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Solomon's Knot by Robert D. Cooter, Hans-Bernd Schäfer

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Chapter 2

The Economic Future of the World

Before discussing the best laws for growth, let’s compare how countries have grown. The world’s patterns of growth and decline will provide the background for understanding the legal causes of growth. Angus Maddison heroically attempted to measure the wealth of nations over millennia.1 He calculated that Egypt was the richest country in the world two thousand years ago, with a per capita income 50 percent higher than in other countries of the Roman Empire, China, or India. In the year 1000 CE Iran and Iraq under the Abbasids were the economically most advanced countries with a per capita income about 50 percent higher than in Europe or Asia. By 1500 Italy had the lead with a per capita income 50 percent ...

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