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Nicolai Kondratieff (1892 – 1938) introduced a theory about cycles of 50 to 60 years in capitalist economics. The cycles show a sinusoidal shape that can be divided into four different “seasons”: prosperity, recession, depression and improvement.
Those of you who know my model of human complexities (see below) will also recognize the same four situations or states, named in a similar but different way and also following each other in a chronological way, despite human tendensy to counteract the flow in certain stages. Rather than showing a sinus timeline I show a cyclic movement that evolves into an evolutionary spiral (not drawn in this particular drawing that represents just a single cycle showing the phases we go through).
Using my own model I relate a number of human variables to the cyclic experience, as individuals and as communities. Each phase and change among them has much to do with the human psyche which would explain the linear fluctuations in time in both the Kondratieff and my (Close) model. We can also map generations on both models to see where they stood in relation to economic development or recessions and what emotional or cultural environment supported each phase. In the Kondrakieff sinus this is easily done against very specific chronological data. It is easy to plot also very specific events as points of reference, s.a. World War II for instance.
The points of reference help to relate the different models by synchronization in time and region. World War II got us (large parts of Europe) into a state of chaos for instance. It would be a “starting” point in my model due to the time reference that can also be further extended to a specific regional location. This you can read for Holland, Spain and the USA in chapter 11 of my ebook on the Global Shift (2011)
Then we could observe how generations evolve, one after the other, with the effects of the cycles of human complexities and the Kondratieff sinus of economic seasoning on them. In my model I show that people who grow up in a situation of wealth are being educated accordingly. This means that we are being educated with wealth as a matter of fact. I remember my own growing up phase in the midst of the post war culture of prosperity of the late 60’s early 70’s in Holland. We all wanted to be a millionair by the age of 30. What we were really doing was to create our own crises by mere cultural mentality caused by the environment in which we lived. Generations follow each other up every 20 to 25 years which would show another sinusoidial wave based on culture and mentality following Kondratieff in a different phase. We could probably draw the technological peaks with the mentality ones on the models, just to see how they influence each other.
In my model I do not relate necessarily to periods of 50 or 60 years for one cycle to complete as this may have to do with administrative economics rather than human (generational and environmental) complexities. I have even suggested that in prehistorical times a complete human complexities cycle could take hundreds or even thousands of years, affected more by natural environmental periods of abundance, interaction with hostile encounters or the chaos produced by natural disasters. When we look at the Chinese dynasties a direct link can be made with such cycles. Economics did not exist nor did therefor the Kondratieff sinus. My model did apply though.
Only now, the recent few hundred years we have found the cycles shorten to such an extend that we live through one or two complete cycles in an entire lifetime. My model hence relates to environmental circumstances (culture, war, periods of peace, nature, catastophes, crises, etc) as key influencial factors on human behavior and a historical clear reference with which we can relate human reaction and evolution both technologically and socially.
My model also introduces the line of sustainable human progress along which the traumatic human events can be plotted. This is new in any documentation. I use my transition phases (greed and enlightenment) while economists would only refer to entering and leaving the chaos quadrant as two seperate phases (bull and bear markets respectivily). The line of sustainable human progress is an evolutionary straight line that moves from chaos to wealth and beyond. The transition phases (greed gets us back into chaos and enlightenment gets us back to organized wealth) can also be seen in the sinus of Kondratieff.
Kondratieff shows an organic human logic in time phases with a build up of technological highlights and the economic effects. The same complex origin for progress can be found in the human complexities (psychology, education, culture) within the phase of chaos (war, depression) and enlightenment (the left hand side of my model). Humankind apparently needs stress to be inventive while in times of wealth and greed little to nothing new is added. Instead we see then an increase in risk avoidance, bureaucracy and hierarchies, which translates into a measureable increase in costs of society. This is also the reason of sudden collapse into a recession in cycles of about 7 years (domino effect).
- Year 1: market crisis (consumer crisis for whatever reason)
- Year 2: business crisis (expected turnover not reached)
- Year 3: government crisis (expected tax income not reached)
- Year 4: government dependent instances crisis (education, police, etc)
- Year 5: business downsized, fused, innovated, went broke..builds up again
- Year 6: government gets more tax income
- Year 7: government dependencies get more air
During those seven years all economic institutions go through reorganizations, eliminating bureaucracy and trying to open themselves up for innovation. Costs are eliminated and they are downsized, renewed their structures to get a positive impulse. The impulse gets everything into a new investment round that results in 7 perceived good years and then it starts falling back again. This would suggest that the traditional 7 bad years, 7 good years, 7 bad years, 7 good years could be expalined in a sinusoidal wave of 49 years. With economics we created an artificial environment that shows a more organized sinuswave than when interacting with the multidimensional complexity of nature and the chaotic tribal confrontations of the past.
