NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Shape of Twentieth Century Economic History

J. Bradford DeLong

NBER Working Paper No. 7569
Issued in February 2000
NBER Program(s):   ME   DAE

The history of the twentieth century can be summarized excessively briefly in five propositions: First, that the history of the twentieth century was overwhelmingly economic history. Second, that the twentieth century saw the material wealth of humankind explode beyond all previous imagining. Third, that because of advances technology, productivity, and organization and the feelings of social dislocation and disquiet that these advances generated the twentieth century's tyrannies were the most brutal and barbaric in history. Fourth, that the twentieth century saw the relative economic gulf between different economies grow at a rapid pace. Fifth and last, the economic policy the management of their economies by governments in the twentieth century was at best inept. Little was known or learned about how to manage a market or mixed economy.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w7569

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