examining this pivotal period of human history dramatically reveals that not only has wealth creation accelerated sharply, but also that its consequences go far beyond the usual economic definitions.

Wealth needs to be measured not only by economic concepts like net disposable income, GNP, and global stock ...

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