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The Long Cycle Theory

A new Outlook towards Global Politics is provided by a theory that sees the whole of history in a cyclic pattern through time, the Long Cycle Theory. The theory draws its sources from the pre-modern works, such as Thucydides and Polybius of Greek City States. The objective of the theory is to establish the findings of observable sequences into a coherent body of thought, conceptualizing it into a concrete social science paradigm. Nikolai Kondratieff in 1920 and Amold Toynbee in 1950’s offered new cyclical approaches. Toynbee argued that a major war had occurred about every 50 years throughout Modern History. Kondratieff explained that there have been 3 major economic objectives; since 1780’s each about 50 years long. George Modelski explains that hegemonic wars occur frequently and bring about a world leader who presides over the international system for 100 years. The power of the Hegemon remains unchallenged so long as a second challenger emerges. To Model Ski there are 5 long cycles of about a hundred years each. From 1494-1580, Portugal is leading the power, 2) 1580-1688, the Netherland is the leading power, 3) 1688-1792,
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Britain is the leading power, 4) 1792-1914, Britain is again the leading power, and 1914-1973, the United states is the leading power. Josua Goldstein computes War data and compares the data to economic indices of prices, capital innovations and production. He recorded 10 long cycles from 1495 to the present. With economic uprisings, the upswings have 25th times the annual battle fatalities as the down swings. Kondratieff in a 1926 paper, surveyed both production and price indices from 1780 to 1920. 1) The rising wave of the first cycle. 2) From 1780 to 1790 was the second period and the downward wave of the first cycle from the period 1810 to 1851. The period of social up heals occur during the periods of the rising wave of each long cycle. Another economist Schumpeter supplemented Kondratieff significant changes in technical discoveries and inventions, by suggesting that the upswings were due to technical inventions. However the method implemented by the analysts has many drawbacks. Firstly, Model Ski does not analyze Land Powers at all. The 16th Century Spain and France under Louis 14 and the Napoleon are excluded.
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Secondly, Portugal was not a The Hegemonic leader as in 16th century. It was much weaker than the Hapsburg Empire. Thirdly, the changes of political groups in power may not be sound reason for a hegemon’s ability to form international coalitions. The application of the Long Cycle theory in the present 20th century is quite hard to implement to predict the future as nobody can be sure of what the growing technological and in case of India its political scenario would be the next morning that is after the general elections.


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