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Social Change - Cycle Theory

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The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov:

Patterns of Cycle Theory can be seen clearly in Isaac Asimov’s The Foundation. It is the first of a cycle of five interrelated short stories that tells of the early Foundation, an institute founded by “psychohistorian” Hari Seldon to preserve the best of the galactic civilization after the collapse of the Galactic Empire.

This view of an empire in decline is quite similar to Joseph Schumpeter’s view of economics in which long periods of equilibrium are disrupted by a creative destruction of the old order instigated by an entrepreneurial wave of innovation. John Maynard Keynes, expressed the Cycle Theory of Social Change when he said, “that the way to end depressions is not to cut expenses, but to stimulate spending.” (Bishop, 2012. p. 154)

Key Theorists / Tenants

  • Joseph Schumpeter’s (1934) view of economics cycles

  • John Maynard Keynes (1936) challenged conventional thinking on business cycles

  • Strauss & Howe’s (1998) ”The Fourth Turning” explores social cycles in history to offer a vision of a new American era that will begin just after the millennium


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