On a Fifty Years Pulsation in Human Affairs: Analysis of Some Physical Indicators

Marchetti, C. (1983). On a Fifty Years Pulsation in Human Affairs: Analysis of Some Physical Indicators. IIASA Professional Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: PP-83-005

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Why should economic cycles (or "long waves" or "long-term pulsations in social behaviour") have a place in the Core Concepts project? Such cycles, surely, are a familiar concept, neither newly emergent nor in need of clarification. In this paper, Marchetti, questions these assumptions. They are called economic cycles, he argues, because they were first discussed by economists but, in fact, economic indicators are not nearly as successful in establishing the existence and nature of such cycles as are "physicals." So the concept is not so clear after all, but does it have some emergent quality? Does it threaten to change the conversation of applied systems analysis?

Yes, says Marchetti, it changes the way in which we see our client -- the decision maker. At present, we tend to see the decision maker as the Great Controller, the Great Initiator, but, as we clarify the cycles by using physical rather than economic indications, so we begin to see him more as the Ribbon Cutter. Decision makers are downgraded and become only "the active tendrils of Big Brother, the System."

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Professional Paper)
Research Programs: System and Decision Sciences - Core (SDS)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 01:54
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:11
URI: https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/2383

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