Sometimes the economic years are stretched a bit after a capital injection, an overenthusiastic increase of national debt, etc. The figure we see returning all the time (“about 50 years” – equivalent to an ancient average generational lifetime) is just a logical reflection of our administrative economic organization of one natural year and our human “perception” of what we believe is good or bad. This would also suggest that if we would half the administrative year or extend it to two years we would see the waves shorten and lengthen respectively. This may be something for further study by someone even though natural seasons may still have some significance in our, otherwise highly automated artificial productivity.
It also has to do with our fragmented structure of society along a chain of economic dependencies. If we set up society differently (eg a Sustainocracy) then the economic world would never collapse. Sinusoidal waves would not exist because we eliminated the duality in our progress by concentrating on a single higher common purpose (sustainable human progress) with highly flexible, dynamically adaptive non fixed, hierarchical organizations. We unite our knowledgeable awareness with our adaptive productivity towards a permanent never ending goal.
What the Kondratieff model does not foresee is the piling up of an exponential curve within the current artificial sinusoidal. This is effect is caused in the last 40 years after the liberation of money for speculation around shortages by the entire, global institutional world. It coincides with the “information technology” era of the 5th Kondratieff wave, which is why it confuses the analysts. Taking also the limited Earth resources into account, the dip of the 5th Kondrakieff wave coincides with my crossing over from greed to chaos and a point of singularity of overall financial collapse.
The creditcrisis of 2008 has been just a warning signal. Banks will never recover despite the huge capital injections and government finances collapse all together. The Kondratieff’s winter and my model’s point of chaos are this time expected to be more dramatic then ever, making the Russian natural winter feel warm, and the Arab spring feel peaceful, compared to previous events. Some think that the solution lies in a new technological phase s.a. nano-technology. I personally believe that the next phase has nothing to do with technology or capitalist economics but awareness and a totally new type of society.
And that is where I come in with Sustainocracy. I cannot create a Kondratieff sinusoidal counter wave now to avoid a mayor crash, nor prevent local poverty from rising, or avoid a potential new world war. I can however introduce a new paradigm that can instantly transform current society, situated structurally in greed (recession) on the way to chaos (depression), into one positioned permanently in wealth (prosperity) by taking institutional responsibility today. This would maybe break or interrupt the sinus or introduce a new aspect that actually supports the sinus but from a different point of view. My own shortcut, interrupting the traditional ups and downs of society, has to do with our current state of collective understanding (awareness, consiousness).
We now collectively understand the above and the consequences of continuing. By introducing sustainocracy we now have a choice. We could trust the sinusoidal wave as an external matter of fact and realize that a new generation of prosperity is hopefully being born today to grow up and make it happen during the Konfratieff dip. We can also take responsibility and use what we know now to create a society based on new facts, a higher awareness, before it’s too late. Like building a Sustainocracy right now in ever city or region in the world.
How powerful will people remain when the collapse continues and the point of singularity makes the sinus wave the deepest ever? What interest can people have in total collapse? How powerful can these same people become when they assume sustainocratic responsibility and turn the ship with consiousness and planned wisdom before organic logic does it with brutal force? If you are in a position of power today just ask yourself that question.
It can be done through human ethical behavior, leadership and awareness. It is difficul but worth it. I am doing it with people around me who have fragmented authorities and power (government, business, science, civilians) and they use it with me in purpose driven social and technological innovation. We do not place money in the center of attention but sustainable human progress, a clear environmental and social balance in circular economics of value creation. By doing so we create a rapid change in mentality and see a period of many decades and even centuries in reformatting and organizing our civilization with a positive consequences for economies. That I call the second quantum leap of human kind. Not by chance but by willpower and awareness.
Sustainocratic transformation is a voluntary act of responsibility
Much is being discussed about “ethics” in business, finance, government, education, etc. The biggest misconception of all is to attribute ethics to institutions. Ethics is human, not institutional. An institution cannot be blamed for unethical behavior, their leaders and employees can.
Definition of Ethics:
Many people confuse ethics with social morality, as in religion, belief or cultural behavior. One of the more useful definitions of ethics is provided by wikipedia in the names of members of the foundation of critical thinking: “a set of concepts and principles that guide us in determining what behavior helps or harms sentient creatures”.
