The wise king Solomon said “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” (Ecc 3:1) If we look at nature it is just wonderful to see swallows returning at a certain time every year and fruit getting ripe in its appropriate season every year. In Gen 8:22 God promised that
While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.
In business we experience the same. A business owner recently told me that after some years in business it is still difficult for him to get used to the seasonality of his business. In the middle of the year and at the end of the year his cash flow almost comes to a halt; yet during the rest of the year he needs to plan his days to be able to get all the work done.
In the economy we also have such seasons, also known as economic cycles. Economic cycles can run over years where a growth phase is always followed by a decline or recession phase after some years. The better we can understand or read these ups and downs in the economic cycle, the better we can be prepared and even prosper from it.
Cycles in history
But there is also a bigger very long term cycle that we can almost call a cycle in history and it is necessary for us and especially for governments to understand this to be able best govern their countries during these very long term cycles. It is important to know where we are in such a cycle, meaning that
we need to understand the times that we live in.
A good indicator of a government’s understanding of these cycles in history, I believe, can be seen by their policies and the laws that they pass.
# Reformation and the printing press
In the year 1517 Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg not very long after Johannes Gutenberg first started printing the Bible on his Gutenberg press by 1452. The printing press spread within several decades to over two hundred cities in a dozen European countries.
By 1500, printing presses in operation throughout Western Europe had already produced more than twenty million volumes. These two events had a huge influence on world history during the 16th century and beyond.
The next big milestone was the industrial revolution which started in the late 18th century (±1780) and progressed with leaps and bounds until the late 20th century. An interesting phenomenon of the industrial revolution was that people moved from small one man businesses in rural areas to big businesses in cities.
Besides the socio-economic affect it had on people’s lives, it also lead to big organisations with bureaucratic management structures.
It was a centralising force
where all the power was centralised with a few high ranking directors and managers. In politics the centralisation of power also came to the fore in many countries.
Now in the 21st century, since about 1990, we live in the time of the information revolution where computers and the instant availability of almost any required information, is just a click away.
But this great move in world history is a decentralising force. It has the opposite effect as the Industrial revolution.
At present the internet and computer systems enable people to move away from big businesses and once again work for themselves in a variety of ways from their homes. In a time like this centralisation is counterproductive, because the natural process is that people are empowered to work for themselves.
Therefore we see that freelance workers have greatly increased over the last couple of years and large bureaucratic organisations like banks and other financial institutions lay off workers in large numbers. Actually government should follow suit.
Unfortunately our government works counterproductive by trying to centralise and even nationalise certain institutions. That is why I believe a government’s understanding of these cycles in history, can be seen by their policies and the laws that they pass. A counterproductive ideology will not lead to growth.
To understand how you can best fit in to the time we are living in, a Career Direct Assessment will help you understand and point you in the right direction.