I admit to being bowled over by the spooky accuracy of Kondratiev during an overwise painful series of economics lectures at Uni. He’s the Russian who unearthed the reasoning behind patterns of boom and bust that his disciples consider hard-wired inside trade cycles. You can read about him and the impacts of his theories all over the internet, because it seems, although a year or two later than critics argue should have been the case, we’re now heading unmistakably into his latest depressive Winter.
A co-student of mine at the time of first discovery just recounted a delightful tale of a train journey. By chance he met leading economist Angus Hone. Even more remarkably, my pal was preparing a presentation where he wanted to talk about Kondratiev Waves. The fellow traveller happened to notice and a couple of hours of lively debate ensued.
To summarise from memory, Spring surpasses Winter only after a clearout of all that caused the bad-times. Traditionally, this has been wrapped up by war. It’s difficult to know what war could clense our current smog riven air. Iraq is considered too regional, Afghanistan too permanent, Terror too remote. Perhaps the war is rather to be waged against Carbon, Want or even Trade. Whichever, two other factors intrigue further. One is that the levels of debt must be reduced. Hello credit crunch. This typically means for instance that reserves pay off what’s owed more than getting re-invested in growth. The other is that new technologies are either born, or created through convergence of previously unconnected ones, to be game-changers that fuel the ability to grow.
This is why some thought in error that the late 90s ushered in a ‘Spring’ when telecoms and computing bred the internet. There are many contenders for the new technology that will push us to Spring this time around. Biotech is the most talked up. Fossil fuel replacements, nanotechnolgy and even the resurgence of virtual reality all feature.
Yet according to Angus Hone, this Winter will apparently be shorter than expected. It seems he feels that developments in IT alone will enable companies to become more “agile”. This will quicken the lengthening of the days.
It’s a fascinating perspective. For the solution-selling salesperson this is a brilliant concept to build on. As purse strings are held tighter, people may well indeed only invest in our wares if we can talk of such improvements. Where can my product provide greater agility? How much more agile can it make them? “Agility” is surely an aspiration I must introduce, and splatter liberally throughout, all my pitches from now on…