All entries for Sunday 11 May 2008

May 11, 2008

Kondratieff Long–Wave Economic Cycles and Aesthetic Movements

Kondratieff Long-Wave Economic Cycles and Aesthetic Movements

Kondratieff Long-Wave Economic Theory

The Kondratieff long-wave theory is originally a Marxist economic theory is based upon the idea that there are longer-term or deep economic cycles within the capitalist mode of production. These cycles occur  around every fifty years. What marks each cycle is that in the early period of the cycle there is a rapid expansion of some new industry which revives a previously stagnant cycle. As the cycle matures it becomes increasingly hard for companies to extract a good rate of profit from these now aging and highly competitive industries. As the cycle progresses new technologies become available. But before they are invested in or encouraged by changes in the regulatory regime the older system must have entered a deep crisis in which the rates of profit have dropped dramatically and in which investors are standing to one side as there is a loss of confidence in the old. Joseph Schumpeter wasn't a Marxist but he thought the theory was significantly important.  It helped contribute to his ideas of  "creative destruction" in which the old gets swept away and the new is ushered in.  Schumpeter was originally based in Austria and then held the chair of econimics in Bonn. With the rise of Nazism moved to Harvard and taught there from 1932-1950. 

It seems likely that as pressures build up towards the end of these long economic cycles the emergence of new technologies happens and at the same time there are underlying aesthetic shifts taking place. These shifts are likely to happen sometime before the turning point and the start of a new Kondratieff is reached.  Michael Hardt has an interesting take on the development of Kondratieff cycles in relation to media

What the Tables Show

The tables below show an initial mapping of post-Enlightenment modernity using social, political , economic,cultural (SPEC) modes of citizenship as an evaluative indicator and also mapping changes in the aesthetic dominant which periodises both ‘modernism’ and also ‘postmodernism’. As capitalism progresses the growth and role of cultural industries is changing moving towards a greater importance of the ‘symbolic’ aspects of the economy the mapping explores Frederic Jameson’s argument is that ‘Postmodernity’ is the the convergence of the economy of signs with the growth of capitalism itself.

Modernism to ‘Postmodernism’ & Modernity to ‘Postmodernity’, mapped against Kondratieff Long-Wave Cycles as identified by Agnew and Knox.

Table One 1790-1913


Turning Points

1790 -1825 /6

1826-1847/ 8

1848-1873 / 4


1893 -1913

Industrial revolution

Industrial Revolution downswing

Victorian boom

Victorian Depression

Imperial Boom

Leading Industries Agnew +Knox


Steam Engine


Steam engine

Railways,Coal,steel, steam motor, (electric telegraph develops )



Cultural Industries



Classical Symphonies,

Birth of Public museums,

Publishing (small),

Spa Resorts,

Ornamental Gardens,



As in previous Box +

Growth of art and design for industry. Railway tourism for the wealthier classes.

As in previous box +

Mass Travel and Tourism;

Seaside Resorts;

Growth of the public museum;

Growth of publishing, popular newspapers ; Impressionism;

Crystal Palace Great Exhibition;

Public libraries;


Photography + previous box


Late-Romantic movements

Paris Exhibition Growth of Department Stores.

New technologies developed in publishing and recording.

Early Cinema+ previous box

Primitivism and spread of modernist movements celebratory.

Growth of Graphic Posters.

Viennese Secession

Dance Halls.

Growth of sales of domestic reproductive technologies

Political Citizenship +

Political Structures

Landowning +


Public Sphere.

Herder develops cultural nationalism

GB 1832 Reform

Industrial Bougeois enter Parliament, shift away from landowners.

Growth of cultural nationalism. Revolutions of 1848.

Previous box +Beginnings of shift to white male emancipation end of slavery in USA.

Previous box+ Beginnings of first wave feminism & beginnings of social democracy.

Continuing struggle for women’s emancipation. Strong social democracy in Germany - sells out to imperialism.

1905 Russian Revolution.

Reforms amongst peasantry in Russia

Economic citizenship

Rights to trade established much earlier.

