Business Forecasting: The Principles and Practice of Forecasting Business and Stock-Market Trends with Especial Reference to Business Cycles

By Lewis H. Haney | Go to book overview

VI 1
Business Cycles

What is a business cycle? As one examines almost any business chart which shows graphically such business data as production, sales, prices, or interest rates, one is impressed with the fact of a wavelike movement. There are ups and downs, and, more than that, the ups and downs manifest a considerable regularity. This is merely a graphical expression of the fact that the history of business is a record of recurrent periods of normal activity, booms, and depressions.

Most of the time, business activity in the United States, at least, is found to be either rising from a relatively depressed condition toward a peak or falling from a relatively prosperous condition toward a bottom. This wavelike movement of business has given rise to the theory of the business cycle.

A "business cycle" is sometimes defined as a "series of changes in business conditions which are characterized by an upward movement toward a boom, followed by a downward movement into depression." Or we may say that a business cycle is a period of time during which there occurs a more or less regular sequence of expansion, boom, recession, and depression. In a very specialized sense business cycles are periodic expansions and contractions of business which involve characteristic phases of maladjustment and readjustment. Clearly, the idea of rhythm in the flow of business is involved.

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1
Some of the more useful recent general works on business cycles are as follows: A. B. Adams, Economics of Business Cycles, 1925; A. H. Hansen, Business Cycle Theory, 1927; W. C. Mitchell, Business Cycles: The Problem and its Selling, 1927, and also Business Cycles, University of California Press, 1913; A. C. Pigou, Industrial Fluctuations, 1927; E. Wagemann, Economic Rhythm, 1930. These books contain bibliographies, and Wagemann gives many references to foreign literature. Also see Books about Business Cycles, University of Illinois Bulletin 22, 1928.

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