Fifteen Times More Oil and Steel Now Versus 1940

The World of today still seems to be similar to the world of 1940. The world of 2019 and the world of 1940 are both mainly based on oil and steel. We can see in movies and documentary reels that we still have tanks and aircraft carriers that look similar. The planes changed from propeller to jets in the 1960s. The world has increased steel and oil production by about 15 times since 1940. We can get a sense of the pace of change by looking at production increases across the decades.

World population was about 2.2 billion in 1940 and became 4 billion in 1974 and is about 7.6 billion today. This was nearly a 4 times increase.

World per capita GDP (PPP) is now 17300.

In 2019 in developed countries, the per capita GDP (PPP) is about $35,000 to $60,000. In 1990 inflation-adjusted numbers the per capita GDP is about $25,000 to $45,000.

The GDP per capita in developed countries in 1940 was about $5000 to $7000 in 1990 inflation-adjusted numbers.

About 50% of the world are considered global middle class or wealthier. Those counted in the global middle class (households spending $11-110 per day per person in 2011 purchasing power parity or PPP). About 3.8 billion people are global middle class.

By 2030, the world population will be 8.5 billion and 10 billion in 2050. Nearly 5 billion people in Asia will all be middle class in 2050. This will be about 7 billion people in 2050. This would mean about 50% more people overall but close to double the people in the global middle class.

In 1940, world oil production was 276 million tons per year or 2.3 billion barrels per year. Production nearly tripled from 1940 to 1960. Global Oil Production tripled from 1960 to 1977. It went from 7 billion barrels per year to 22 billion barrels per year. World production is now at 4.4 billion tons per year or about 95 million barrels per day or about 35 billion barrels per year. Production is now 16 times more than in 1940.

In 2018, total world crude steel production was 1808.6 million tonnes (Mt). The biggest steel producing country is currently China, which accounted for 51.3% of world steel production in 2018. In 1936, there were 122,000,000 long tons of steel produced in the world. Steel production has increased 15 times.

In 1875, Britain accounted for 47% of world production of pig iron, a third of which came from the Middlesbrough area and almost 40% of steel. 40% of British output was exported to the U.S., which was rapidly building its rail and industrial infrastructure. Two decades later in 1896, however, the British share of world production had plunged to 29% for pig iron and 22.5% for steel, and little was sent to the U.S. The U.S. was now the world leader and Germany was catching up to Britain.

The growth of pig iron output:
Britain went from 1.3 million tons in 1840
6.7 million in 1870 and 10.4 million in 1913.

The US started from a lower base, but grew faster; from 0.3 million tons in 1840,
to 1.7 million in 1870, and
31.5 million in 1913.
From 1875 to 1920 American steel production grew from 380,000 tons to 60 million tons annually, making the U.S. the world leader.