Foreseeing 18 year cycles: Turn the wheel ~ cultural boom and bust

Posted on 22 January 2012
By Andy Johnson
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As we move into the year of the Dragon, Purple Revolver will continue to study the 18 year economic cycles and their impact on culture. Here is the introduction article from our 1993 Future Throwback Über zine…

The year 1993 popped up everywhere throughout last year. We believe the economy and how it moves in cycles directly influences trends and movements in fashion, music and culture at large.

Once a theory is expounded, it breathes life and there is no escape. More mentions in dispatches will be spotted for the year, which has a hand in shaping our destiny at this moment in time.

The 18 year business cycle is based upon the Homer Hoyt economic model. He’s the man who invented the idea of the property market crash with a 1933 doctorate researched in Chicago.

Paraphrased it follows that house prices can’t rise indefinitely – at some point they become unaffordable in relation to the average man’s salary in the face of wild property speculation.

Hoyt examined data from 300 years of British economic history and found the 18-year cycle is present across the globe, irrespective of the distinctive characteristics of each economy – whether the country is resource rich (USA), resource poor (Japan), or the population is high density (UK) or low density (Australia).

It’s just a little bit of history repeating itself. Property experts and money minds have been using this study to stay ahead of market crashes, picking the time to diversify their portfolio and avoid being snared by the slump.

To see the cultural impact at work in the cycle today we travelled back to 1993 for the Future Throwback Über zine and recall tough times for creative peeps. The economy was truly buggered, budgets for the arts had been slashed and pirating music was a problem (home taping is killing music), sounds familiar.

Economic boom and bust, the slump and the need to create something new. A DIY ethic is paramount, the word funding is outlawed, so extra creativity rises to the top.

This zine explores highlights and voices from 1993, the movies, movements in music and fashion. In a snapshot from the street, the influence of the US is in full swing – before the tide shifts again towards the end of next year and the UK begins to dominate the US culturally and we look to our own laurels.

New York and LA’s influence was living large in the early 90s. Anyone taking a stroll through the bohemian enclave of Stokes Croft, Bristol which should be renamed ‘Little Brookyln,’ will be met by many tattooed hipsters and coffee joints and could join a Tesco riot or two.

And in Liverpool, the northern capital of the former British Empire, the sun never sets on strange fashion entities – but one too many Kurt Cobain doppelgangers have been spotted walking the streets and a bizarre hybrid of 90s hip hop head, skater threads and ravers is taking hold.

The real money is on spotting the cycles swirling in from 1975. Earlier this year as the 90s began its resurgence, we were invaded by a 70s throwback. A revival of colour blocking, featuring bohemian oranges and turquoise, in turn a cycle that inspired 90s fashion.

Keen observers will notice that our cultural cycle is due to roll into 1994. This is just an introduction to an idea and Purple Revolver intend to journey deeper during a three year study, hoping our minds don’t implode from turning the wheel or Tupac’s illuminati killers don’t snatch us during the evil, black darkness of the night.

To get obsessive we could examine the clock we all live our daily life by and travel back to the days of around 3500–3200 BC to the days of the Sumerian Babylonian astronomers.

The Sumerians first used the idea of 18 year cycles to predict lunar eclipses and invented the modern practice of dividing a day into a 360 degrees circle, of 60 minutes each.

Also the First Dialectic Law states that the world develops as if it were climbing a spiral staircase and so we are pre-programmed to reach back into the past and apply it to something new and move upward.

Somebody call the men in white coats. I don’t like this anymore and I wish that someone would just come and take me away…

This article excerpt is the opening piece from the 1993 Future Throwback Über zine – out now in all good indie retailers across Liverpool.