The sixth Kondratieff
The New Long Wave of the Global Economy
© Nefiodow, Leo 2020
One of the few scientific theories that enable society to analyze and describe structural change is the theory of long waves, also known as the theory of Kondratieff cycles. It enables us to recognize the interdependence between the different areas of society (science, economy, social affairs, morality, religion) and, based on this, to gain a reliable insight and orientation for the future.
According to the theory of long waves, we have been in a long cycle of the global economy since the turn of the century, the sixth Kondratieff cycle (Fig. 1). Its trigger and carrier is health care; his basic innovations are psychosocial health and biotechnology. An overview of the previous Kondratieff cycles can be found on this website.
The sixth Kondratieff cycle
Health was the most important engine for economic and social development at the beginning of the 21st century. The countries that focused early on this cycle were able to overcome best the deep recessions in 2000 to 2003 and 2008. For example, two thirds of new jobs in the US have been created in the health care sector since 2000 and there are no foreseeable growth limits. The good development in the German-speaking countries is also due to the expansion of the healthcare system.
Illustration 1: The Long Waves of the Economic Development
Source: Nefiodow, Leo: The Sixth Kondratieff, 2014.
The leading role of health care is also evident through the fact that people in all developed countries are willing to do more for their health and to spend more money on it; and this trend will continue to grow as people will get older and will need medical care for much longer.
The mega health market
The healthcare market is one of the largest industries in the world. Healthcare spending in the U.S. was around $ 3,500 billion in 2017 - 17.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). In 1965 the share was only 5.9 percent. The vast majority went to the traditional health sector (Fig. 2). In 2024, the healthcare sector will be the largest employer in the U.S., according to a study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The traditional health sector
• Medical technology
• pharmaceutical industry
• Health services: doctors, naturopaths, hospitals, health insurance companies, health insurance companies, pharmacists, public health services, care facilities
• Spa companies / sanatoriums
• In-house health services: canteen, company sports, training and further education (eg with social skills), personnel development, health management
• Other (health-oriented): orthopedic products, sports articles and systems, health literature, medical informatics, etc.
The emerging health sector
• Naturopathy, natural goods, natural food
• Complementary / alternative medicine
Homeopathy, classical acupuncture, electro acupuncture according to Dr. Voll, kinesiology, bioresonance, anthroposophic medicine, magnetic field therapy, cellular medicine according to Dr. Rath, biofeedback, quantum healing, traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, Reiki, spiritual healing etc.
• environmental protection (predominantly)
• Agriculture and food
• Wellness / fitness, health tourism
• Architecture (healthy living), construction industry (healthy building materials and materials), textile industry (anti-allergic and breathable fabrics and clothing), aromatherapy, music therapy, color therapy
• Self medication and self treatment
Involvement of those causing the disease, increasing self-treatment
• Corporate Health Management
Health as a competitive factor, expansion of company health insurance and social services, health seminars, preventive health care, health premiums
• New health technologies (nanotechnology, optical technologies, robotics, artificial intelligence, digital I and K technology, neurotechnologies, psycho-informatics)
• Psychology, psychiatry, psychotherapy, psychosomatics
• Religion / spirituality
Illustration 2: Mega Market Holistic Health
Source: Nefiodow, Leo: The Sixth Kondratieff, 2014.
The growth barrier of the 6th Kondratieff
Each new Kondratieff cycle is initially opposed to one or more barriers and it takes a certain amount of time before it is overcome and it can develop its full potential. The sixth Kondratieff‘s biggest barrier is global social disorder. What do you mean with that?
If you add up the costs, losses and damage caused worldwide by fraud, theft, lies, sabotage, drugs, violence, hacking, cyber extortion, war, refugees, climate change, environmental degradation, etc., then you get an amount for 2019 of $ 20,000 billion. That was more than the US gross domestic product. For the sixth Kondratieff - as well as for economic and social progress - this sector represents the most important barrier because it deprives the resources that are required for a strong and sustainable economic and social progress.
And social disorder is still growing faster than the regular economy. This means that innovations are hindered, productivity remains low, the functionality of social institutions continues to decline, debt continues to increase and overall development remains vulnerable to crises.
Psychosocial health as social therapy
To reduce social disorder effectively, it is not enough to enact new laws, hire more police officers and build more prisons. This only treats the symptoms. If you want to fight social disorder effectively, you have to start with people and their deficits, disorders and diseases.
This becomes even more clear when the behavior of healthy people is used for comparison: A mentally healthy person does not take drugs, can live in moderation, is responsible with natural resources. A mentally healthy person does not cheat, cannot be bribed, is truthful. A socially healthy person does not exploit other people, does not rob apartments, has a sense of community. A spiritually healthy person has a trusting relationship with God, stands for reconciliation, justice and peace and does not spread hate or violence.
Without trying to change people for the better, more precisely: the inner life of the people, you will not succeed to reduce the social disorder sustainably and will not place the economy unto a future-oriented foundation.
The second barrier of the sixth Kondratieff is low productivity in healthcare. Modern life places high demands on our resilience, which today's healthcare system is no longer able to cope with because it is not a real healthcare system, but is only called that way. In this current system, money is not made by healing people, but by treating their symptoms. This leads to more and more disorders and illnesses, to more chronic illnesses and to ever increasing expenditure on diagnoses, medication, therapies and administration.
Illustartion 3: The five levels of holistic health
Source: Leo Nefiodow: The Sixth Kondratieff, 1996.
Health has always been important for the development of a society, because health expenditure is an investment and improves productivity at all levels - individually, operationally, socially. The countries that have a well-developed and functioning healthcare system are already the most successful. If the health system can be aligned even more strongly to the five levels (Fig. 3), then it can also be possible to get a grip on social disorder, increase the productivity of the health system and - as in the previous cycles of Kondratieff - in to enter a long phase of prosperity.