Basically a liberal model begins

Liberal model develops, Landowners lose economic controls.

Liberal Model develops.

Growth of intellectual property rights.

Liberal Model Market rights develops.

Bismark develops first social model.

Liberal model market rights. develops now linked to possibility of social citizenship

Social Citizenship

Highly repressive Poor Laws in GB.

Growth of Public Health and factory acts.

Bismark establishes social rights to buy social stability.

Bad health of recruits in Britain for Boer War leads to foundation of LSE and recognition for need of social reforms.



Not relevant for most people

Not relevant for most people

Educational reform

Growth of Public Cultural infrastructures.

Continuing Educational reform and growth of public infrastructures.

Continuing Educational reform and growth of public infrastructures.

Main aesthetic





Growth of German Enlightenment



Hints of early modernism ( Turner )

Late Romanticism

Early Modernist - eclectic themes on plurality of change.


Consolidating Modernist - Growing ‘mid-brow’

Mass Entertainment and ‘low-brow’ mass entertainment

Late romantic,


Bourgeois mainstream modern

‘ Radical’ modernism begins

Mass Entertainment grows especially cinema


Class Differentiated

Class Differentiated

Class Differentiated

and intellectual differentiation

Class and intellectual differentiation

Class and intellectual differentiation

Table Two: 1913-The Present


Turning Points

1913 -1940 / 45-

1945 - 1966

-1966 / 67-1989/90

( Shifts to ‘Postmodernity’ ? )

1990 - Onwards

Interwar depression

Postwar boom

Postwar Depression

Post-Soviet inspired boom

Leading Industries Agnew +Knox

Motor Vehicles,

petro-Chemicals, aerospace, telephony

Semiconductors Biotechnology

Cultural Industries

Growth of Hollywood

Countermodern - modernism


Dance Halls and Variety

Beginnings of Jazz. Record sales reach 100 million in USA 1921

+ Previous box

High Modernism Cannonised

Brutalist Architecture

Pop culture begins as emancipatory from previous atrophied cultural forms.

1950 onwards mass installed base of B+W TV and telephones. Mass record sales.

Fragmentation of popular culture.

Rapid growth of cultural industries and primary fusion of culture with the economic sphere.

Dehierarchisation within companies.

Colour TV mass installed base.

Videos + Home PCs.

Gardens + Interior design grow in domestic environment

Development of the World-wide web Convergence of technologies and ability to digitalise many media forms growth of forms. Rapid growth of economy of signs.

Political Citizenship +

Political Structures

Women’s emancipation reached in most industrial countries by the end of the period.

First largely unsuccessful attempts at social democratic governments in Europe also proportional representation but in immature democracies.

First post-capitalist country.

Pan-European political consensus around the need to develop social citizenship. Growth of social democracy in Europe + plus large communist parties in Italy and France. More post-capitalist countries.


Civil rights in USA.

Civil rights + anti-war West + E. Europe. Break up of post-war consensus.

Neo-liberal dominant in the west.

Collapse of SU.

Growth of identity politics.

Increasing disillusionment with liberal democratic forms . But liberal democracy becomes hegemonic in EU.

Growth of politics as a ‘postmodern’ spectacle

Continued growth of ‘soundbite’ politics and communications management ‘spin’.

Continuing growth of political disillusionment reflected in either loss of turnout or else an uneven growth of authoritarian populism and far right parties across much of western Europe.

Economic citizenship

First Planned economy.

New Deal precursor of post-war Keynsianism

Keynsian interventionism.

Growth of post-capitalist planned economies with strong central regulation.

Reversion to market led economies, neo-liberalism as dominant economic model deregulation.

Full neo-liberalism becomes muted, shift to social-liberal model, economic resposibility for self individualised.

Social Citizenship

Growth of social democracy and redistributinal discourse in industrial countries.

SU has established better formal conditions.

Post-war welfare states across Europe to counter the better situation for workers in SU.

Reduction of social citizenship in the West.

