The argument about Europe being the leading economy of the twenty-first century is inexplicably far off the mark. The reality, illustrated by Maddison’s (2001) millennial reconstruction of Western Europe’s GDP and population shares, shows an unmistakable post-1500 ascent that culminates during the nineteenth century and is followed by a gradual descent that is likely to accelerate during the coming decades. In 1900, Europe (excluding Russia) accounted for roughly 40% of global economic product; 100 years later it produced less than 25% of global output, and by 2050, depending above all on growth in the GDPs of China and India, its share of global economic product may be as low as 10%. By 2050, Europe’s share of global economic product may be lower than it was before the onset of industrialization, hardly a trend leading toward global economic dominance.