Verve Opinion

Cycles and Geometry

by Phillip Wong

Originally published 9/30/93

       In a time of powerful political and economic debate, we pulled up some of the arguments written in the 1990s concerning income inequality, a volatile and deregulated financial industry, and movement of jobs throughout American Society.    At Verve Fashion Magazine, an integral part of our purpose, is our focus on how America because of it’s wealth, and political, and economic culture, creates a standard which influences the rest of the world, either negatively or positively. Fashion tastes are defined in American music, film, fashion and beauty, but so are our political and economic tastes.

   The following essay was written in September of 1993.

The idea of a cyclical economy only works if adjustments, sometimes minor and sometimes major, are made during the cycle. All objects, whether physical or spiritual or intellectual can only spin in a cycle if it has either internal or external constraints to maintain the position of a cycle. For instance, the constraint of the cycle with which the earth makes around the sun, is gravity.


Our economy is not cyclical, unless something besides wishful thinking is applied to constraining it. Without direction or control, too many factors that effect the economy encourage the economy in a direction of geometric progression, rather than a gradually climbing cycle of economic growth.

If free market economists embrace the idea that an economy that is untethered and absolutely free will find its own waterline, they must also realize that the final controls will occur when too many have suffered. If a forest fire is left to burn, it will stop burning … after it has consumed everything it can consume.


Among   the factors that affect the economy are unemployment, which is not cyclical, but geometric. This is not a nation of migrant workers moving from season to season and from farm to farm in an eternal cycle. When the defense industry, the airline industry, to financial industry lay people off, these people are not going to find other defense industry jobs, or other airline industry jobs, or other financial industry jobs. There are no more jobs in these fields and unless they are retrained to work in another growth industry, they cannot work. The new industries will take young, cheap, malleable, college graduates to open up new territories, not experienced   technicians.



AIDs is not cyclical, but geometric. As more and more people contract HIV, it will put a greater and greater strain on the medical and health care industries. Yet the health care industries are already bloated with financial burdens. Each of the competing health care companies that are sold on the stock exchanges are concerned not with allocation of monies for research and development, but with showing the highest profit margins so that they can attract more “investors.” And the cost of medical care is growing geometrically … not in growth cycles.



Financial institutions are absolutely reliant on one another. There isn’t a single bank in the nation that is not entwined with savings and loan institutions, pension funds, stock, bond and real estate holdings, insurance companies. Yet so much of the deregulation of the financial community has encouraged those institutions to seek the highest profitablity, rather than the greater sustained and stable growth. The pursuit of short – term gain, when unchecked, is not cyclical, but geometric. As the savings and loan associations have tumbled, they have put great strain upon other savings and loan associations, other banks, other real estate companies, other insurance companies, and on a government which has implicitly vowed to insure them. If banks or insurance companies begin to fail, they do noes, and on a government which has implicitly vowed to insure them. If banks or insurance companies begin to fail, they do not faˇˇ

il cyclically, but geometrically. One takes down the next and the next and the next.



Our budget deficit, left on its own, is not not cyclical, but geometric. Interest rates, just by their nature, are not cyclical, but geometric. The debts are either retired geometrically, or they increase geometrically.



Our moral attitudes, which have nothing to do with our private lives, but much to do with our tolerance, our caring and our respect for our fellow man, is not cyclical, but left unchecked, is geometric. Our civil rights, our religious rights, our individual rights, our rights of choice and not to chose, are all geometric. Intolerance grows geometrically, just as tolerance grows geometrically.


Violence, unchecked, is not cyclical, but geometric. It only ends when all are dead or gone.