Collapse of SU leads to considerable hardship for many in the E. Europe.

Social Liberalism emphasises individual responsibility and new meritocratic discourse. New Managerialism instituted.



Continuing Educational reform and growth of public infrastructures. Launch of BBC

Continuing Educational reform and growth of public infrastructures.

UK keeps to hands off arts system.

BBC TV + Growth of ITV

Increasing concern within systems of representation to represent alternative histories and emergent and / or minority identities.

Growth of discourse about cultural citizenship, and at international level moves to inscribe cultural rights.

Main aesthetic


Bourgeois mainstream, grows including cinema.

Radical modernism largely excluded from cinema

Mass entertainment strongly linked to cinema

Radical modernism isolated as ‘high culture’.

Mainstream modern moves to TV and radio.

Mass entertainment moves to radio then TV growth of pop


/ Pirate Radio / Radio one as mainstream response. Growing number of TV channels. Satellite channels

Mainstream Po-mo, continuous commodification and subsumption.

Repression of class.


Class and intellectual differentiation

Music becoming generationally based rather than by social class

Growing youth market becoming more differentiated intellectually identity cultures

Cultural hybridity

Differentiated audiences remodelled as ‘lifestyle’ rather than by social class.

Age has become more important.

Forms of hybridisation

British Cinema and Society: Chronology 1939–1951

British Cinema and Society: Chronology 1939-1951

Return to british cinema hub page

Preface: This page is still under development. Many of the film links are the same as an earlier page British Cinema of the Second World War which will be restructured. The grid system providing links and reminders of the context of developments in British cinema and politics and society in general seems to be a more effective way to proceed. It has also been decided to develop the chronology linked to changes in national government rather than by decades as this will better reflect the changing contextual moods within the country. 


This is one of a projected series of chronologies which provide visitors with the opportunity to gain a panotpical overview of developments within British Cinema from the outbreak of the Second World War until the present day. A key aspect of the project is to allow visotors to quickly cross reference the social attitudes expressed in films and references to responses from the audiences of the time as well as responses from critics. As other entries are developed links will be made to articles on the films. It is always important to get a quick overview of the course of events in gneral to contextualise the film industry in general and indvidual films within this. The years chosen cover the period of World War Two through the Atlee led Labour landslide visctory and subsequent Government. The start of the welfare state as well as the years of post-war austerity in a country nearly bankrupted by the war. 1950 saw the return of a Labour government but it only had a very narrow majority and was soon to fall to a Conservative party about 18 months later who in turn had 13 years uninterrupted in power. 

Chronology of course is not history films do need a context in which to be able to be able to devlop a fuller understanding of them, as Robert Murphy has rightly commented:

With film aesthetics are never enough. Viewed in isolation 'In Which We Serve', 'Brief Encounter',even 'The Red Shoes' degenerate into kitsch. Films need a context, whether as the work of a particular director, the product of a studio or... as a part of a cycle of films emerging from a particular society over a particular period.  (Murphy, 1992 p 233)

Chronology 1939-1951

Major Historical Events
Major Film Industry Events
Main films Produced

March: Czechoslovakia invaded by Nazi Germany. Britain made an alliance with Poland. 

August: Russia and Germany sign non-agression pact.

September third. Britain declares war on Nazi Germany after Nazis invade Poland.

'Phoney War' in western Europe starts. At sea the Nazi pocketbattleship Graf Spee is defeated at the Battle of the River Plate.

September: The Great Evacuation 

After the outbreak of war only 6 films in production were completed. another 11 were made in the rest of the year.

Immediate governmental response to the outbreak of war was to close the cinemas. When mass bombing raids didn't materialise they were reopened.  

British Cinema of the Second World War


Hitchcock: Jamaica Inn

Korda: The Four Feathers

Korda: The Lion Has Wings

Let George Do It

Powell and Pressburger: The Spy in Black

Reed: The Stars Look Down

Woods: They Drive by Night


April Hitler invades Norway

May 1940. 'Phoney War' ends as Nazis attack Belgium and Holland on 10th. 

