There exists a vast literature exploring the concept of business cycles. The four basic phases are Expansion, Boom, Recession, Depression, and the economy, or even specific industries, exists in one of those four phases at all times. In a much broader sense, I wonder about a Societal or Civilization Cycles, characterized by two phases, Fragmentation and Consolidation. Is society at any given point either self dividing into smaller functional units or seeing those smaller functional units merge into larger ones?
In some ways, this is a silly statement. Saying society is always either consolidating or fragmenting is sort of like saying the economy is always either growing or shrinking. It is reflexive. This dialectic isn’t entirely a meaningless cut of the world since consolidation and fragmentation are motivating factors rather than end results. The drive towards one or the other is something that defines an end state of societal components. Other dichotomous distinctions (like growing vs. shrinking) are often mere outputs. When an economy grows, you can’t draw the same conclusions about its future as you can when you know that it’s going to be consolidating. (E.g., growth in what direction?)