Economic Crisis, Long Waves and the Sustainability Transition: An African Perspective


Mark Swilling analyzes economic crises from both a global and a more regional (global south/South African) perspective, examining sociological and technological changes from the post-WWII era into the future green economy. He notes that “a growing body of popular and academic literature has turned to long-wave theory to contextualise the crisis and predict the system dynamics of possible future trajectories of transition. While long-wave theory certainly helps to overcome the problem of seeing the crisis as a surprising accident that will soon be rectified by rational economic policy interventions, it suffers from a tendency to focus on global logics that are presumed to apply to all regions thus ignoring the specificities of regional dynamics. Both angles are needed: a sense of longer-run historical trajectories and appreciation of regional specificities.”


Mark Swilling

Publication Date



Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions (vol. 6)



Resource Type

Academic Journal Article

Systems Addressed


Resource Theme

Sustainability and Transition

Uses the term polycrisis

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