Full text: Stagnation.

As far as modern experience is concerned stagnation 
is linked to the decade of the 1930s when accumulation 
in the U.S. practically ceased. The concept of stagnation 
as the inevitable fate of capitalism, however, is as old 
as classical economics, only its motivation has not always 
been the same. The source or inspiration of the idea may 
be traced to various lines of thought. They are, first, 
historical: It is known that a number of civilisations 
stagnated, decayed and perished. Some philosophers, 
among them Oswald Spengler ( 1923) believed in a general 
pattern of creative phase followed by decadence in all 
civilisations. The knowledge that, in the past, civilisations 
the speculation about 
have decayed must have had an influence on/uhe future 
of our society. The second source is biological: In 
analogy to the organic world societies are seen to age. 
Growth is followed by stagnation and finally decay. This 
underlies the term maturity (Hansen 1938) used for a 
society which has reached the end of its growth phase. 
There are two different interpretations of the process of 
aging. One refers to the gradual exhaustion of natural 
resources. This covers the ideas of the classics 
who anticipated a scarcity of land in relation to the 
growing population as well as the modern ideas about the 
limits of growth determined by the exhaustion of fossile 
resources of energy or of the healthy environment.

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