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On-Line Internet Introduction to The Periodic Production of Rationalized Phenomena and the Past Periodic Depressions

Copyright (C) 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 by Edward Lewis

Edward Lewis
P. O. Box 2013
Champaign, Illinois 61825

Mail me at email:

July 1999

This article is to introduce my book that attempts to explain why the development of science is marked by an 80 year periodicity, and explains how this periodicity of the development of science causes periodic economic depressions at about 40 year intervals. The book also includes much information about the development of new science, including cold fusion and plasmoids. I've published physics articles on cold fusion, plasmoids, tornadoes, and ball lightning and the relationship of these phenomena in Frontier Perspectives, Cold Fusion Times, Infinite Energy, Extraordinary Science, Space Energy Journal, and several other periodicals.

If you would like to receive a paper copy of the manuscript, please send me a check for 12 dollars if you are in the U.S. If you live outside the U.S., please send me 10 dollars plus the cost of postage. Postage to Europe costs 7 dollars for airmail. If you want me to, I'll send copies of published physics articles dealing my ideas about "cold fusion" and other anomalies.

Reading the book on-line:

There is a better and cheaper way to read the book. It is available on-line. If you send a 10 dollar money order and your email address, I'll send you the information for reading it on-line.

You can read about cold fusion on the Institute for New Energy web site, or on the new Nov. 1998 Wired Magazine article just put up online.

Click here for an abstract
The following four chapters are the main parts of the book which can be read on-line for 10 dollars.
Chapter 1: Theory of Periodic Development of Science
Chapter 2: History of the Periodic Development of Science According to this Theory
Chapter 3: Theory of Periodic Depressions
Chapter 4: Economic History According to this Theory

Introduction to The Periodic Production of Rationalized Phenomena and the Past Periodic Depressions

Scientific revolutions have happened at about 80 year intervals, and these have caused "technological revolutions" at about 80 year intervals, and economic depressionary periods about every 40 years. The periodic depressions have been calle d Kondratiev depressions.

The book presents a novel causal theory for the Kondratiev periodicity. In the first quarter of this century, a Russian economist named Nikolai Kondratiev and other economists proposed that the development of capitalist economies has been marked by a periodic pattern of growth and decline since the Industrial Re volution of the late 1700s. The "long waves" of development seemed to have a long duration of between 40 and 60 years (see the chart). Though he and other economists were not able to provide a convincing causal explanation for this periodicity, some economists were able to predict the international Grea t Depression of the 1930s as well as the international depressionary period of the 1970s and early 1980s. But researchers of these long-waves have lacked a causal theory. A decade ago, I found a pattern in the history of science of fundamental changes o f physics theories at approximately 80 year intervals that could have caused the long-waves. These times of major change of physics theory were called scientific revolutions by Thomas Kuhn. Evidence for the validity of this theory has been the accurate predictions of scientific and economic development since it was formulated, and the independent parallel development of similar sociological and economic ideas by other researchers.

The book attempts to explain why the development of science is marked by an 80 year periodicity, and explains how this periodicity of the development of science causes periodic economic depressions. New physics genres or paradigms have been introduced at approximately 80 year intervals since 1506, and so new kinds of technologies and industries that are developed according to these theories have been introduced at about 80 year periods. This theory for economic periodicity presents new methodology and three new theories: a theory of periodic scientific development and two theories about economic depressions. It is hypothesized that the periodic development of physics is an outcome of two or three major constraints on human learning in the context of generations of society that have developed physics as a regular process of axiomatic change. The two new economic theories that are presented explain how an approximately 80 year timing of the introduction of fundamentally new physics theories could lead to the approximately 40 year timing of international economic depressionary periods that have occurred since the Industrial Revolution. It is explained that conditions leading to economic depressions existed both during the times of transition to new technologies and industries, during the periods that people in the past have called "technological revolutions," the 1880s and 1890s and the 1970s and 1980s, and during the periods of rapid innovation and productivity increases that people in the past have termed "technological acceleration," the 1830s and 1840s and the 1920s and 1930s. So an approximately 80 year era of the maturation of a cluster of technologies and industries that are based on a physics genre may lead to different kinds of depressionary periods about 40 years apart.

