Kondratieff Almanac

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* Book: The Kondratieff Almanac. KONDRATIEFF WAVES: Dimensions and Prospects at the Dawn of the 21st Century.

URL = https://www.sociostudies.org/almanac/articles/introduction_kondratieffs_mystery/ [1]

See also the Evolution Almanac


"The almanac consists of four sections.

Section 1 (K-Waves in Global Perspective)

.. includes four articles.

It starts with an article by Andrey V. Korotayev and Leonid E. Grinin ‘K-Waves in the World System Perspective’. The authors believe that the analysis of long economic cycles allows understanding long-term world-system dynamics, developing forecasts, explaining crises of the past, as well as the current global economic crisis. The article offers a historical sketch of research on K-waves; it analyzes the nature of Kondratieff waves that are considered as a special form of cyclical dynamics that emerged in the industrial period of the World System history. It offers a historical and theoretical analysis of K-wave dynamics in the World System framework; in particular, it studies the influence of the long wave dynamics on the changes of the world GDP growth rates during the last two centuries. A special attention is paid to the interaction between Kondratieff waves and Juglar cycles. The article is based on substantial statistical data and extensively employs quantitative analysis, containing numerous tables and diagrams. On the basis of the proposed analysis it offers some forecasts of the world economic development within the next two decades. The article ends with a section that presents a hypothesis that the transition from K-wave upswing to downswing phases correlates significantly with the phases of fluctuations in the relationships between the World System Core and Periphery.

George Modelski (‘Kondratieff Waves in the Modern World System’) suggests that among the cascade of evolutionary processes, the K-(economic) wave coevolves not only with the political process of rise of system leaders that powers global political evolution, but also with that of global community-building, and also that of global opinion formation (via the rise of media, learning, and science) that shapes and legitimizes globalization.

According to Stephen Ternyik (‘K-Periodicity, Space-Time Structures, and World Economics’), a methodical quantum leap towards world economic science is already in the scientific making, researching into the meta-cyclical patterns of human economic behavior. Although the monetary wave function and the banking systems structure are at the behavioral core of this quantum economic science, it is at the same time decisive to pushing methodical economic thought forward into models of curved space-time. A more exact and innovative reading of the time value of money and the temporal structure of production is needed for such a futuristic approach. It is important to note the author's suggestion to distinguish between different time scales in the economic life that strikingly resembles Fernand Braudel's ideas about the difference between histoire événementielle and longue durée (Braudel 1958).

Anttiheikki Helenius (‘Waves on Waves – Long Waves on the Seven Seas’) points out that the Global Financial Crisis of 2009 and the present economic situation have parallels with the Great Depression of the 1930s. Twice-in-a-century events are occurring again. On the other hand, many important innovations have been introduced during the last decades. These innovations have changed the people's lives in a revolutionary manner and have contributed very positively to the global development. Study of the development of seafaring supports the claim of the Kondratieff waves' existence. Important innovations and milestones of seafaring development have coincided with upswing phases of these waves. Moods of different eras manifest also in developments on the ‘seven seas’.

Section 2 (K-Waves in National Perspective)

.. consists of two articles. However, in future issues we intend to represent the country level of the K-wave analysis more widely.

Brian J. L. Berry and Denis J. Dean (‘Long Wave Rhythms: A Pictorial Guide to 220 Years of u.s. History, with Forecasts’) point out that the macrohistorical rhythms which have structured the U.S. economic, social and political life since the nation achieved independence have been shaped by mode-locked Kondratieff, Kuznets and Juglar cycles. Details of this mode-locking are provided, together with the timing of the resulting upswings and downswings, recessions and depressions, technological revolutions and Menschian metamorphoses, generational dynamics and the phase structure of American political history. Using the resulting long-wave clock, predictions are made of the key turning points in the next long wave that began in the 2007–2012 Kondratieff trough.

Claude Diebolt (‘Cliometrics of Economic Cycles in France’) presents a cliometric application of fractional integrated processes to socio-economic time series for France in the 19th and 20th centuries. The analysis leads to a significant result: no short or long term cycle appears as the dominant constituent. As in the myth of Sisyphus, the boulder seems again to be at the bottom of the hill!

Section 3 (Global Crisis: A K-Wave Perspective)

.. also consists of two articles, but this theme will be continued in the future issues of our Almanac.

Tessaleno C. Devezas (‘The Recent Crisis under the Light of the Long Wave Theory’) analyzes the secular unfolding of four economics-related agents, which when considered as a whole, allow comprehending what happened in the past in the global economy and shed some light on possible future trajectories. The four agents considered are: world population, its global output (GDP), gold price and the Dow Jones index. The joint action of these actors, in spite of being only a part of the whole, might be seen as a good depiction of the great piece representing the world economic realm. The application of analytical tools such as spectral analysis, moving averages, and logistic curves on time series data about the historical unfolding of these actors allows the demonstration that the recent global crisis seems to be a mix of a self-correction mechanism that brought the global output back to its original learning natural growth pattern, and that it carries also signals of an imminent transition to a new world economic order. Moreover, it is pointed out that fingerprints of Kondratieff long waves are ubiquitous in all observed time-series used in this research and it is demonstrated that the present decade will be probably one of worldwide economic expansion, corresponding to the second half of the expansion phase of the fifth K-wave.

