- Virtuous circle and vicious circle
A virtuous circle or a vicious circle is a complex of events that reinforces itself through a
feedbackloop toward greater instability. A virtuous circle (or virtuous cycle) has favorable results, and a vicious circle (or vicious cycle) has deleterious results. A virtuous circle can transform into a vicious circle if eventual negative feedback is ignored. Both circles are complexes of events with no tendency towards equilibrium (at least in the short run). Both systems of events have feedbackloops in which each iteration of the cycle reinforces the first ( positive feedback). These cycles will continue in the direction of their momentum until an exogenous factor intervenes and stops the cycle. The prefix “hyper” is sometimes used to describe these cycles. The most well known vicious circle is hyperinflation.
Example in macroeconomics
Hyperinflation is a spiral of
inflationwhich causes even higher inflation. The initial exogenous event might be a sudden large increase in international interest rates or a massive increase in government debtdue to excessive spendings. Whatever the cause, the government could pay down some of its debt by printing more money (called monetizing the debt). This increase in the money supply could increase the level of inflation. In an inflationary environment, people tend to spend their money quickly because they expect its value to decrease further in the future. They convert their financial assets into physical assets while their money still has some purchasing power. Often they will purchase on credit. Because of this, the level of savings in the country is very low and the government could have problems refinancing its debt. Its solution could be to print still more money starting another iteration of the vicious cycle.
Economic growth can be seen as a virtuous circle. It might start with an exogenous factor like technological innovation. As people get familiar with the new technology, there could be
learning curve effectsand economies of scale. This could lead to reduced costs and improved production efficiencies. In a competitive market structure, this will likely result in lower average prices. As prices decrease, consumption could increase and aggregate output also. Increased levels of output leads to more learning and scale effects and a new cycle starts.
Example in management
An investment in your employees’ ability to provide superior service to customers can be seen as a virtuous circle. Effort spent in selecting and training employees and creating a corporate culture in which they are empowered can lead to increased employee satisfaction and employee competence. This will likely result in superior service delivery and customer satisfaction. This in turn will create customer loyalty, improved sales levels, and higher profit margins. Some of these profits can be reinvested in employee development thereby initiating another iteration of a virtuous cycle.
A harvesting strategy can be an example of a vicious circle. Rather than reinvesting in
employeedevelopment, new product development, and market research, managementcould decide to harvest their investmentby reducing costs then increasing dividends or increasing executive compensation. The consequence of this could be reduced employee wages, minimal training, an outdated product line, and a failure to understand the needs of the customer. This will likely result in employee dissatisfaction, employee incompetence, and high employee turnover. This could cause poor service delivery, customer dissatisfaction, high customer turnover, and loss of market share. Reduced salesand lower profit margins may require a further reduction in investment thereby initiating another iteration of the vicious cycle.
Other examples include the
poverty cycleand sharecropping.
The contemporary subprime mortgage crisis is a complex of vicious circles, both in its genesis and its manifold outcomes.
* Schlesinger, L. and Heskett, J. (1991) Breaking the cycle of failure in services, "Sloan Management Review", vol. 31, spring 1991, pp.17 - 28.
*http://william-king.www.drexel.edu/top/prin/txt/gro/gro21b.html - An introduction to 20th century virtuous circle theory.
* [http://220.127.116.11/search?q=cache:TxgNA2SGlWQJ:www.gordon.edu/ace/pdf/Yuengert_Choice.pdf+Virtue+%22economics%22&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 Rational Choice with Passion:Virtue in a Model of Rational Addiction] - In this link the author uses Aristotelian virtue as a mediator between passion and reason in the construction of utility/consumption functions in an esoteric part of consumer behaviour theory related to decision making in addictive situations.
* [http://www-econ.stanford.edu/faculty/workp/swp03007.html China: A Stabilizing or Deflationary Influence in East Asia? The Problem of Conflicted Virtue ] - In this link the author is using virtue in the sense of a positive outcome (balance of payments surplus) that conflicts with long term regional growth and stability.
* http://www.bioenergycentres.com/resources.shtml - an essay in 3 parts by Polarity Therapist Andrew Harry, Bath, UK. Defining The Virtuous Cycle as an integrated healing process.
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virtuous circle — N SING If you describe a situation as a virtuous circle, you mean that once one good thing starts happening, other good things happen, which cause the first thing to continue happening. Exercise creates its own virtuous circle. Once you start a… … English dictionary
Vicious circle — may refer to: *Virtuous circle and vicious circle, a complex of events that reinforces itself through a feedback loop toward greater instability; some examples: **Begging the question, a kind of logical fallacy **Positive feedback, in science… … Wikipedia
vicious circle — or ,vicious cycle noun singular a process in which the existence of a problem causes other problems, and this makes the original problem worse: the vicious circle of unemployment and homelessness ─ opposite VIRTUOUS CIRCLE … Usage of the words and phrases in modern English
vicious circle — noun 1. one trouble leads to another that aggravates the first (Freq. 3) • Syn: ↑vicious cycle • Hypernyms: ↑positive feedback, ↑regeneration 2. an argument that assumes that which is to be proved • Hypernyms: ↑ … Useful english dictionary
virtuous cycle — (VUR.choo.us sy.kul) n. One good thing leads to another. That is, a situation in which improvement in one element of a chain of circumstances leads to improvement in another element, which then leads to further improvement in the original element … New words
circle — [[t]sɜ͟ː(r)k(ə)l[/t]] ♦♦ circles, circling, circled 1) N COUNT A circle is a shape consisting of a curved line completely surrounding an area. Every part of the line is the same distance from the centre of the area. The flag was red, with a large … English dictionary
circle — n. & v. n. 1 a a round plane figure whose circumference is everywhere equidistant from its centre. b the line enclosing a circle. 2 a roundish enclosure or structure. 3 a ring. 4 a curved upper tier of seats in a theatre etc. (dress circle). 5 a… … Useful english dictionary
virtuous — adj. 1 possessing or showing moral rectitude. 2 chaste. Phrases and idioms: virtuous circle a beneficial recurring cycle of cause and effect (cf. vicious circle (see CIRCLE n. 11)). Derivatives: virtuously adv. virtuousness n. Etymology: ME f. OF … Useful english dictionary
circle, virtuous — A virtuous circle is a circular definition or argument whose circularity does not matter for the purpose at hand. For example, in the definition ‘ x is boring if and only if x seems boring to most people in standard conditions’, the term ‘boring’ … Philosophy dictionary
Hume: moral and political philosophy — Rosalind Hursthouse INTRODUCTION Hume’s moral and political philosophy, like his epistemology and meta physics, originally appeared in A Treatise of Human Nature, (henceforth [7.1]), Book III of which, ‘Of Morals’, was published in 1740. He… … History of philosophy