Nikolai Kondratiev

Nikolai Kondratiev
Nikolai Kondratiev
Николай Кондратьев.JPG
Born 4 March 1892(1892-03-04)
Died 17 September 1938(1938-09-17) (aged 46)
Nationality Russian
Institution Institute of Conjuncture
Field Macroeconomics
Alma mater University of St. Petersburg
Influences Mikhail Tugan-Baranovsky
Influenced Joseph Schumpeter
Ernest Mandel
François Simiand
Christopher Freeman
Immanuel Wallerstein
Eric Hobsbawm
Contributions Kondratiev waves

Nikolai Dmitriyevich Kondratiev (in some sources also referred as Kondratieff[citation needed]), Russian: Николай Дмитриевич Кондратьев (4 March 1892 - 17 September 1938), was a Russian economist, who was a proponent of the New Economic Policy (NEP) in the Soviet Union.

He proposed a theory that Western capitalist economies have long term (50 to 60 years) cycles of boom followed by depression. These business cycles are now called "Kondratiev waves".


Life and times

Nikolai Dimitrievich Kondratiev was born on 4 March 1892 in the province of Kostroma, north of Moscow, into a peasant family. He was tutored at the University of St. Petersburg before the revolution by Mikhail Tugan-Baranovsky. A member of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, his initial professional work was in the area of agricultural economics and statistics and the problem of food supplies. On 5 October 1917, at the age of 25, he was appointed Minister of Supply of the last Alexander Kerensky government, which lasted for only a few days.

After the revolution, he dedicated his attention to academic research. In 1919, he was appointed to a teaching post at the Agricultural Academy of Peter the Great, and in October 1920 he founded the Institute of Conjuncture, in Moscow. As its first director, he developed the institute, from just a couple of scientists, into a large and respected institution with 51 researchers by 1923.

In 1923, Kondratiev intervened in the debate about the "Scissors Crisis", following the general opinion of his colleagues. In 1923-5, he worked on a five-year plan for the development of Soviet agriculture. In 1924, after publishing his first book, presenting the first tentative version of his theory of major cycles, Kondratiev travelled to England, Germany, Canada and the United States, and visited several universities before returning to Russia.

A proponent of the Soviet New Economic Policy (NEP), Kondratiev favored the strategic option for the primacy of agriculture and the industrial production of consumer goods, over the development of heavy industry. Kondratiev's influence on economic policy lasted until 1925, declined in 1926 and ended by 1927. Around this time, the NEP was dissolved by a political shift in the leadership of the Communist Party.

Kondratiev was removed from the directorship of the Institute of Conjuncture in 1928 and arrested in July 1930, accused of being a member of a "Peasants Labour Party" (allegedly a non-existent party invented by the NKVD). Convicted as a "kulak-professor" and sentenced to 8 years in prison, Kondratiev served his sentence, from February 1932 onwards, at Suzdal, near Moscow. Although his health deteriorated under poor conditions, Kondratiev continued his research and decided to prepare five new books, as he mentioned in a letter to his wife. Some of these texts were indeed completed and were published.

His last letter was sent to his daughter, Elena Kondratieva, on 31 August 1938. Shortly afterwards, on 17 September during the Great Purge, he was subjected to a second trial, condemned to ten years without the right to correspond with the outside world. However, Kondratiev was executed by firing squad on the same day the sentence was issued. Kondratiev was 46 at the time of his execution. He was rehabilitated almost fifty years later, on 16 July 1987. His collected works were first translated into English by Stephen S. Wilson in 1998 (see Bibliography).

In 1992, to commemorate the centenary of his birth, the International N. D. Kondratiev Foundation was established.[1]

Major works

book, paper

  • 1922 -The World Economy and its Conjunctures During and After the War
  • 1923 -Some Controversial Questions Concerning the World Economy and Crisis (Answer to Our Critiques)
  • 1924 -On the Notion of Economic Statics, Dynamics and Fluctuations
  • 1925 -The Major Economic Cycles
  • 1926a -About the Question of the Major Cycles of the Conjuncture
  • 1926b -Problems of Forecasting
  • 1928a -The Major Cycles of the Conjuncture
  • 1928b -Dynamics of Industrial and Agricultural Prices (Contribution to the Theory of Relative Dynamics and Conjuncture)
  • 1934 -Main Problems of Economic Statics and Dynamics

See also


  1. ^ International N. D. Kondratiev Foundation

Further reading

  • Barnett, Vincent (2002). "Which Was the "Real" Kondratiev: 1925 or 1928?". Journal of the History of Economic Thought 24 (4): 475–478. doi:10.1080/1042771022000029904. 
  • V. L. Barnett, W. Samuels, N. Makashava, editors, Translated by Stephen S. Wilson Collected Works of Nikolai Kondratiev (London: Pickering and Catto, 1998) 1500 pp. ISBN 1-85196-260-3
  • V. L. Barnett, Kondratiev and the Dynamics of Economic Development: Long Cycles and Industrial Growth in Historical Context (London: Macmillan Publishing, 1998) 251 pp. ISBN 0-333-65550-8
  • Klein, Judy L. (1999). "The Rise of 'Non-October' Econometrics: Kondratiev and Slutsky at the Moscow Conjuncture Institute". History of Political Economics 31 (1): 137–168. doi:10.1215/00182702-31-1-137. 
  • Louca, Francisco (1999). "Nikolai Kondratiev and the Early Consensus and Dissensions about History and Statistics". History of Political Economics 31 (1): 169–206. doi:10.1215/00182702-31-1-169. 

External links

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