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The Long Economic Waves

  • Geoffrey Blainey

Abstract

The prevailing cultural and intellectual mood is often said to be the result of the economic conditions. Prosperity, it is said, generates wide-ranging confidence, while the dour spirit of an economic depression finds its way into every cultural cranny. It is often pointed out that for much of the nineteenth century the economic fluctuations ran roughly parallel with the cultural fluctuations. This pattern is usually said to mean that economic conditions tend to flavour the cultural mood, and yet the pattern was reversed in the late 1960s and 1970s, and the reversal profoundly affected our world.

Keywords

Business Cycle Real Wage Wholesale Price Economic Life Economic Fluctuation 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    Triffin on price swings: Robert Triffin, Our International Monetary System: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow (New York, 1968 ) p. 18.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    N. D. Kondratieff, ‘The Long Waves in Economic Life’, Readings in Business Cycle Theory, American Economic Association, 1950, pp. 20–42.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kondratieff argues that gold discoveries not accidental: G. Blainey, ‘A Theory of Mineral Discovery: Australia in the Nineteenth Century’ (Economic History Review, 1970 ) no. 2, pp. 298–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Leon H. Dupriez, ‘1974, A Downturn of the Long Wave?’, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, Quarterly Review (Sept. 1978) p. 199.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Prices and real wages in England, 1849–76: W. W. Rostow, British Economy of the Nineteenth Century (Oxford, 1948)esp. p. 91.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    A major war creates a pecking order in international relations: G. Blainey, The Causes of War (London, 1973 ) pp. 118–20.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Wars tend to break out when prices rise and prosperity increases: A. L. Macfie, ‘The Outbreak of War and the Trade Cycle’, Economic History, a supplement to The Economic Journal, February 1938.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    J. A. Schumpeter, Business Cycles (New York, 1939 ).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Discussions on Kondratieff: Ernest Mandel, Late Capitalism, London, 1975Google Scholar
  10. W. W. Rostow, The World Economy: History and Prospect (Austin Texas, 1978). I also acknowledge the help through personal letters on this subject from Colin Clark, 3 September 1981; from W. S. Etheridge of Renison Goldfields Consolidated, 2 June 1982: and draft paper from W. Rosenberg, Department of Economics, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, January 1979.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Geoffrey Blainey 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey Blainey

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