The Rise and Fall of Economies Over Time

The team at Madison Trust Company gave us some fascinating historical insight into world history and economies with this graphic. It ranks the ten countries with the largest GDPs and shows us how this ranking has changed over time, specifically from 1960 to 2024. GDP stands for “gross domestic product” and refers to the total final value of goods and services produced. This has long been one of the most popular ways to measure economic performance.

The world’s biggest economy is by far the United States. They hold a staggering 15.5% of worldwide GDP. They also have a significant amount of debt, which has luckily been on the downswing since the 1980s. Today, in 2024, these are the countries with the largest GDPs:

  • United States GDP – 27,974 billion (USD)
  • China GDP – 18,566 billion (USD)
  • Germany GDP – 4,730 billion (USD)
  • Japan GDP – 4,291 billion (USD)
  • India GDP – 4,112 billion (USD)
  • United Kingdom GDP – 3,592 billion (USD)
  • France GDP – 3,182 billion (USD)
  • Italy GDP – 2,280 billion (USD)
  • Brazil GDP – 2,272 billion (USD)
  • Canada GDP – 2,224 billion (USD)

The U.S. became a leading economy as far back as 1865 when the nation became a leader in coal production and railway building. They surpassed Britain in the 1880s when they became the leader in steel production.

We can learn a lot about history by examining economies. For example, World War II had a tremendous impact on the economy. When it concluded, it ushered in a period known as “the Golden Age of Capitalism.” Countries experienced population growth, higher production, and the bounce back from war time rationing.

We can see that the U.S. has remained at the top of the economic game for the most part. Japan briefly surpassed them in the 90s, and China has risen and strives to close the gap.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.