The Periodic Development of Physics
80 Year Periods

The development of physics is marked by the replacement of fundamental physics premises at 80 year intervals as individuals who are young or not familiar with the accepted general theory, or as Thomas Kuhn termed it, "paradigm," learn about the anomalies that experimenters have discovered to the accepted fundamental theory and formulate a new kind of theory, marking the end of a 10 or 20 year period of both experimental verification and contradiction of the fundamental hypotheses of the accepted theory, a period of time that Kuhn termed a "crisis period." These crisis periods are also when inventors make many of the powerful technologies that form the basis of industries during a technological era, so technological and scientific revolutions have happened simultaneously. So for example, the 2nd Industrial Revolution of the 1890s and early 1900s happened at about the same time as the crisis period of that time that led to Einstein's fundamental theory. There is currently both a scientific revolution going on due to the beginning of the new plasmoid genre and a technological and industrial revolution due to the rapid development of new Quantum Mechanics and Relativity theory based industries. For information about an aspect of the new scientific research there is a recent article in a major technical magazine about cold fusion. The formulators of the initial fundamental premises of the past four physics genres have been Newton, Franklin, Faraday, and Einstein.

My theory is this 80 year periodicity is an outcome of the generational development of physics by societies according to the process of the scientific method of theoretical formulation and development, and experimentation and contradiction, according to the factors of (1) the inhibition of apprehension of fundamentally contradictory ideas, (2) the differences in training or personality of theoretical developers and experimentalists, and (3) the drive or impetus for physics development in society. The first two factors would be constraints to the rate of development of physics, while the third factor would be considered an impetus for rapid development. These three factors are well known and often commented about in histories of science, and people in each generation have faced the same two constraints of the inhibition of apprehension and of training and personality for hundreds of years. So taking these three sociological phenomena as hypotheses, it is shown that the development of a physics genre or paradigm, that is the formulation of a fundamental theory of a genre, the development of theories of the genre, and the most effective and fundamental testing of the physics theories of a genre, must be a generational process involving the work of people of at least three generations in a society.

Since Copernicus, the formulation, development, and testing of each genre of theory has taken three generations and about 80 years to complete. This is a three stage process, and each stage is usually the work of members of a single generation. It has consistently been about 40 years from initial theoretical formulation until substantial theoretical development, and another 20 or so y ears from the time of substantial theoretical development until the crisis period of the genre of theory during which experimenters contradict the fundamental premises of the genre of theory, and about another 20 years from the beginning of the crisis per iod until the next initial formulation of theory that resolve the anomalies.

An individual or individuals of the first generation who is young or inexperienced and therefore has not had their apprehension of new physics theory inhibited, learns anomalous phenomena experienced during the crisis periods, and formulates a new theory containing novel hypotheses. Einstein is an example. He teaches his theory, and after a while others who are younger, of the next generation, people who are born about the time he first formulates his theory, learn his theory implicitly and more or less accept it, and are able to develop theories of physics to a substantial level, while teaching their societies their new ideas.

I call the next generation of theoreticians who are taught by the theoretical formulators the theoretical developers. The theoretical developers may often introduce new hypotheses such as did Heisenberg and others to quantum mechanics in the 1930s, but because of their work, the new genre of theory, in that case quantum mechanics and relativity theories, becomes widely accepted and understood in their society and substantially developed by the maturation of their productive careers, about the age of their 40s. So because of the work of the generation of theoretical developers, quantum mechanics, for example, was substantially developed about 40 years after Einstein first formulated his theory in 1905. By the late 1940s through the work of Feynman, Schwinger, Tomonaga, Heisenberg and others, quantum mechanics was substantially developed.

After the late 1940s, the theory of quantum mechanics did not change much, but the basic ideas of quantum mechanics theory and relativity theory were widely taught in the most advanced societies so that even young children might apprehend it. These ideas were taught through the popular media, even in popular movies, and by teachers in societies so that people who did not already apprehend a prior fundamental physics theory could apprehend these ideas about quanta, particles, nuclei, mass-energy, space-ti me, and etc. The theory was also widely taught to train engineers and scientists during the late 1940s and early 1950s.

