This report, using data from a range of authoritative sources, studies the long-term postwar economic growth of the industrialised North and shows that this has fallen continuously, with only brief and limited interruptions, since at least the early 1960s. The trend is extremely strong and includes all major Northern economies without exception. It is confirmed by a wide range of different measures of GDP and growth including Purchasing-Power-Parity (PPP) and standard real GDP measures, and a range of methods for aggregating the data from different countries. It is thus an extremely well-confirmed historical trend.
This result sheds new light on the current difficulties of the world economy and has many implications. It conflicts with any idea that the present crisis or ‘Great Depression’ as it is increasingly referred to even in mainstream literature, originates in some recent upset such as the 2008 crash, or in the incidence of, or problems created by, a putative new régime of accumulation such as neoliberalism or financialisation. In fact, the roots of the present crisis lie in a long historical process which set in very shortly into the ‘Golden Age’ of postwar expansion.
Cite as: Freeman, A. 2019. ‘The Sixty-year Downward Trend of Economic Growth in the Industrialised Countries of the World’. Geopolitical Economy Research Group Data Project Working Paper #1, January 2019