‘The ascent of the rich’ shows how the rich countries got richer. Between 1815 and 1870, the Industrial Revolution spread from Britain to Western Europe and North America. Innovation and funding in university research, particularly in Germany before World War II and in the USA after, has underpinned global leadership in technology. Western countries have experienced a development trajectory in which higher wages led to the invention of labour-saving technology, whose use drove up labour productivity and wages with it. The cycle repeats. Today's poor countries have low wages and high capital costs, so they make do with archaic technology and low incomes.