‘The great divergence’ considers gross domestic product (GDP) and standards in living to show the prosperity gap between rich and poor countries. The present division between rich and poor largely emerged since 1500. Between 1500 and 1800 was the mercantilist era with Europe being the wealthiest continent. Industrialization and de-industrialization have been major causes of the divergence in world incomes. From 1750 to 1880, the British Industrial Revolution destroyed traditional manufacturing in Asia. The period from 1880 to the Second World War was marked by the industrialization of the USA and continental Europe. The increase of new technology in modern manufacturing has also had a big impact worldwide.