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Cyclical Dynamics in Economics and Politics in the Past and in the Future


Nikolay Kondratieff is known primarily for his theory of long cycles. However, it is worth recalling that he was among the first who started to investigate the nature of different economic cycles and their systematic interaction. Actually the primary classification of cycles into short, medium and long belongs to Kondratieff. In 1922, in his book The World Economy and its Conjunctures during and after the War Nikolay Kondratieff formulated for the first time the basic tenets of the theory of long cycles (Kondratieff 1922 [2002]). As until that time the economic literature hardly knew any other cycles than the ones with a characteristic period between 7 and 11 years (which were called industrial, commercial, and so on), Kondratieff quite logically called them ‘short cycles’ (Ibid.: 323). However, already in 1925, in the Long Cycles of Conjuncture (Kondratieff 1925 [1993]: 25–26), he began to call the same cycles as ‘medium cycles’. 1 Why? The fact is that in those years Kitchin (1923) discovered some cycles (with a characteristic period between 3 and 4 years) manifested in fluctuations in inventories that could be denoted as truly ‘short cycles’. Later, they became known as ‘Kitchin cycles’. Due to the fact that the medium-term cycles often have internal ups and downs, a group of scientists in the Harvard School headed by Wesley Mitchell started to consider cycles statistically (not by their logic, but by the presence of recessions, from a recession to another recession, regardless of the point that different recessions may be significantly different as regards their strength and nature). As a result, they also detected some cycles with a period between 3 and 4 years (which to a certain extent coincided with Kitchin cycles).
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hprints-01863129 , version 1 (28-08-2018)


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Leonid Grinin, Tessaleno C Devezas, Andrey Korotayev. Cyclical Dynamics in Economics and Politics in the Past and in the Future. Leonid Grinin. Kondratieff Waves. Juglar – Kuznets – Kondratieff. Yearbook, 2014, Leonid Grinin, pp.5 - 24, 2014, 978-5-7057-4282-0. ⟨hprints-01863129⟩


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