Three Cycles or Just One
When I coined the title of my Radio for Peace International course “Weather, Wealth, and Wars” it was just a cute way of saying there are not three separate 54 year cycles, there is just one cycle with several different manifestations in the natural world, the economic world, and the political and war world. Convinced that it was idiotic to consider them separate, I began looking for the connecting mechanisms and found them over a long period of time, with trial and error. But I still was stuck in the old logic of analyzing the three worlds separately. What if you look at the system as a whole and look at these interconnections holistically? At first I thought the Earth system created by differing evaporation rates over land and ocean was the main driver of it all, we are creatures of our planet. Sure enough, after trying agriculture as the link and finding that doesn’t work well, I remembered some studies and personal experiences with heat that showed how heat can reduce productivity. That turned out to fit a variety of cases and circumstances and appears to be the right connection. Then economics seems to be the right fit for explaining the timing of major wars, again in a variety of ways. But along came the finding of cold years (sometimes months and days) correlating with wars beginning. That seemed a bridge too far for me. Yet it was there, and evidence for it exists. But the mechanism? I just don’t know, I’m only partially sold on that concept. I’d rather downplay that whole idea. But yet…..well, maybe.
How Do Human Beings Work
For all our rationalizations and reasoning, we are really very fragile creations. Emotions often get the better of our reasoning side. For all our ability to “work around” and solve seemingly impossible problems, we are very much trapped by our environment. Physically we build walls and roads all over the place to separate ourselves from our environment. Housing is considered a basic need, as is privacy. Constantly pumping in sound to a cell is a form of torture and can drive a person crazy just as much as complete isolation can. We are delicate, impacted by many things. We can overwork ourselves to the point of sickness and exhaustion. The craziness of the president’s tweets may be a result of perpetual five hour a night sleep deprivation. Balance is the key to happiness and success. Sudden changes in our atmospherics, new trends, and sudden deepening of old trends may have consequences. Those on the top of the food chain may feel the new trends and adjustments especially well having a whole populace to channel the new state of being up to a focus.
Junctures and Consequences
Great stress is put on the Earth each time the shift occurs from relative warming trend to relative cooling trend. The land and ocean are in titanic struggle. So some events of the 54 year cycle are every 27 year events. Then there is another paradox of the long cycle; that every other 54 year long cycle comes and goes over a land dominated Northern Hemisphere dominated cycle or an ocean dominated Southern Hemisphere cycle. This shows up in the temperature record clearly by whether the Northern or Southern Hemisphere is warmer in a given year. So while the land heats and cools over a 54 year cycle, the ocean seems to follow a much longer 108 year cycle. With the Earth about two thirds ocean (71% actually) and one third land (29% actually) this seems to make some rough sense out of the pattern. Land seems to be three times as volatile and subject to warming as ocean for several reasons. The huge tendency of solar radiation to vaporize water is satisfied easily over ocean and with difficulty over land and especially difficult over desert. This shows up in large scale with the heavily landed Northern Hemisphere having three times the seasonal temperature variation as the heavily oceanic Southern Hemisphere. Heat slows people down in the tropics and in the summer. Cool refreshes and energizes for higher productivity.
Historical Turning Points
Lets look at the natural, economic, and war turning points fifty four years ago. Multi year averages are best for determining turning points out of a rough set of data like economic growth by year and temperature by year for the last hundred plus years. For both economics and temperature, the American picture is clear. For economic growth the high points are 1898, 1952, and 2006; the low points are 1928, 1982, and 2036. The temperature relative to trend low is 1913, 1967, and 2021; the high 1940 and 1994. So the cooling trend from 1940 to 1967 is the high growth era peaking in 1952. At the end of this era is the natural dominance of the land heavy Northern Hemisphere that began with the 1921 heat wave, lead to peak heat in the Great Depression thirties, then cools and continues until 1968. In 1969 the oceanic Southern Hemisphere suddenly becomes the hotter Hemisphere until 2028. The economy starts cooling off and the politics changes drastically on exactly this timetable. Around the globe 1968 is a year of student riots in France and America, and Cultural Revolution in China. Then 1969 almost has a superpower war between the communist giants China and Russia, except that the nuclear bomb and cooler heads prevail as they did in the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. 1970 is the thousand year average year of a major war breaking out in the 54 year war cycle. The political pendulum swings in America from the 1932 to 1968 dominance of Democratic liberal spending presidents to the dominance of conservative presidencies starting with Nixon Reagan and the Bushes. Each period has its exceptions that prove the rule, moderate Republican Eisenhower in the first period and conservative Southern Democrats Carter and Clinton in the second period. The new Republican political economy of austerity fits the economic down cycle. Launched by the 1971 Louis Powell memo that reacts to liberal dominance with a bevy of new 70’s conservative think tanks, Heritage, ALEC, CATO, to add to the 1942 Bradley Foundation. All these in the wake of the Vietnam War defeat with its reduced military spending. The reaction is to gin up a reason to raise military spending. George Bush uses the CIA creating a B team estimate of Soviet military spending based on American prices. Soviet hardware overpriced creates the illusion that 80% of Soviet spending is on hardware, not the traditional massive Russian conscript army. With this fictitious doubling of Soviet military spending, the public is lured into an arms race military increase under Reagan. Beginning in 1981, with the biggest peacetime military increase in American history, the economy is initially depressed in 1982, by switching from manufacturing to military. This was funded by a massive 70% tax cut for the top1% along with a 15% cut for the middle class, propping up the economy with classic warlike deficit spending. Along with firing the PATCO aircraft controllers and gutting regulations protecting unions, this begins the long forty year freeze of wage increases for the middle class. This leads to a militaristic medieval like society of lords and serfs. This is coupled with an influx of third world elites, businesspeople, engineers, doctors, and lawyers with their elite conservative lack of concern for the third world masses. This pushes society deeper into a state of empire and empire social decay.
Empire military increases and temperature increases combine to send America into a middle class decline as conservative political forces fueled by military spending reinforce the pattern of decline across the board, except for the elites and military industry: https://www.academia.edu/32759407/EMPIRE_and_CLIMATE_Economics_ppt._29_slide_5_p._2017
Please cite this work as follows:
Reuschlein, Robert. (2017, September 17). “Three Cycles or Just One”. Madison, WI: Real Economy Institute. Retrieved from: https://www.expertclick.com/NewsRelease/Three-Cycles-or-Just-One-Robert-Reuschlein,2017119675.aspx
Dr. Peace, Professor Robert Reuschlein, Real Economy Institute