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Europe

Patterns of Economic Development

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Europe has long been a world leader in economic activities. As the birthplace of modern science and of the Industrial Revolution, Europe acquired technological superiority over the rest of the world, which gave it unquestioned dominance in the 19th century. The Industrial Revolution, which began in England in the 18th century and from there spread throughout the world, was a transformation involving the use of complex machinery and resulting in greatly increased agricultural production and new forms of economic organization. An important impetus for growth since the mid-20th century has been the formation of supranational organizations such as the European Union (EU), the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

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