Why is Britain richer than other countries? Watch

Heimdall
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#21
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#21
Firstly Britain isn't a country.

Britain does have over a Trillion in debt (I think it's GBP but correct me if I'm wrong)

But they are considered rich, but in my opinion most of the countries considered rich now (USA, England etc) will collapse in economies, China, India and other such will go up, as they have already.

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Drewski
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#22
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#22
(Original post by 1001Shab)
Britain is not poor, but there are countries in East that are much richer than Britain on its own.
A whole 2 of them.

Out of ~200 countries on the planet maybe 5 are wealthier than Britain. The OP's title is not an outlandish statement.
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felamaslen
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#23
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Britain pioneered free trade, along with the Dutch. That's what made the two countries be the first to develop a prosperous middle class. The rest of Europe followed suit soon after.

People saying it's colonialism have no idea what they're talking about. The US got rich with no colonies in the 19th century, through similar policies to what Britain had.
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Rakas21
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(Original post by 1001Shab)
Britain is not poor, but there are countries in East that are much richer than Britain on its own.
In nominal GDP yeah, that's what happens when you have a billion workers.

In per capita terms only the Tiger Economies rival western wealth (plus Japan) and ironically Singapore and Hong Kong were ruled by us (hence why they have some of the same pro-economy traits).
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cambio wechsel
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(Original post by Drewski)
A whole 2 of them.

Out of ~200 countries on the planet maybe 5 are wealthier than Britain. The OP's title is not an outlandish statement.
I think he's banging a drum for Qatar, Kuwait, the UAE, Brunei... Not for China and Japan, only the latter of which is (very marginally) richer than the UK on the only metric that here makes sense, i.e. per capita.
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Rakas21
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(Original post by Mubariz)
Firstly Britain isn't a country.

Britain does have over a Trillion in debt (I think it's GBP but correct me if I'm wrong)

But they are considered rich, but in my opinion most of the countries considered rich now (USA, England etc) will collapse in economies, China, India and other such will go up, as they have already.

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The debt is not an issue since it's affordable (debt to GDP is what matters).

The USA, Euro-zone, India and China are to be light years ahead of the rest but demographic change (growing labour force) will ensure we don;t see the collapse you talk about in the US. If your talking about collapse then China, Japan and Russia are the ones you need to worry about in future decades (population collapse will mean they can't support their pensioners).

(Original post by Drewski)
A whole 2 of them.

Out of ~200 countries on the planet maybe 5 are wealthier than Britain. The OP's title is not an outlandish statement.
If the Euro-zone is classed as one economy then we are the 5th biggest. Realistically we can still go into 2050 as the 9th largest.
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ClickItBack
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(Original post by felamaslen)
Britain pioneered free trade, along with the Dutch. That's what made the two countries be the first to develop a prosperous middle class. The rest of Europe followed suit soon after.

People saying it's colonialism have no idea what they're talking about. The US got rich with no colonies in the 19th century.
You have to grant though that some of the 'free trade' which helped Britain get rich was a direct result of monopolies of goods taken by force, aka colonialism.

I'm not saying Britain wouldn't have gotten rich without colonialism, but it certainly added considerably to GDP and prosperity.
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carlisomes
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#28
(Original post by felamaslen)
Britain pioneered free trade, along with the Dutch. That's what made the two countries be the first to develop a prosperous middle class. The rest of Europe followed suit soon after.

People saying it's colonialism have no idea what they're talking about. The US got rich with no colonies in the 19th century, through similar policies to what Britain had.
lol.. the USA didn't need to. It's a fact that foreign trade and colonialism led to the UK being rich. That's not to say colonialism by itself is needed to be wealthy, but in that time it's basically what happened.
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felamaslen
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(Original post by ClickItBack)
You have to grant though that some of the 'free trade' which helped Britain get rich was a direct result of monopolies of goods taken by force, aka colonialism.

I'm not saying Britain wouldn't have gotten rich without colonialism, but it certainly added considerably to GDP and prosperity.
Perhaps true, but one could make the opposite case which is that colonies also cost the mother nation a lot in fighting wars and fending off rebellions. Wealth and power doesn't come from nowhere; a footing must be made first and that - clearly - cannot come from colonialism. There is no chicken with no egg.

