In this section we will look at this more recent time and will also study the inequality between different regions - both in respect to the unequal levels of prosperity today and the unequal economic starting points for leaving the poverty of the pre-growth past.
Economic prosperity is measured as via growth domestic product (GDP) per capita, the value of all goods and services produced by a country in one year divided by the country’s population.
As this chart of total GDP in the England over seven centuries shows, the increase of the total output of the UK economy grew by even larger extent, because not only average incomes increased since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, but the number of people in the country increased as well.
In the previous chart we saw that it was only after 1650 that living standards in the UK did start to increase for a sustained period.
Average incomes (as measured by GDP per capita) in England between the year 12 were £1,051 when measured in today's prices.
The second part is much shorter, it encompasses only the last few generations and is radically different from the first part, it is a time in which the income of the average person grew immensely – from an average of £1051 incomes per person per year increased to over £30,000 a 29-fold increase in prosperity.
This means an average person in the UK today has a higher income in two weeks than an average person in the past had in an entire year.
Since the total sum of incomes is the total sum of production this also means that the production of the average person in two weeks today is equivalent to the production of the average person in an entire year in the past.
For the period after 1650 we see that both the population he was wrong about his time and the future, but he was indeed right in his diagnosis of the dynamics of his past.Incomes remained almost unchanged over a period of several centuries when compared to the increase in incomes over the last 2 centuries. What people used as shelter, food, clothing, energy supply, their light source stayed very similar for a very long time.Almost all that ordinary people used and consumed in the 17th century would have been very familiar to people living a thousand or even a couple of thousand years earlier.The world before Malthus was Malthusian and population increases were associated with declining nutrition, declining health, and declining incomes.The world after Malthus became increasingly less Malthusian.