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Synthezing Secular, Demographic-Structural, Climate and Leadership Long Cycles: Moving Toward Explaining Domestic and World Politics in the Last Millennium


Among approaches to explaining global history, the secular cycles and leadership long cycle schools emphasize much different phenomena. The former stresses processes highlighting demographic pressures and the rise and fall of land powers. The latter focuses on trading states, maritime activities, and economic growth pulsations. While the two research programs seemingly possess little in common, appearances may be deceiving. By elucidating their overlapping emphasis on structured punctuations in demographic/dynastic cycles with significant changes in global political economy, it is possible to show how the two schools of thought are complementary. A more integrated approach, encompassing population, disease, war and economic growth dynamics, should enhance our understanding of changes in global history.

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