The historic centre of Amsterdam, Netherlands, rich in accumulated capital during the 18th century 

Author: Charlotte Gifford

September 17, 2020

In the middle of the eighteenth century, Europe experienced explosive economic growth. GDP per capita in the Netherlands – one of the richest parts of Europe at the time – was 42 percent higher than in the Yangzi delta, then the economic powerhouse of China. By 1770, that figure had reached 90 percent. In just a few decades, Europe wealth had rapidly surpassed that of all other regions.

The Great Divergence, as it is called, helped spawn the discipline of economics as we know it today. Adam Smith’s landmark 1776 text The Wealth of Nations sought to identify the major contributors to

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