Churchill takes over as British Prime Minister after the Nazis successfully invade Norway.  

28th May: Belgium surrenders.

26th May - June 4th British and French troops evacuated at Dunkirk.

22nd June: France surrenders. 

30th June - September: Battle of Britain

September London Blitz begins. 

51 British films released. 24 were comedy / comedy-thrillers. 

2/3s of the releases were from 6 companies (Gainsborough / Ealing / British National / Warner Bros / Butchers /Pathé)

Hitchcock: Rebecca

The Stars Look Down (1939 Released January 1940) Carol Reed

Britain at Bay: (1940) Harry Watt (Often attrubuted to J. B. Priestley) [Documentary]

Night Train to Munich (1940) Carol Reed [Nazi Opression in Central Europe]

The Thief of Bagdad (1940) Ludwig Berger /Michael Powell /Tim Whelan [Alexander Korda producer]

The Proud Valley (1940) Penrose Tennyson [Ealing]

Pastor Hall (1940) Boulting Bros [Nazi oppression in Central Europe]

Freedom Radio (1940) Anthony Asquith[Two Cities]

Let George Do It (1940) Marcel Varnel

Pimpernel Smith (1940) Leslie Howard

Britain at Bay (1940) Harry Watt [GPO Film Unit / sponsor MOI documentary]

Tomorrow is Theirs (1940) James Carr [Ministry of Information documentary]

They Also Serve (1940) Ruby Grierson [Gender & Work documentary]

Westward Ho! (1940) Thorold Dickinson [Documentary]


June 22nd Nazis attack Soviet Union

December: Japanese Fleet attack America at Pearl Harbour

47 British films released. 31 from the 6 studios mentioned under the 1940 entry)

Most popular film of the year was 49th Parallel.

Target for Tonight (1941) Harry Watt. [documentary]

The 49th Parallel (1941) Powell & Pressburger

Words For Battle (1941) Humphrey Jennings

That Hamilton Woman (1941) Alexander Korda 

The Young Mr. Pitt (1941)  Carol Reed

Ferry Pilot (1941) Pat Jackson [Documentary]

Cottage to Let (1941) Anthony Asquith 

Ships With Wings (1941) Segei Nolbandov [Ealing]

Love on the Dole (1941) John Baxter

Eating Out With Tommy Trinder (1941) Desmond Dickinson

Jane Brown Changes her Job (1941) Harold Cooper  [Gender & Work]

Ordinary People (1941) Jack Lee & J.B. Holmes


May RAF organise the first 1,000 bomber raid attacking Köln

June 1942. US win the Battle of Midway

October British Army wins Battle of El Alamein

Mass murder of  Jews at Auschwitz begins 

Massacre at Lidice  

The Beveridge report published. This was the founding document of post-war social policy.  

45 British films released. The majority were about the war. 13 / 16 comedies has war thmes. Several others were 'heritage' films. Independent companies like Two Cities make an impact. 

Independent Producers established by Arthur J. Rank

Howard: First of the Few

Went the Day Well (1942) Alberto Cavalcanti [Ealing]

Listen to Britain (1942) Humphrey Jennings [Documentary]

One of Our Aircraft is Missing (1942) Powell and Pressburger 

In Which We Serve (1942) David Lean / Noël Coward [Two Cities]

The Foreman Went to France (1942) Charles Frend [Ealing]

The Goose Steps Out (1942) Will Hay, Basil Dearden [Ealing]

Thunder Rock (1942) Boulting Bros

The Next of Kin (1942) Thorold Dickinson [Ealing]

Night Shift (1942) Paul Rotha [Gender & Work, Documentary]

The Countrywomen (1942) John Page [Gender & the War Effort]

Men of Tomorrow (1942)  Alfred Travers


February German Army at Stalingrad surrender. First major Nazi defeat.

