In Britain, as in other countries, we have become acutely aware in recent years of the existence of a ‘regional’ problem—the problem, that is, of different regions growing at uneven rates; with some regions developing relatively fast and others tending to be left behind. In some ways this problem of fast and slow growing regions has not led to the same kind of inequalities in regional standards of living, in culture or in social structure, in the case of Britain as in some other countries—such as Italy, the United States or France. And in general, the problem of regional inequalities within countries is not nearly so acute as that between the rich and poor countries of the world—with differences in living standards in the ratio of 20:1, or even 50:1, as between the so-called ‘advanced’ countries and the ‘developing’ countries. Yet, as investigations by Kuznets and others have shown, the tremendous differences that now divide the rich and poor nations are comparatively recent in origin. They are the cumulative result of persistent differences in growth rates that went on over periods that may appear long in terms of a life-span, but which are relatively short in terms of recorded human history—not more than a few centuries, in fact. Two hundred, or two-hundred-and-fifty years ago, the differences in living standards, or in the ‘stage’ of both economic and cultural development of different countries, or parts of the globe, were very much smaller than they are today.