The Longwave - An Introduction


IMAGE This is the first and original resource centre dedicated to those who are interested in the longwave and social cycles on the Internet. There are several resource areas and more will be added as necessary. The 'Longwave Books and Journals - Theory' , provides a listing of books on the longwave that tend to be on a more theorectical level. Book Reviews or Summaries will be added as they are received.

IMAGE The 'Longwave Books and Journals - Other' area provides a list of longwave resources that tend to be more practical, such as investment advice. These resources will be of interest to those who are just starting out in this fascinating field and also to those who want to keep abreast with the research that is currently being done. Publishers or authors who wish to have their books reviewed or articles listed, please send them to Longwave Press.

IMAGE The 'Other Cycles Areas' will take you to other links that deal with cycles on the internet.

IMAGE These areas may be linked under 'Online Articles' if it is more appropriate.

IMAGE Because the longwave has always been multi-disciplinary, we've included links to 'Related Areas' .

IMAGE Not to fall behind the times with dry theory, although in our opinion, the longwave is absolutely fascinating, we've provided a link to video and music about the longwave. Download load it from the 'Longwave Multimedia' area.

IMAGE Of course, if all this appeals to you, you will want to join our 'Longwave Newsgroup' and share with us your perspective on the longwave.


Sometime ago, in the not too distant past, the study of economics was the study of business cycles. It was in this environment that the longwave theory began. When the Russian economist Nikolai Kondratieff plotted commodity prices, wages and other economic statitistics, he discovered that they fluctuated in cycles of 50 to 60 years. On the rising side of the longwave, there were more years of prosperity, and on the declining side of the longwave, there were more years of economic decline. Kondratieff's work aroused much opposition from his Marxist colleagues, who were predicting the ultimate downfall of capitalism, for Kondratieff's work implied that following each decline, prosperity would return. Kondratieff had predicted the Great depression by about a decade in advance and the return to prosperity thereafter.

Kondratieff gave two possible explanations for these cycles. The first was that businesses tend to over-invest by the top of the longwave and thus being drain of resources, must wait until the bottom of the longwave until more resources could be accumulated for further investments. The second explanation was that there were more innovations in the market place at certain phases of the longwave which brings about economic prosperity. When innovations decline, so does the economy.

Kondratieff's work became known to the West when it was translated into German in 1926 and into English in 1935. A number of different theories have been developed since Kondratieff, among them was the Capitalist Crisis theory of Leon Trotsky, then the leading opponent of Kondratieff. Built on the belief that capitalism was unstable, Trotsky prosposed that the declining side of the longwave was caused by a crisis in capitalism which would bring it down to its destruction. Only the co-incidental discovery of new resources, such as oil or gold have saved capitalism in the past, to usher in the new prosperity of the longwave upswing. In 1978, David Gordon introduced a sub-school to the Capitalist Crisis school called the Social Structures of Accumulation in an attempt to harmonize it with modern economic theory.

Josef Schumpeter of Harvard became the most influential proponent of the longwave in the 1930s and advocated the innovation theory which has since become the dominant school of thought, at least in the West. In related development is Jay Forrester's System Dynamics.

TThe latest addition was proposed in 1994 by Edward Cheung. In his book 'Baby-Boomers, Generation-X and Social Cycles', he provides evidence that longwave characteristics may be found in the population statistics of Canada, the United States and other parts of the world. These statistics flutuate in a 50 to 60 year cycle. Every 50 to 60 years, there is a baby-boom followed by a baby-bust, now known as generation-'X'. Thus the dynamic of the longwave is fluctuations in population growth. With it comes all the symptoms of a youthful and then aging society. These new ideas were disseminated world-wide over the internet through the longwave news group sponsored by Carl H. A. Dassbach at the Michigan Technological University and hosted at the University of Colorado in the 1990s. The longwave of demographics is now widely accepted. The newsgroup is currently hosted by Longwave Press.


Note: Longwave is also spelled long-wave or long wave.