In recent theories on the relation between war and the Kondratieff wave it is assumed that wars are concentrated at the end of Kondratieff upswings. They intensify the tensions of the boom, destabilise economic and social relations and usher in the ensuing downswing.
Its protagonists maintain that this co-movement of war and upswing has been with us for ages. There is, however, one notable exception. World War II, the most momentous war of all, does not fit this pattern. It is a-typical for two reasons. Firstly it occurs at the end of the Kondratieff downswing and is consequently out of step. Secondly it is followed by a sturdy upswing, which obviously does not fit the postulated ‘mechanism’ of the movement.
In this paper it is argued that World War II is not an integral part of the Kondratieff wave. It stands out as a separate entity. The extent of its material destruction was such that the economies of the belligerent nations were thrown off their steady state paths. They had to lift themselves, so to speak, by their own bootstraps to return to the main road. The high growth rates typical of such a ‘reconstruction boom’ received special impetus because new technologies were embedded in reconstructed plant and equipment.
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