Saturday, 19 November 2016

How did the United States of America overtake the United Kingdom?

For me, one of the greatest strengths of economics is that we can see it in our daily lives. There are the news stories with subtle economic aspects; for instance, the prosperity of bees is essential for agricultural production as this produces food for labour and inputs for production. There are also more obvious issues – will the United Kingdom be faced with a ‘soft’ or a ‘hard’ Brexit? How will trade and our economy be affected? At the heart of this lies the fact that news stories are economics ‘in action’ and proof of what we find in textbooks. It is for this very reason that I am interested in economic history, as this sub-discipline provides empirical evidence to support economic theories. I also believe that it’s important to learn lessons from history to make the best out of the future; this is something definitely applicable to economic history.

A pivotal moment in economic history was the Industrial Revolution in England, a collection of events which ultimately resulted in the country’s increased economic growth. However, fast forward to the 21st Century; the largest economy in the world is the United States of America. How did the USA overtake the UK?