Kondratiev wave

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(see Business cycles)

Kondratiev waves (also called supercycles, great surges, long waves, K-waves or the long economic cycle) are described as sinusoidal-like cycles in the modern capitalist world economy.[1] Averaging fifty and ranging from approximately forty to sixty years in length, the cycles consist of alternating periods between high sectoral growth and periods of relatively slow growth. Unlike the short-term business cycle, the long wave of this theory is not accepted by current orthodox economics.

The Russian economist Nikolai Kondratiev (also written Kondratieff) was the first to bring these observations to international attention in his book The Major Economic Cycles (1925) alongside other works written in the same decade. Two Dutch economists, Jacob van Gelderen and Samuel de Wolff, had previously argued for the existence of 50 to 60 year cycles in 1913. However, the work of de Wolff and van Gelderen has only recently been translated from Dutch to reach a wider audience.

Kondratiev was a Russian economist, but his economic conclusions were disliked by the Soviet leadership and upon their release he was quickly dismissed from his post as director of the Institute for the Study of Business Activity in the Soviet Union in 1928. His conclusions were seen as a criticism of Joseph Stalin's intentions for the Soviet economy: as a result he was sentenced to the Soviet Gulag and later received the death penalty in 1938.

Later, in Business Cycles (1939), Joseph Schumpeter suggested naming the cycles "Kondratieff waves", in honor of the economist who first noticed them. In the 1950s, French economist Fran├žois Simiand proposed naming the ascendant period of the cycle "Phase A" and the downward period "Phase B". Some market commentators divide the Kondratiev wave into four 'seasons', namely, the Kondratiev Spring (improvement or plateau) and Summer (acceleration or prosperity) of the ascendant period and the Kondratiev Fall (recession or plateau) and Winter (acceleration or depression) of the downward period.


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