Secular Cycles

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Princeton University Press, Aug 9, 2009 - Business & Economics - 349 pages
2 Reviews

Many historical processes exhibit recurrent patterns of change. Century-long periods of population expansion come before long periods of stagnation and decline; the dynamics of prices mirror population oscillations; and states go through strong expansionist phases followed by periods of state failure, endemic sociopolitical instability, and territorial loss. Peter Turchin and Sergey Nefedov explore the dynamics and causal connections between such demographic, economic, and political variables in agrarian societies and offer detailed explanations for these long-term oscillations--what the authors call secular cycles.

Secular Cycles elaborates and expands upon the demographic-structural theory first advanced by Jack Goldstone, which provides an explanation of long-term oscillations. This book tests that theory's specific and quantitative predictions by tracing the dynamics of population numbers, prices and real wages, elite numbers and incomes, state finances, and sociopolitical instability. Turchin and Nefedov study societies in England, France, and Russia during the medieval and early modern periods, and look back at the Roman Republic and Empire. Incorporating theoretical and quantitative history, the authors examine a specific model of historical change and, more generally, investigate the utility of the dynamical systems approach in historical applications.

An indispensable and groundbreaking resource for a wide variety of social scientists, Secular Cycles will interest practitioners of economic history, historical sociology, complexity studies, and demography.


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Review: Secular Cycles

User Review  - Stephen - Goodreads

This book exemplifies my type of futures - a grand sweep of human history, a causal model, and a dynamic framework from which we can view our present lives. The first chapter outlines the model and is ... Read full review

Review: Secular Cycles

User Review  - Fred R - Goodreads

There are still some very basic questions (how do you define "the elite"? What determines the number of "elite aspirants"? Is the model applicable to a post-agricultural economy? If so, what are we ... Read full review


The Theoretical Background
The Plantagenet Cycle 11501485
The TudorStuart Cycle 14851730
The Capetian Cycle 11501450
The Valois Cycle 14501660
The Republican Cycle 35030 BCE
The Principate Cycle 30 BCE285 CE
The Muscovy Cycle 14601620
The Romanov Cycle 16201922
Chapter 10 General Conclusions
References Cited

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About the author (2009)

Peter Turchin is professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and adjunct professor of mathematics at the University of Connecticut. Sergey A. Nefedov is senior research scientist at the Institute of History and Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Ural Branch.

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