However, industries and major inventions based on quantum mechanics were not immediately developed in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Neither did rigorous testing of the basic postulates of quantum mechanics or relativity theory or the ramifications of these theories happen until the 1970s. The major industries of a genre have never been developed immediately after a genre of theory was developed, neither in the 1800s after the work of Faraday and Maxwell and other theoreticians, nor in the 1700s immediately after the work of Franklin, Black, Watt and others. Instead there has always been a hiatus, and this hiatus has been due, it is hypothesized, to the difference of training and personalities necessary for theoretical, and experimental and inventive work, and also the factor of inhibition of apprehension. The younger people in the universities and grammar schools in the early 1950s were the ones who could learn the new theories, and train to develop the inventions and build the apparatus necessary to test quantum mechanics and relativity theory to a high enough level of sensitivity so that the fundamental hypotheses of the theories could be accurately tested. Those who were older, in their 30s and above, in the generation that preceded theirs were either unfamiliar with the newer theories, or actually apprehended the earlier electromagnetic field theory genre, or they were trained as theoreticians, not as engineers and inventors. So it was the younger generation of people in the universities and grade schools in the early 1950s, mainly the baby boomers, who built the industries of the "Third Industrial Revolution" of the 1970s and 1980s that have transformed society and have led the most advanced economies out of the economic slump of the early 1980s. Likewise the work of verifying basic aspects of relativity theory, and quantum electrodynamics theory as developed by Schwinger, Feynman and Tomonaga as well as other predictive aspects of quantum mechanics theory actually happened in the 1970s and 1980s. And certain predictions of theory, such as the existence of a Bose-Einstein condensate, only recently have been experimentally verified in the last few years. And the experience of much phenomena that contradict the basic ideas of quantum mechanics and relativity theory and the wide reporting of these phenomena only began in the 1970s also. So during these two decades, there was both a period of fundamental testing of quantum mechanics theory, "a crisis period," and the beginning of new industries by mainly baby-boomers and people a little older who apprehended the theory and reached the more productive period of their technical careers after the age of 40.

This process of members of each generation successively performing the stages of the scientific method for the development of successive general physics paradigms seems to have been happening since at least the early 1500s, if not before. Members of gene rations have performed each of the three steps at about the same age for each step. The work of theoretical formulation has usually been done by people who are about their mid twenties, though Benjamin Franklin and Gilbert are exceptions. Theoretical de velopers are usually their most productive about the age of 40. And effective experimenters are usually most productive during their 40s and 50s, as are most technicians.

The two constraints that are hypothesized to constrain individuals, inhibition of apprehension and the difference between theoreticians and experimenters, are well known features in the sociology of science, and were described by Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Though there is not space here in this short introduction, in the main body of the book the hypotheses of the theory of periodic scientific development are further explained, and evidence supporting these hypotheses are described. Evidence for the inhibition of apprehension can be found in linguistics and cognitive development theory. It is commonly understood that learning during the first few years of life may influence what a person does for the rest of his life.

Narrative History of Science
1990s, Development of a New Set of Phenomena

The second chapter of the book is a narrative history of science according to this theory, that explains how the development of physics matches this three step, eighty year periodicity idea, and explains how the timing of past scientists matches this the ory. This timing has remained amazingly exact. For example, after 5 genres from that formulated by Copernicus in 1506 to that by Einstein in 1905, the timing was only 1 year off. Each fundamental premise was first formulated between about 73 and 86 yea rs after the prior one. The second chapter also gives a description of the development of the new genre that I call plasmoid theory, and my predictions about the future development of this set and of physics theory. The pattern of the past suggested tha t a crisis period must have happened during the 1980s. Now around the world hundreds of people are now engaged in researching various phenomena of the new set, including researching transmutation, plasmoids, ball lightning, and cavitation phenomena. I s uggest that this set of phenomena is resolved by my theory. The theory is rudimentary, but I suspect that it contains the premise for this new genre.

I was able to predict this crisis period and about the development of a new physics genre even before I started learning about much of the recently produced anomalies during the 1990s. I explain in the book how to determine whether a report of phenomena is significant or not, whether it is part of a set of phenomena, and try to explain the method of the formulation of physics hypotheses. People may now be able to predict future scientific and technological development through understanding the past pat tern and this theory of the periodic development of science and economies.

In regards to scientific development, the book predicted a scientific revolution which has turned out to turn, I think, on cold fusion phenomena and plasmoid phenomena. You can read about cold fusion on the Institute for New Energy web site, or on the new Nov. 1998 Wired Magazine article just put up online.