Italy surrenders to the Allies

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) Powell and Pressburger

The Silver Fleet (1943) Gordon Wellesley and Vernon Sewell [Produced by the Archers - Powell and Pressburger]

Fires Were Started (1943) Humphrey Jennings

The Silent Village (1943) Humphrey Jennings

The Bells Go Down (1943) Basil Dearden [Ealing]

The Demi-Paradise (1943) Anthony Asquith[Two Cities]

Millions Like Us (1943) Frank Launder, Sidney Gilliat [Gender & Work]

We Dive at Dawn (1943) Anthony Asquith 

Nine Men (1943) Harry Watt [Ealing]

San Demetrio London (1943) Charles Frend [Ealing]

The Man in Grey (1943) Leslie Arliss [The first "official" Gainsborough costume melodrama]

Journey Together  (1943) John Boulting [ RAF Film Unit in 1943 as a public information film]


D-Day invasion of Nazi occupied France

The 'Butler' Education Act

William Haley becomes director General of the BBC 

Rank takes over Two Cities production company

Batty: The Battle for Warsaw (UK / Poland)

Clayton: Naples is a Battlefield (Documentary)

A Canterbury Tale (1944) Powell and Pressburger

This Happy Breed (1944) David Lean [Two Cities]

Fanny by Gaslight (1944) Anthony Asquith [Gainsborough melodrama was made to cash in on the success of The  Man in Grey]

Love Story (1944) Leslie Arliss 

Henry V (1944) Laurence Olivier  [Two Cities]

Western Approaches (1944) Pat Jackson [Documentary Feature]

The Way Ahead (1944) Carol Reed [Two Cities]

The Eighty Days (1944) Humphrey Jennings 

Waterloo Road (1944) Sidney Gilliat

Two Thousand Women (1944) Frank Launder

The Halfway House (1944) Basil Dearden [Ealing]

Champagne Charlie (1944) Alberto Cavalcanti [Ealing / Musical]

Madonna of the Seven Moons (1944) Arthur Crabtree


May 7th: Germany surrenders.

July 5th: General election, Labour majority of 150 seats.  

August 24th: Japan surrenders after atomic bombs are dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  

Arliss: The Wicked Lady

Boulting: Journey Together

Crabtree: They Were Sisters

Lean: Brief Encounter

Powell & Pressburger: I Know Where I’m Going

The Way to the Stars (1945) Anthony Asquith [Last Wartime Feature Film: Two Cities]

Immediate Post-War films 

I Know where I'm Going (1945 December) Powell and Pressburger

Brief Encounter (1945) David Lean  

The Wicked Lady (1945) Leslie Arliss [Gainsborough  melodramas.]

They Were Sisters (1945) Arthur Crabtree [Gainsborough melodrama] 

The Seventh Veil  (1945) Compton Bennett

Homes for the People (1945) Kay Mander [Documentary]

Rationing in Britain (1945) Graham Cutts

Dead of Night (1945) Alberto Cavalcanti / Robert Hamer / Charles Crighton / Basil Dearden [Ealing] 


National Insurance Act

New Towns Act 1946 

Bank of England Nationalised

July 21st Bread Rationing introduced

Squatters settle in disused military bases 

39 films released

Jennings: A Defeated People

The Way We Live (1946) Jill Craigie [Postwar Planning - documentary: Two Cities]

The Way From Germany (1946) Terry Trench [Crown Film Unit - Documentary]

I See a Dark Stranger (1946) Frank Launder [Individual Pictures. Comedy Spy Thriller]

Piccadilly Incident (1946)  Herbert Wilcox  [This melodrama was the second most successful film of 1946 at the box office, after The Wicked Lady]

A Matter of Life and Death (1946) Powell & Pressburger ['Begun towards the end of the war as a propaganda exercise to encourage Anglo-American understanding']

Caravan (1946) Arthur Crabtree  [Gainsborough Melodrama]

The Magic Bow (1946) Bernard Knowles [Gainsborough, 'biopic': the end result is aimed far more at fans of Stewart Granger Gainsborough costume melodrama than to anyone seriously interested in Paganini's own work.]

