Have you ever heard of a person that goes by the name of Nikolai Kondratiev? If you are not into macro economic theories and global economics then you probably have never heard about him. You actually also don’t need to, but let us give you a quick overview of Kondratiev’s primary research interest.
In economics there is a phenomenon that has been described as the Kondratiev wave. Those are “long waves” that last for around sixty years and describe the future and past economical changes for capitalistic structures in a sinusidial way. Those superficial waves are the combined output of several decades of resarch and economic shifts in a certain economic market. In economics these waves are also predictable to a certain extent and have proven to be correct when looking into the past of recent decades. A rough chronolocial order of these types of market segments is
1800 – steam, cotton, engine
1850 – railway, steel
1900 – electrical, chemical, engineering
1950 – petrochemicals, automobiles
1990 – information, technology
As you can see these vast correlations do make sense and at least for the 1990s we can say that it’s absolutely correct. The biggest thing that happened to the world starting in the 90s has been the arrival of the personal computer and bits and bytes as our mode of work and life. It changed everything and it is still ongoing with the internet as the most recent addition to 1990’s Kondratiev wave transforming industries and lives.
Now there are a lot of smart people out there, from philosophers to economists, who are trying to understand the mechanisms of these long sinusoidal “K-waves” by looking at the data and extrapolating it for future industries. Many researchers and also Team MedCrunch are pretty sure that the industry, which will be next in this cycles is medicine. Medicine has been practiced the way it is now for hundreds of years. Elements that have transformed medicine are all part of former K-waves such as chemical and engineering in the 1950s or with information technology in the 1990s. Medicine itself has not transformed. It’s underlying principles remain untouched and whereas the surroundings we act in change, healthcare and medicine are pretty old-fashioned.
If medicine happens to be what information technology has been for the last decades – transformative, disruptive and powerful – then we, as physicians and medical thinkers, should be happy to live in these times. At the same time it should be an endavour and personal venture to actively shape this economic wave and truly bring medicine to a completely new level and significance for the world.
Original image courtesy of IENSES