The question of whether in addition to the industrial cycle of more or less 10 years’ duration there is a longer cycle extending over several “10-year” cycles has divided both Marxists as well as those bourgeois economists who have shown interest in business cycles.
Some economists, both Marxist and bourgeois, have held that in addition to the 10-year industrial cycle that I have been examining up to now, there are other economic cycles of varying lengths that can be traced in the history of the world capitalist economy. Especially controversial has been the proposal that capitalist production is characterized by a “long cycle” that extends over periods as long as 50 or even 60 years.
Other Marxists and bourgeois economists have denied that there is any evidence to support the existence of a long cycle. The quasi-regular fluctuations of business conditions over 10-year periods is called a cycle because each phase of the cycle leads of necessity to the next phase. In my posts on an ideal industrial cycle, I examined this in some detail. But what would be the mechanism of a longer cycle as opposed to the mechanism of the 10-year industrial cycle?