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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Killer apps of prosperity

The graphic below shows that per capita income of China and India were similar with those of Britain and the US up to 1850, after which the income of US and Britain exponentially increased.


Nial Ferguson attributes the divergence between the West and the Rest to six institutions developed in the West, that using modern computer terminology, he calls, Killer Apps. The six killer apps are listed below.

The "killer apps" are:
1. Competition
2. The Scientific Revolution
3. Property Rights
4. Modern Medicine
5. The Consumer Society
6. The Work Ethic

According to Ferguson, the development of these institutions in Western Europe answers the question: “Why, beginning around 1500, did a few small polities on the western end of the Eurasian landmass come to dominate the rest of the world?”

Like the modern variety, these killer apps can be downloaded - they can be used by other societies. The developing societies are using some of them and the Great Divergence is re-converging.

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