Nikolai Dmitrievich Kondratiev

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Nikolai Dmitrievich Kondratiev

Nikolai Kondratiev ( Russian Николай Дмитриевич Кондратьев , scientific. Transliteration Nikolaj Dmitrievič Kondrat'ev , often Kondratieff or Kondratiev transcribed ; born March 4 jul. / 16th March  1892 greg. In Galujewskaja in Vichuga ; † 17th September 1938 in Kommunarka ) was a Soviet economist and is considered to be one of the first exponents of the cyclical business theory ( Kondratjew cycles ).


Kondratjew was born in the central Russian village of Galujewskaja as the son of simple farmers. After attending primary school, the parents were unable to raise the financial means for higher education. The young Nikolai Kondratieff was suitable teaching material on autodidactic way and was a high school 1911th During this time he campaigned for democratic change and the Socialist Party in what was then the Russian Empire . Because of this, he was arrested several times in 1905 and 1911. After graduating from high school, he studied law at the University of Saint Petersburg until 1915. During this time he worked as a teacher for workers.

After graduation, he received a post in the administration of the Petersburg District. In the spring of 1917 he took part in the February Revolution , as a result of which he was elected to the Constituent National Assembly. Until the October Revolution of the Bolsheviks in the autumn of 1917, he was Deputy Minister of Food in the Kerensky interim government.

In 1920, Kondratiev founded the Economic Institute in Moscow , where he was involved in drawing up the first five-year agricultural plan in the Soviet Union . He advocated market economy structures and only wanted to collectivize agriculture when sufficient capital was available for large agricultural machinery. In 1926 he published his research on the long waves in the economy. When the New Economic Policy (NEP), which was more oriented towards the market economy , was replaced by strict planned economy thinking in 1928, he lost his job with the dissolution of the Economic Institute.

With its basic thesis that capitalism, according to its cyclical model, would regenerate itself after a downswing phase, it also came into contradiction to the prevailing doctrine, which assumed an imminent, final collapse of the market-economy-capitalist economic system, which thus laid the foundations for a " world revolution " would create. This led to his sentencing to prison in 1930, which he spent in solitary confinement in Suzdal .

In the course of the “Great Purge” under Stalin from 1936 to 1938, after eight years in prison, Nikolai Kondratjew was finally sentenced to death by a military tribunal on September 17, 1938 and shot on the same day .

In 1987 he was rehabilitated by the Soviet Union.

The International Kondratiev Foundation , founded in 1992, was named after Kondratiev .


From observing time series of economic indicators over 140 years (such as prices, interest rates, wages, securities prices and foreign trade flows in England, France and the USA), Kondratiev concluded in 1926 that the economic development of the industrialized countries was in about fifty to sixty years of long waves of ups and downs. Groundbreaking “basic innovations” (e.g. the invention of the steam engine, the automobile or the widespread use of the railway network or electricity) would turn an economic downturn into a recovery that would lead to a renewed upswing. The Kondratiev cycles are therefore measured against the basic innovation that spreads over decades in the real market.

Capitalism is therefore not - according to the Marxist doctrine - doomed to final destruction, but would recover again in a renewed upswing phase of such a cycle.


One year after Kondratiev's death, the Austrian economist and politician Joseph Schumpeter coined the term Kondratiev cycles for long economic waves .

Modern advocates of Kondratiev's theory such as Erik Händeler explain the financial crisis from 2007 not with the failure of the financial markets, but with the lack of cost-reducing increases in productivity. After the real economic productivity gains possible through the application of information technology have largely been exhausted, there is a lack of profitable investment opportunities. That is why interest rates are low, and bubbles form on the financial markets, as in 1873 after the railway was built or in 1929 after electrification . From the perspective of Kondratiefftheorie the next cycle structure is formed from each of the shortages of the previous ones, so that in the psycho-social health and the human capital -friendly business ethics , the basic innovation of the next cycle of prosperity is to be seen. Both economists agree on this.


  • The Works of Nikolai D. Kondratiev , (two volumes, 650 pages), Pickering & Chatto, London 1998, ISBN 9781851962600 .
  • The long waves of the economy , in Archives for Social Science and Social Policy , p. 56ff (1926);
  • The price dynamics of industrial and agricultural goods (on the problem of relative dynamics and business cycle), in Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik , 60 (1928), pp. 1–85.


  • Leo Nefiodow: The sixth Kondratieff. Paths to Full Employment in the Information Age. Rhein-Sieg Verlag, Sankt Augustin 2006, ISBN 978-3-9805144-5-3 ; 6th completely revised edition. 1st edition: 1996.
  • Leo Nefiodow: Kondratieff's cycles of the economy: on the threshold of new full employment? (Contributions to the theory of long waves and their practical application - an interdisciplinary dialogue) ; Busse Seewald, Herford 1998, ISBN 3-512-03177-3
  • Erik Händeler : The story of the future. Social behavior today and the prosperity of tomorrow (Kondratieff's global view). Brendow, Moers 2003, ISBN 3-87067-963-8 ; 6th fully revised edition ibid. 2007, ISBN 978-3-87067-963-7 .
  • ders .: Kondratieff's world. Prosperity according to industrial society. Brendow, Moers 2005, ISBN 3-86506-065-X .
  • ders .: The waves of the world economy. In: G / history . September 2008, p. 6 ff.
  • ders .: Health is becoming the engine of growth. The resources for disease repair are becoming increasingly scarce and innovation push is a new Kondratieff cycle structure in growth engine health. The future of our health system (edited by Friedrich Merz ). Carl Hanser Verlag , Munich 2008 German, ISBN 3-446-41456-8 .
  • Ulrich Hedtke: Stalin or Kondratieff - Endgame or Innovation? Berlin 1990.

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