Exploring the Economic Long Wave, also known as the Kondratieff Cycle

The Economic Long Wave, often called the Kondratieff Cycle, is a theorized recurring pattern within the global economy. It intricately intertwines with the life cycle of technology, offering a unique lens through which to understand economic fluctuations. This phenomenon holds particular significance in the realm of alternative economic theories.

Following the tumult of the Second World War, the capitalist world embarked on what was identified as the fourth long wave of expansion. However, this phase gradually transitioned into a downward trajectory during the 1970s. Each wave encompasses a period characterized by swift capital accumulation, succeeded by a slower accumulation phase.

Nikolai Dmitriyevich Kondratiev, a prominent figure in this field, developed the theory of Kondratiev waves. Born into a peasant family with Komi heritage in 1892, Kondratiev’s intellectual journey led him to become a proponent of the New Economic Policy (NEP). He was educated under the guidance of esteemed mentors at the University of St. Petersburg before the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Kondratiev’s groundbreaking theory posited that Western capitalist economies undergo extended cycles, typically 50 to 60 years, oscillating between periods of prosperity and recession. Despite facing condemnation and imprisonment in 1930, Kondratiev continued to publish prolifically until his tragic execution during the Great Purge in 1938.

Today, his insights resonate within and beyond the Soviet Union, shaping discussions on long-term economic patterns. The cycles he delineated are now recognized as long waves, grand supercycles, or Kondratiev waves, honouring his enduring contribution to economic theory.


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