(Original post by carlisomes)
lol.. the USA didn't need to. It's a fact that foreign trade and colonialism led to the UK being rich. That's not to say colonialism by itself is needed to be wealthy, but in that time it's basically what happened.
See above.
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Rakas21
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#30
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(Original post by ClickItBack)
You have to grant though that some of the 'free trade' which helped Britain get rich was a direct result of monopolies of goods taken by force, aka colonialism.

I'm not saying Britain wouldn't have gotten rich without colonialism, but it certainly added considerably to GDP and prosperity.
(Original post by carlisomes)
lol.. the USA didn't need to. It's a fact that foreign trade and colonialism led to the UK being rich. That's not to say colonialism by itself is needed to be wealthy, but in that time it's basically what happened.
Surely you can't argue that Britains wealth today is a result of 19th century colonialism? At best it gave us a head start.

What really separates the rich from poor countries is the rule of law or moreover, clearly defined private property rights.
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Jammy Duel
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#31
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Difficult to say exactly what since it goes back a long time. A combination of the Empire and Industrial Revolution helped a load, but of course there couldn't have been an empire without money to begin with, so really it's a case of looking back even further than that. Doing a quick bit of research it looks to be 12th/13th centuries. European economies and militaries grew due to technological innovations: windmills, mechanical clocks, distilled spirits, crop rotation, heavy plough, horse collars etc lead to economic growth; spectacles allowed academics to work longer and the use of the astrolabe resulted in better navigation.

Warfare was reformed as there was increased utilisation of specialised infantry such as crossbowmen, sappers and engineers. Armour got better as a consequence (mainly of the crossbowmen). gunpowder made it to Europe, cannons in the early 14th and hand held guns by the end of the 14th Century.

Cathedrals and Castles advanced building technology leading to large stone structures. Shipbuilding was improved, using rib and plank methods rather than the inferior Roman mortise and tenon. Sails improved, as did rudders meaning ships could sail faster.

Of course, being an island nation Britain developed [one of] the best navies in the world which came to be advantageous when it came to the wars in the Imperial days and helped cement the British Empire as the biggest empire in history (and not likely to be beaten either). This itself led to Britain becoming very wealthy and helped with the Industrial Revolution further boosting Britain's wealth and making it a world leading nation in technology.

The wealth of Britain, along with the rest of Europe (especially western Europe) and North America is primarily as a consequence of this, although the World Wars helped America somewhat.


p.s. Doing a quick bit of research brought the British East India Company back into my mind and is making me want to watch PoTC
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carlisomes
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#32
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#32
(Original post by Rakas21)
Surely you can't argue that Britains wealth today is a result of 19th century colonialism? At best it gave us a head start.

What really separates the rich from poor countries is the rule of law or moreover, clearly defined private property rights.
I already said so, to deny it IMO is silly.
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tsnake23
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#33
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Historically Britain has been rich prior to to the world wars last century.

However WW2 Britain started to slip behind other European countries until the late 1970s, due to rampant socialism which resulted in a lazy strike-loving unproductive workforce, a high tax uninvestable economy and huge government spending burden.

Thatcher succeed in turning this around and making the country rich again. That's the main reason we have a very high GDP per capita at PPP. Our society has become more unequal but still the poorest of our society can live far more comfortably than in the 1970s. Luxuries such as large TVs, games consoles, fast internet and smartphones have become a basic standard that almost everyone can obtain regardless of your social status.
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Rakas21
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(Original post by carlisomes)
I already said so, to deny it IMO is silly.
But there's no real basis for it. Look at the damage done to the German and Japanese economies during the war and how quickly they retained their positions despite being at a disadvantage. Look at how quickly Hong Kong developed. Economies are dynamic, you can't just sit on past success and ride the wave. You have to keep up or face collapse, look at Japan over the 20 years growing at 0.8% per year between 1998-2009. By your logic the head start Brazil had (was a top 10 economy in the 60's) should have ensured they pushed onward from there, in reality they fell back.

By avoiding the fate of Cuba (3rd highest real wages in the world and a GDP per capita comparable to Italy in 1967 - now look at it) and also maintaining a niche we kept our place.
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TurboCretin
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#35
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(Original post by Rakas21)
Surely you can't argue that Britains wealth today is a result of 19th century colonialism? At best it gave us a head start.

