Category:P2P Cycles

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This brand new section from March 2020 onwards will specialize in material showing evidence of historical cycles, and specifically, what I call 'The Pulsation of the Commons'.

The main sources are:

However, human society is marked by 'cultural evolution' (Pogany) and like in the bio-physical world, there is an 'arrow of time', and in the case of human society, overall, an increase in social complexity and an accumulation of scientific and technical knowledge. This evolution of societal regimes involving greater and greater numbers of people, has to be coupled with the pulsation paradigm. This gives us an indication of an evolving spiral, in which thermodynamic cycles, socio-economic regimes, and human 'modes of apprehension (Gebser, Pogany), correlate to each other.

Please note:

  • Our companion section dedicated to macrohistorians and overall civilizational analysis [1]
  • Our own preliminary analysis of how the ebb and flow of the commons may fit in cycle-based theorizing: [2]


Deepankar Basu:

"To identify the turning points of long waves before 1980, I draw on qualitative evidence from the historical literature summarized in Mandel (1978; 1995); for turning points after 1980, I draw on qualitative evidence presented in Kotz (2009). Together, this literature highlights the following 4 long waves since the middle of the 19th century:

• Long Wave 1 (1848-1893): composed of the upswing during 1848-1873, and the downswing from 1874 to 1893;

• Long Wave 2 (1894-1948[40]): composed of the upswing from 1894 to 1913, and the downswing from 1914 to 1948 (1940 in non-European countries);

• Long Wave 3 (1949[41]-1982: composed of the upswing from 1949(41) to 1967, and the downswing from 1968 to 1982;



Provided by Robert Conan Ryan, first draft:

"4 paradigms (Scientific, Cultural, Political, Technomic)

SCI Paradigm:

  • Kuhn and Toulmin synthesis
    • Kuhn: black swans (anomalies) and revolutionary periods of theory (new fields of theory)
    • Toulmin: scientific instruments (scale breakthroughs) and change in the philosophy of science ( new commonsense logic)

CULTURE Paradigm:

  • updated Graves spiral dynamics;
  • 80 year Generational conflict historical cycles;
  • Turchin secular cycles and neo-marxist class conflict cliohistory;
  • Historical Grand Narratives (dialectic idealistic waves) in the formal humanities;
  • educational/academic and journalistic crisis cycles (culture media wars)


  • Political Compass Cycle (Kligsberg foreign policy cycle,
  • plus an updated Schleisinger Domestic Policy cycle, creates a four phase political quadrant bias cycle


  • Carlota Perez Paradigm shifts and 4- S curves of industrial creative destruction; sectoral models of economic progress and dematerialization; Neo-Georgist land cycle ; Neo-Austrian and Post-Keynesian credit leverage cycles.

The "Fifth Paradigm"

... is a mystery of the natural environment risk cycles ... floods,, hurricanes, climate volatility,, etc....which is an area that requires more simulation science advances before we can add it to this model."

Key Quotes

Proven Cyclicality in Agrarian Civilizations ?

"Recent comparative research shows that agrarian societies experience periods of instability about a century long every two or three centuries. These waves of instability follow periods of sustained population growth. For example, in Western Europe, rapid population growth during the thirteenth century was followed by the 'late-medieval crisis', comprising the Hundred Years War in France, the Hussite Wars in the German Empire, and the Wars of the Roses in England. Population increase in the sixteenth century was followed by the 'crisis of the seventeenth century' - the wars of religion and the Fronde in France, the Thirty Years War in Germany, and the English Civil War and Glorious Revolution. Similarly, population growth during the eighteenth century was followed by the 'age of revolutions', ranging from the French Revolution of 1789 to the pan-European revolutions of 1848.

Such oscillations between population growth and instability have been termed 'secular cycles'. Given the limitations of historical data, we need an appropriately coarse-grained method to determine the statistical significance, and the generality, of the pattern. The basic idea is to demarcate population growth and decline phases, and to count the instability incidents (such as peasant uprisings and civil wars) that occur during each phase.

With my colleagues Sergey Nefedov and Andrey Korotayev, I have collected quantitative data on demographic, social and political variables for several historical societies. Applying the above approach to eight secular cycles in medieval and early modern England, France, the Roman Empire and Russia, we find that the number of instability events per decade is always several times higher when the population was declining than when it was increasing. The probability of this happening by chance is vanishingly small. The same pattern holds for the eight dynasties that unified China, from the Western Han to the Qing, and for Egypt from the Hellenistic to the Ottoman periods."

- Peter Turchin [3]

Key Resources

Key Articles

See also:

  1. Gebser’s Five Structural Mutations of Consciousness and the Role of Dark Ages
  2. Giambattista Vico's Stages in World History
  3. Sri Aurobindo's Four Stage Cycle of Society
  4. Viconian Civilizational Cycles
  5. William Irwin Thompson on the Four Cultural Ecologies of the West
  6. William Irwin Thompson’s Five Stages of Human Evolution

Key Books

Before Capitalism

  • Secular Cycles. By Peter Turchin and Sergey A. Nefedov. Princeton University Press, 2009 [4]. Focuses on cycles with agriculture-centric societies up to industrialization.

""Our findings showed that from about 12,000 BCE, the planet went through a warming trend causing extreme climate changes all across the globe. It disrupted primal societies and their ways of life and successively displaced ancient pastoral and agrarian communities. The warming trend intensified rapidly quickening the rise and fall of ancient civilizations at the core centers. The tumultuous social and ecological ethos of the pre-axial times became conducive for the formation of world-denying motifs that became the bedrock of all post-axial religions and philosophies. This, in a nutshell, is the thesis of Green History of Religion."

After the Emergence of Capitalist Modernity

[5]; for cycles within capitalism, see also Karl Polanyi's Great Transformation

  • The Great Transformation. Karl Polanyi: the lib-lab cycle within capitalism, associated to the Kondratieff waves, i.e.the periodic dis-embedding and re-embedding of markets in society.


On Riding Cycles and the Distribution of Power

"Two American historians – George Modelski and William Thomp­son – explored the question of how the rise of great powers can be explained. They concluded that the most important prerequisite for the development of a great power is the leading mastery of a Kondratieff­ cycle. The reasons for this are easy to understand. Those who lead in comman­ding the basic innovation of a Kondratieff cycle, develop the most highly productive economy; those who have the most highly productive economy are able to finance the largest armies and fleets and the most modern weapons; those who own the most modern weapons and most powerful militaries can force their way on other countries and sooner or later become a political superpower."

- Leo and Simone Nefiodow [7]

Pages in category "P2P Cycles"

The following 127 pages are in this category, out of 127 total.