Economic Effects
Depressionary Periods at Approximately 40 Year Intervals


There is sufficient empirical evidence collected by long-wave researchers of international large scale economic depressionary periods in the most industrialized economies that have occurred at about 40 or 50 year intervals since the Industrial Revolution that are not due to known causes such as war. The question has remained whether this periodicity is systematic or just by chance. The economic periodicity is an effect of the 80 year periodicity of the development of physics and the sciences that has been evident since at least the 1500s.

Due to this periodicity of introduction of new physics genres or paradigms, since at least the Industrial Revolution and in the most advanced economies, at 3 generation periods or 80 years intervals, about 1790, 1890, and 1975, a new labor force that apprehends novel more powerful physics theory and technology have begun their careers by their early twenties. As this generation of young workers progress in their careers and develop their skills and capital, and develop relationships with others, they become increasingly productive. Also they help to train and organize younger generations of people so that they apprehend the same physics theory and are able to use new technologies based on their theories to promote produ ction.

This pattern of learning and work has caused a rising trend of productivity and production in the most advanced economies that peaked between the last years of the 1920s and the early years of the 1960s, and the early years of the 1830s and the last years of the 1880s. This is the industrial life-cycle. There have been three technological eras since the Industrial Revolution. The first ended in the late 1800s, and the second in the late 1970s. There are productivity growth dips towards the end of a technological era when industries mature and a labor force that apprehends a new genre of physics theory begins their careers. When industries mature, there is less introduction of new kinds of products. At these times there has been lower productivity growth rates in the most advanced economies, because both the mature and nascent industries are comparatively unproductive. In the US and the other most advanced economies, there were such dips during the period from the late 1880s to the early 1900s, and during the period of the late 1960s to the early 1980s. These dips coincide during the "industrial revolutions" because at the same time new industries with high productivity growth rate emerged. Since the emerging industries were only a minor sector in the US economy, they added little to production and the overall labor force productivity growth.

This productivity growth pattern of the generations of the labor force in the most advanced economies has caused two very different types of economic depressionary periods that have alternated at about 40 year intervals. One type occurring during the times of high increases of labor productivity is due to the labor displacing effect of automation, consumer satiation of the available kinds of products leading to reduction of consumption, and high debt levels leading to reduction of consumption, financial defaults, and financial instability in economies. The other type occurring at times of low productivity increase and technological transition is due to depletion of potential of prior theory, the shift to new industry and technology, and competition from follower economies.

This economic theory wasn't obvious to me when I first tried to understand how successions of "scientific paradigms" could cause the Kondratiev periodicity. It was difficult to determine how an 80 year periodicity of transition to new physics and technology would lead to the Kondratiev longwaves with a half-century periodicity. It was clear that there was a succession of industries based on successive physics theories. It was clear that there were conditions leading to prolonged recession or depression at the transitions between mature and nascent industries, but it was J. Waters book, Technological Acceleration and the Great Depression, that showed me how conditions of rapid development of industry and introduction of new popular products leading to high corporate and consumer debt could lead to severe economic depression. To his analysis that focused on the financial instabilities due to industrial development, I added the idea that automation, which has generally marked the middle stage of the maturation of industries is itself a depressionary factor which is due to increased unemployment of labor. In the book, there is statistics showing this effect drawn mostly from recent articles by Ester Fano. And another depressionary factor during this period is the effect of consumer satiation as people buy as much of e ach consumer durable and other product that they wish given their financial constraints. Since in mature industries there is much less product innovation than earlier, once consumers buy enough of the kinds of products they need, given their financial budgets, they tend to buy less of the product. For example, in the U. S. by the late 1920s, most families that could afford automobiles, radios, and other kinds of consumer durables already had enough of each kind. There were also enough radio broadcasting stat ions for the country, and stations were closing, so there was less of a need for broadcast equipment. Also, in the 1830s in Britain, the industries of that era that reached the middle stage of development innovated fewer new product categories, and overs upplied consumer demand.

