The Five Industrial Cycles Since 1945

About five industrial cycles have occurred on the world market since 1945. The first industrial cycle that can be traced after 1945 is the cycle of 1948-1957. The second extends from 1957 to 1968. When we speak of the post-World War II economic “boom,” we really mean the first two full industrial cycles after World War II, which were characterized by great capitalist prosperity.

Between 1968 and 1982, there were no complete industrial cycles. Indeed, the entire period from 1968 to the end of 1982 can arguably be seen as one drawn-out crisis with fluctuations or sub-cycles within it. The normal 10-year cycle resumed in the 1980s, peaking around 1990.

The industrial cycle that began with the 1990 recession peaked between 1997 and 2000. The crisis that ended that industrial cycle actually began with the run on the Thai baht in July 1997, though the U.S. economy didn’t enter recession until 2000. The industrial cycle that began with with the July 1997 run on the Thai currency ended 10 years later with the August 2007 global credit panic, which began in the United States and then spread around the world.

These cycles do not correspond to the National Bureau of Economic Research dates. The NBER is a group of bourgeois economists who decide the “official” periods of what they call “expansions” and “contractions.”

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