THE existence of Long Waves or 40-50-year-long cycles in capitalist economies in addition to the usual 8-10-year-long business cycles was argued originally by the Russian econometrician, N. D. Kondratieff. It was seriously taken up and theorised about by Joseph Schumpeter and has always been in vogue in certain Leftist circles, from where it has been advanced recently as an explanation for the current world capitalist crisis. Some critics, on the other hand, have questioned the empirical evidence for the existence of Long Waves in history;
others, while conceding that fluctuations of this duration might be statistically discernible, have objected to their being called regular cycles since they have been associated so strongly with conjunctural factors like the coming of the railways etc; still others have objected to this theory on methodological grounds as introducing an element of optimistic determinism for capitalism whenever it is besieged by a protracted crisis Above all, in any case, no satisfactory theoretical explanation has been advanced as to why cycles of this particular duration should occur under capitalism.
So the "Kondratieffs" have caused much controversy. As the lead article of this issue we are happy to be able to publish a paper by Sukhamoy Chakravarty, the distinguished economist, that makes this controversy alive once again. The paper, which is on the current world capitalist crisis, surveys critically a number of theoretical explanations advanced for it, including the Long Wave theory. Of special interest here is Professor Chakravarty's discussion of the independent formulation of the Long Wave theory by Dutch Socialist theorists, notably van Gelderen. The sweep of his argument, including in particular his critical observation that Marxist economics has so far paid little attention to the rules that govern the growth of productive forces under monopoly capitalism, should stimulate discussion.
In the last issue we had published a theoretical article on Centre-State relations. We follow it up in this issue by a specific analysis of the movement for State autonomy in the Indian context by JavecdAlam. The movement, as he emphasises, is not a homogeneous one, but derives from divergent class roots. At a political level both centralisation as well as the response to it in terms of greater demand for autonomy have their origins, on the one hand, in the contradictions within the ruling classes and, on the other, in the