Michel Husson and Francisco Louçã (‘Late Capitalism and Neo-Liberalism – A Perspective on the Current Phase of the Long Wave of Capitalist Development’) contend that the world is plunging into the second great depression of its modern history. The financial crisis provoked by the subprime market ignited a global recession in 2009 and then a new recession emerges in 2012 in Europe. Through this process, a major recomposition of the social regime of accumulation is under way. Although the concept of ‘crisis’ is certainly mugged, three different meanings use to be attached to it: a periodical crisis, a regulation crisis and a systemic crisis. The current period can be described by a regulation crisis but it is also a systemic crisis. The authors discuss the current phase of the long wave in late capitalism.

Section 4 (Problems and Forecasts)

.. finishes the Almanac quite logically with a series of forecasts.

According to William Thompson (‘Energy, K-Waves, Lead Economies, and Their Interpretation/Implications’), one approach to interpreting Kondratieff waves, associated with the leadership long cycle research program, emphasizes the role of intermittent but clustered technological innovations primarily pioneered by a lead economy, with various significant impacts on world politics. This approach is further distinguished by asserting that the K-wave pattern is discernible back to the 10th century and the economic breakthrough of Sung Dynasty China. While K-wave behavior has numerous and widespread manifestations, the question raised in this essay is whether explanatory power is improved by giving a greater role to energy and energy transitions in the K-wave process(es). Eight specific implications are traced, ranging from the interaction of technological innovations and energy to cosmological interpretations. In general, the answer to the raised question is affirmative, with one caveat on whether emphasizing new fuels and engines is a hallmark of the hydrocarbon era or a new and evolving feature of K-waves.

Carlota Perez (‘Technological Revolutions and the Role of Government in Unleashing Golden Ages’) concludes that the world is currently going through a recurring turning point in history. The technological potential is there to unleash a global sustainable golden age, but the political vision seems to be lacking. The future – golden, gilded or recessive – is now being defined globally and in each country. Those with a better understanding of the nature of the transition ahead are more likely to be successful."



Why we need the kondratieff almanac

Though Nikolay Kondratieff has received a deserved recognition, there are quite a few researchers in the world who continue the study of Kondratieff cycles. There are a very few academic organizations specialized in K-wave research, and there are no specialized journals. Even the last edited volume specially dedicated to the K-wave studies appeared more than five years ago (Devezas 2006). That is why we have decided to establish a special almanac Kondratieff Waves. It is not coincidental that its first issue appears in 2012. The 17th of March, 2012 was Nikolay Kondratieff's 120th anniversary; 2012, is also the year of the 90th anniversary of the publication of his Mirovoye khozyaistvo i ego conyunktury vo vremya i posle voiny [The World Economy and it's Conjunctures during and after the War] (Kondratieff 1922) where he first spelled out the idea of long cycles, which later became known as Kondratieff cycles, or Kondratieff waves (or just K-waves). As was already mentioned above, since that time the issues of mechanisms generating economic long waves (cycles), the causes of the regularity of the alternation of Kondratieff upswings and downswings, and the relative stability of the K-cycle period became very interesting subjects for many researchers in the field of economics and social sciences. Essentially the studies of the K-wave dynamics became a special field of interdisciplinary research and, of course, this suggests an immense importance of the further research on the K-wave phenomenon that has been already observed for a few centuries (if not millennia).

Notwithstanding all the substantial advances in the study of those dynamic waves, there is no consensus among the K-wave students with respect to a number of the most essential points. They include such questions as:

· How many K-waves have been observed until the moment?

· Were there Kondratieff waves prior to the 18th century Industrial Revolution?

· What is the K-wave periodization?

· Which variables should be used for the detection of the K-waves?

· Which spheres of social systems experience K-wave dynamics?

· Is this only the economic subsystem? Or could the K-wave patterns be also traced in political, cultural, and other subsystems?

· Are there any spheres of social life that experience no K-wave dynamics?

· What are the factors of the K-wave dynamics? Which of those factors are the most important?

· At what phase of the K-wave is the World System at the moment?

· May the K-wave pattern have been destroyed by globalization, or even on the contrary, is the pattern stronger now?

It is quite clear that a deeper understanding on the nature of long waves can provide us with an important tool for the forecasting of social and economic macrodynamics.

We believe that to form conditions for qualitative advances in the study of causes, mechanisms, and patterns of various K-wave manifestations we need to develop cooperation and interconnection between various students of the long cycles. One of the steps in this direction may be constituted by a new almanac that will have Kondratieff Waves as its permanent title, whereas every issue of it would have its own subtitle, dedicated to a specific theme. This edition is in no way an organ of an established group of scholars. Contrary to this it invites all the students of Kondratieff waves to a free discussion of the relevant problems, from all the possible points of view. In general, we expect that the Almanac will publish first of all theoretical articles dedicated to the study of K-waves in general, to their various manifestations, to their interconnections with various economic, political, cultural, and social cycles and phenomena. We would also be glad to publish various review articles dedicated to those problems, book reviews, information on conferences and other academic events on the long cycle theme.

The leading subjects of this Almanac are supposed to be as follows:

· Kondratieff waves in economic, social, political, and cultural dynamics both at national and global level;

· economic crises and K-wave dynamics;

· mechanisms of K-wave dynamics;

· technological backgrounds of Kondratieff waves;

· human problems in the light of K-wave dynamics;

· futurological aspects of K-wave studies; dynamic forecasts etc.;

· formal models of Kondratieff waves;

· Kondratieff waves in history;

· K-waves and other economic cycles (interaction, general mechanisms, differences, etc.);

· philosophic aspects of K-waves.