These volumes contain key texts from the period 1860-1939 on Business Cycle Theory. It covers a long list of Anglo-Saxon writers, as well as the most important contributions from the French, German, Italian, Russian and Swedish debates. The older business cycle theories presented here richly elucidate the complex interaction between real, monetary and structural change factors in economic systems — the close association between historical and analytical methods providing a fertile source of inspiration for current researchers in the field.
In Volume I of this edition, a number of chapters from early classics are presented. After 1860, the idea of a regular business cycle, formulated by Clément Juglar, was increasingly recognised as a recurrent phenomenon. This edition begins with Juglar’s analysis of crises from a monetary standpoint and John Stuart Mill’s analysis of the role of an excessive credit expansion as a characteristic and fuel for speculation. Also included are two key chapters of Marx’s work: his growth model as it is specified in the extended schemes of reproduction and his comments on crisis theory. The final sections present key chapters by Jevons on his theory of sun-spots; Hobson and Mummery’s linking of depressions in trade with insufficient consumption and excessive thrift; Marshall on price fluctuations on as the prevailing endogenous characteristic of cyclical fluctuations and his belief in the existence of a ten year cycle; Mitchell’s analysis of the imbalance between costs and prices that develops over the cycle; Kitchin’s distinction between movements of economic variables composed of either major or trade cycles and minor cycles averaging 40 months; and Kuznets attempt to give a rationale to the secondary secular movements he discovered.