Economic development and temporal vision

Economic development is a long run matter, then we have to define what we mean for long run, that is a different definition from that we can find elsewhere, in other fields of science.

Namely, we define:

  • Short run, the time span corresponding to the electoral cycle that, in democratic countries, varies from 3 to 7 years. We can assume a conventional value of 5 years.
  • Medium run is the average duration of human life or the three to four generation time span that is needed for a family to really change is social status and behaviour or to be assimilated in a country different from that of origin, namely a time span from 70 to 120 years.     We can assume a conventional value of 100 years.
  • Long run is related to the life cycle of a nation or of a civilisation, to the duration of an empire or of a national state: it is the historical time, the time span to be considered is quite difficult to determine, it has to be measured in centuries.

There is an analogy with the theory of economic cycle, that is also articulated into two levels, the short term whose first description is found in the Holy Bible (Gen 41, 2-7) and, in recent times, that has been studied by all major economists, and whose duration can be compared with the short run defined  above and, the longer term sometimes called super-cycle, first  described by the Soviet economist Kondrat’ev, whose duration can be compared with the medium run described above.


From the paper “Gianluca di Castri – An engineering approach to economic development” prepared for ICEC World Congress 2016 in Rio de Janeiro


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