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One of the two components of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8 is “economic growth”, a term which people in the 21st century are quite familiar with. The question of growth, or the lack thereof, has often featured prominently in political debates, scholarly writings, as well as popular media. Nevertheless, sustained economic growth was only a recent phenomenon in human history. The world economy remained stagnant throughout the first 1800 years in the Common Era and started to grow exponentially after that. 1Measured by international dollars in 1990, the world has seen more than 5 times increase in population in the last two centuries, but the real GDP has increased by more than 700 times.
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