Hue and Cry (1946) Charles Crighton [Ealing comedy]

Men of Two Worlds (1946) Thorold Dickinson [Two Cities]

Great Expectations (1946) David Lean [Cineguild Independent Producers. Literary Adaptation]


January-March. Extraordinary winter freeze combined with power cuts. Followed by serious floods in the thaw. 

April 1947: Raising of the School Leaving Age to 15.

Coal industry nationalised

August 1947: India receives its independence 

Government attempts to reduce imports lead to punitive taxes on Hollywood films

Hollywood boycotts UK market 

Rank restructures his interests to increase production 

Cavalcanti: They Made Me a Fugitive (Spiv)

Hamer: It always Rains on a Sunday (Melodrama / Social Real)

Black Narcissus (1947) Powell & Pressburger

Brighton Rock (1947)  John Boulting: Spiv

Fame is the Spur (1947) Roy Boulting  

Good-Time Girl (1947) David Macdonald [Gainsborough Melodrama]  

Jassy (1947) Bernard Knowles  [Gainsborough Melodrama]

The Odd Man Out (1947) Carol Reed [Two Cities]

Captain Boycott (1947) Frank Launder [ Individual Pictures. Biopic]

Holiday Camp (1947) Ken Annakin


February: Criminal Justice Act: abolishes hard labour / penal servitude / flogging

July 5th: Vesting day for the NHS. The new social security legislation also came into force.

21st July bread rationing ended 

Electricity industry nationalised 

24th June 1948 Blockade of Berlin. Berlin Airlift goes on until 1949.  

Lean: Oliver Twist

Children of the Ruins (1948) Jill Craigie [Documentary]

The Fallen Idol (1948) Carol Reed [ London Film Productions]

The Red Shoes (1948) Powell & Pressburger [One of Powell & Pressburger's best-loved films, 'The Red Shoe' , released in 1948, is perhaps the definitive ballet movie.]

The Winslow Boy (1948) Anthony Asquith [ London Film Productions, British Lion.  Based on real life story]

Daybreak (1948) Compton Bennett [ General Film Distributors. Brit Noir]

London Belongs to Me (1948) Sidney Gilliat [Individual Pictures. 'Never quite clear whether it's a suspense thriller, a psychological drama, a comedy or a slice of social realism.']


Sterling Crisis and devaluation of the Pound Sterling.

Gas industry nationalised 

NATO founded

96 films released

Harold Wilson President of the Board of Trade attempts national film policy

National Film Finance Corporation (NFFC) established 

The Third Man (1949) Carol Reed  [London Film Productions]

The Blue Lamp (1949) Basil Dearden

Boys in Brown (1949) Montgomery Tully

Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) Robert Hamer [Ealing Comedy]

Passport to Pimlico (1949) Henry Cornelius [Ealing Comedy]

Whisky Galore! (1949) Alexander Mackendrick [Ealing Comedy]

The Queen of Spades (1949) Thorold Dickinson [ABPC /World Screenplays. Pushkin short story]

The Spider and the Fly (1949) Robert Hamer [Mayflower Pictures Corporation. Thriller]

Diamond City (1949) David MacDonald [Gainsborough. Based on the Western but set in South Africa / Colonial Adventure?]


Feb 23rd 1950: General Election. Labour majority of 6 

Klaus Fuchs arrested as a spy

82 films released

Lee: The Wooden Horse

Deardon: The Blue Lamp (Social Problem Films)

Odette (Biopic / War)

The Happiest Days of Your Life (1950) Frank Launder

The Pool of London (1950) Basil Dearden [Ealing]

1951 Oct 25th 1951: General Election. Conservatives majority of 17. 

Boulting: High Treason (Anti-Communist)

Boulting: The Magic Box

Man in a White Suit (1951) Alexander Mackendrick [Ealing Comedy]

The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)  Charles Crighton  [Ealing  Comedy]

Hotel Sahara (1951) Ken Annakin [Comedy-Drama]

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