I'm not into world economics, but this is an interesting video
that follows world health and economics of 200 countries over the last 200 years.
It would be interesting to spend some time with Mr. Rosling to discuss some observations. For example, the video shows that the life expectancy in China rose steadily in the 1950s, then dropped quickly and dramatically from 1958 to 1960. Is this a discontinuity in data, or was something going on in China?