Evidence that a theory is valid is mainly whether it can predict phenomena, but also development of similar ideas by other people may be evidence that a theory is valid. Prof. Rick Szostak independently developed a very similar theory that explains the 1930s economic depression, and he also learned from J. Waters, Ester Fano and some of the other economists as I did. He added consumer satiation and labor replacement by automation to Water's analysis o f the Great Depression. He published his book describing his ideas, Technological Innovation and the Great Depression, in 1995. The idea about an apparent 80 year generational periodicity is also paralleled in some ways by Strauss and Howe. In 1991, they published a sociological book titled Generations that describe American history as having an 80 to 90 or 100 year generational cyclicity of four generations. I write about 80 year periods of three generations of about 27 years, but there is an evident similarity, especially since we date the periods similarly.

Economist Harry Dent based his thesis about economic cycles and his demographic explanation from cyclical economic activity on this demographic pattern described by Howe and Strauss and other sociological and demographic ideas, and also describes an approximately 40 year periodicity of economic depressionary periods that is due to the life cycle of workers in a generation. In 1993, he published his popular book The Great Boom Ahead. His ideas are in some respects similar to mine also, especially in that one of his ideas is the effect of the development of groups of industries by succeeding generations. A very good idea that I have incorporated into my theory is the use of the projection of demographic trends about 48 years into the future in order to predict economic activity. Since there are birth dearths during depressionary periods and baby booms during the prosperous times, especially in the latter stage of industrial maturation, there would be economic depressions at about 40 or 50 year intervals, and economic booms also at about 40 year intervals. As well as a marked 80 year periodicity in the development of societies.

It may be that my ideas precede the development of most of these other ideas, though Ester Fano had published articles about the role of automation and the increase of labor productivity as a cause for the Great Depression in the late 1980s. I didn't know about her work until the early 1990s. But the parallel indepen dent development of theory is evidence of the validity of this theory, as is the accurate predictions.

The pattern of the past suggests that the rapid development of nascent industries during the 1990s could lead to rapid productivity increases and increases of production in the economy that leads in the development of industry, similar to the boom times i n the U.S. from about 1910 to 1930 and the similar period in Great Britain during the early 19th century. This rapid growth seems to have occurred in the U.S until now. The U.S. seems to be leading technological development in many sectors of the new in dustries of this technological revolution. Since the electronics, computer, and biotech industries, and various other quantum mechanics based industries are just beginning to reach the stage of greatest growth, because the U.S. labor force may be becomin g more productive, U.S. GNP may increase even more rapidly during the next decade, unless it loses technological leadership, ceteris paribus. Baby boomers may become increasingly productive during the next decade or two. Increasing debt may pose proble ms for the U.S. economy.

In the book, there is a short history of science focusing on the periodic change of premises and a short economic history of advanced economies. It is shown in furthur detail that this theory has been supported both by accurate prediction of scientific, technological, and economic developments, and by parallel development of economic theory by others.

There is also a chapter describing what I call the "new set of phenomena" that was written several years ago. This new set of phenomena includes ball lightning, plasmoids, and other anomalies to quantum mechanics and relativity theory. For more information about the new science, please see my web site about new science topics and my research in this area.

For more information about this book, there is a detailed abstract with synopses of each chapter. There is also another page with additional information about the book and my web site which is mainly about new physics topics such as plasmoids and ball lightning.

See Also:

"Recent Experiments That Produced Fundamental Anomalies For Novel Hypotheses Concerning the Production of Elements, Superconductivity, and Anomalous Radiation" a paper by Edward Lewis, Oct. 1996

"The Periodic Production of Rationalized Phenomena and the Past Periodic Depressions" abstract of a book by Edward Lewis, Oct. 1996

"Considerations about Plasmoid Phenomena and Superconductivity Phenomena," a paper by Edward Lewis, June 1996, June 1996, Revised. Oct. 1996.

"Gorgons, Tornadoes, and Plasmoid Phenomena," a paper by Edward Lewis, June 1996, June 1996, Revised. Oct. 1996.

"Tornadoes and Ball Lightning," a paper by Edward Lewis, June 1996, Revised. Oct. 1996.

"Concerning Production of Elements and Plasmoids," a paper by Edward Lewis, June 1996, Revised. Oct. 1996.

"Plasmoid Phenomena," a paper by Edward Lewis, June 1996

There following 4 chapters are the main parts of the book, which can be read online for 10 dollars.

Chapter 1: Theory of Periodic Development of Science
Chapter 2: History of the Periodic Development of Science According to this Theory
Chapter 3: Theory of Periodic Depressions
Chapter 4: Economic History According to this Theory

Article first put online Feb. 5, 1998.