I reconsider the growth of Western Europe during the Golden Age of European Economic Growth after the Second World War. The preceding thirty years of conflict and depression impeded the normal path of industrialisation in these countries, and they had too much labour in agriculture for their level of income and stage of development at the end of the war. The disequilibrium added to other more ordinary forces to produce unusually rapid economic growth. This hypothesis explains the speed of economic growth during the Golden Age, differences between growth rates in these years, and the end of this historical episode.

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