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Mapping The Markets by Robin Griffiths, Deborah Owen

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1 Economic cycles

At the heart of analysing market trends is the business cycle. It has long been appreciated that economies do not grow in a steady, linear direction; instead there are periods of expansion and contraction which tend to occur at regular intervals. Even in Genesis, the first book of the Bible, there is reference to seven lean years and seven years of plenty.

In pre-industrial times the phenomenon of economic fluctuations was tied to the agricultural cycle with crop failure causing severe hardship in agrarian-based economies. But as society became more industrialised, these cycles still persisted. John Bates Clark, an American economist writing at the end of the 18th century, said of them: “The modern world regards business ...

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