If fact ethics refers to “the conscious way we interact with our environment, human and living nature, in a constructive or destructive way”. Ethics is complex as it demand from us the conscious reflection about our progressive behavior and its consequences. Progress has always a destructive and constructive element, when initiated by human beings as well as evolutionary progress within nature. It opens up a large array of philosophical thinking on the extend of responsibility of the human impact on its environment. How ethic is it to destroy a certain natural landscape for our infrastructures, housing, industrial processes or even agriculture? Where does human progressive dominance end to allow room for other species to evolve or is human dominance and its effects on other species part of their own evolutionary challenge? Hasn’t the competitive crises in the human species stimulated our self-awareness in such a way that we became more creative and competitive? Hasn’t the anthropocene affected life of other species in such a way that new genetic variations have appeared that adopted perfectly well to the human dominance and even to human pollution? Isn’t humankind on its own a challenge for nature to react with destructive force to create balance again in living progress? How ethical must the human species be with its environment and what ethics can we expect from our environment?
When we look at the effects of humankind on its environment then this can be considered very high, especially now, in the era that we live in today. On the other hand we see that these effects are lethal for the long term human sustainability. It is expected that climate changes and pollution will eventually reduce humankind to a much smaller population then we count today. Within 40 years humankind may well implode to a size of little more than 1 billion people (as opposed to more than 7 billion today).
Ethics has hence nothing to do with the way we influence nature itself. This will bounce back to us with equal force as what we did to nature. Nature has this unique ability to find balance in all kinds of extremes, even against humanity. So when we refer to ethics we need to reflect on the way we affect nature in the short and long term to produce effects on us. With this type of ethical consideration we place human evolution within the meaning of sustainable human progress. In this sense we do not dominate nature as we affect our surroundings but assume an adaptive attitude around the effects of nature on us. Nature seeks natural balance no matter what effects this has on humankind. We however seek balance with our consciousness (learning process) about our surroundings to provide us infinite evolutionary chances using the environment properly. We become adaptive partners with our environment for our own benefit. Ethics then refers to the level of reciprocal balance we create with our universe in which we assure our health and security at all times by respecting nature for what it is.
So when people debate on institutional ethics we need to get to terms what an institution really is? From an operational point of view an institution is a specialized group of people performing to reach some predetermined team objective. There are many types of institutions that all perform different types of tasks in a human community. From an ethical point of view we can now look at the institution and determine what impact it has on our sustainable human progress from an environmental point of view? The problem we face is the paradigm in which such evaluation takes place.
Institutions have been traditionally registered and founded to become a legal entity that behaves according human, not natural laws. An institution is a legal instrument that allows the grouping of people around certain objectives protecting the integrity of the people against failure of the institution, while allowing the people involved to share the benefits of it. The institution can hence do things that people would maybe not do themselves from a moral point of view. What motives would an institution have to do what it does and can ethical values be attributed, and by who? Yes, we can, but not to the institution, to the people giving direction to the institution. Why?
The institution is a piece of paper. When no-one does anything with that piece of paper it will not do any harm or good. It is just a number. An institution becomes instrumental in the hands of the human being. It is the human being that deals with the institution that needs to be confronted with the ethics of this usage. The fact that an institution is constituted according to certain human laws does not liberate the user of the instrument from applying moral awareness and consider the ethics of its positioning or functioning. In our current society based on capitalist economics the morality of human progress is expressed in financial means. Within this paradigm ecology and human progress are considered a cost. Ethics are valued against the price one needs to pay and the material benefit one gets in return. The overall holistic picture of a universe reacting back to us is not considered tangible enough to be attributed to the ethics of a single institution nor of its leadership. It is the human system that is unethical because it shows a scientifically proven damaging track record against nature itself and especially our own expectations for a healthy future. What is then unethical? The financial system? Money? Capitalist economics? Consumption? Industrialization? Manufacturing?
None of this is unethical because for every system an alternative system can be chosen. The fact that humankind has self-aware choices makes the usage of instruments that have an unethical impact on our environment unethical. It can be compared with a word. The word itself can never be attributed an emotion or value. It is the context in which the word is being used. The same goes with money. Money has no value, it is the value we attribute to it in a certain context. We can compare it with a hammer. The hammer is a tool that can be used in a constructive way to create a chair. It can also be used to kill. In both cases ethics can be applied, not to the hammer but to the hand that uses it and the purpose it is used for.
So instruments like words, coins, hammers or registered pieces of paper have absolutely no ethical meaning until they are used by human beings for one or another purpose. Right now the ethics of humankind is extremely off course. We are all to blame but those who claim leadership and intentionally keep up the system that is so destructive, should be brought to justice. The problem we have is that ethics has not found its way yet sufficiently in our systems of human laws and that is what is urgently needed. Sustainocracy can be help because it provides the tooling necessary to make a natural selection. It also helps institutions to transform while they still can. The excuse is still that they did not know better, had no choice and were not aware of a new paradigm. Soon no-one will be able to hold with such excuse because new standards are being set. These standards are based on true ethics. When people have a choice they immediately are at fault when their choice is contrary to a true ethical paradigm such sustainocracy. At this stage humankind can not afford to accept unethical leadership or behavior anymore whether we like it or not.