What really separates the rich from poor countries is the rule of law or moreover, clearly defined private property rights.
Agreed. Also, there's a reason a large proportion of international trade is undertaken using English law: we have robust contract law due to our law's respect for certainty in commercial agreements. Obviously, there are myriad factors in our country's wealth, but this certainly contributes.

Also, contrary to what some on here have said, the historical contributions to our past wealth continue to resonate today: for example, London remains a global centre for the shipping industry in spite of the fact that our own maritime practices have dwindled since their colonial-era heyday. Lloyd's of London continues to dominate marine insurance after about 300 years, and that kind of history has some momentum.
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TurboCretin
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
Of course, being an island nation Britain developed [one of] the best navies in the world which came to be advantageous when it came to the wars in the Imperial days and helped cement the British Empire as the biggest empire in history (and not likely to be beaten either). This itself led to Britain becoming very wealthy and helped with the Industrial Revolution further boosting Britain's wealth and making it a world leading nation in technology.
The naval activity (particularly wars) also created huge demand for marine insurance. The global marine insurance industry began in London, and we have retained pre-eminence. See my post above.
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ClickItBack
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(Original post by felamaslen)
Perhaps true, but one could make the opposite case which is that colonies also cost the mother nation a lot in fighting wars and fending off rebellions. Wealth and power doesn't come from nowhere; a footing must be made first and that - clearly - cannot come from colonialism. There is no chicken with no egg.
It's not an 'opposite case', nor is it a chicken and egg scenario. Any endeavour has costs, but profitable ones obviously have low costs relative to revenue. I claim that colonialism was, on the whole, a profitable enterprise.

(Original post by Rakas21)
Surely you can't argue that Britains wealth today is a result of 19th century colonialism? At best it gave us a head start.

What really separates the rich from poor countries is the rule of law or moreover, clearly defined private property rights.
The thing is, past events resonate quite considerably into the future. While I accept that Japan and Germany recovered very quickly post-war, they received considerable support to do so - and they were, as you say, countries with solid rule of law and an adherence to free markets. Other countries took much longer to find their feet: China, post Opium Wars, was unable to find its feet for a very long time - even before Mao and communism.

So is Britain's relative wealth right now down to colonialism? No, of course not. But it's undeniable that colonialism contributed to being able to get to right now in its present state. Whether that contribution was large or small, and whether without colonialism the UK would have been 3rd world, or beaten by Germany in WW2, or be a world superpower, are questions that are impossible to answer.
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felamaslen
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(Original post by ClickItBack)
It's not an 'opposite case', nor is it a chicken and egg scenario. Any endeavour has costs, but profitable ones obviously have low costs relative to revenue. I claim that colonialism was, on the whole, a profitable enterprise.
I won't disagree - it was profitable for the people doing it. I'm sure the king of Spain got very rich out of exploiting the Americas. But I maintain that the vast expansion of the average economic well-being of the British people in the 19th and 20th century (as well as other countries including the USA and France), was primarily a consequence of the philosophy of free trade which had been adopted some years earlier.

This article is worth a read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...PP)_per_capita
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carlisomes
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(Original post by Rakas21)
But there's no real basis for it. Look at the damage done to the German and Japanese economies during the war and how quickly they retained their positions despite being at a disadvantage. Look at how quickly Hong Kong developed. Economies are dynamic, you can't just sit on past success and ride the wave. You have to keep up or face collapse, look at Japan over the 20 years growing at 0.8% per year between 1998-2009. By your logic the head start Brazil had (was a top 10 economy in the 60's) should have ensured they pushed onward from there, in reality they fell back.

By avoiding the fate of Cuba (3rd highest real wages in the world and a GDP per capita comparable to Italy in 1967 - now look at it) and also maintaining a niche we kept our place.
Depends how the OP means in saying wealthy.

It's not about riding past glories, but then right now it's IMO due to Thatcher's reforms. People may flame me, but IMO it's true. This doesn't mean the Industrial Revolution hasn't impacted on our economy until today.
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ironandbeer
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#40
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#40
These days Britain is getting poorer by the day, and being overtaken by many 'poor' countries.

It's only kept afloat by incredible amounts of debt and the ability to print its own money.

Britain is not so rich and is getting less rich by the day.

Britannia doesn't rule the waves (literally - it can't afford the ships)
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