The Downwave Revisited


I found an old copy of ‘Into the Upwave’ by Robert Beckman at home (loving the author pic).  It was published in 1988 but some of it is so relevant right now that they might as well save money on economists and read the first few chapters out loud on the Ten O’Clock News every night.

The gist of the first part of the book seems to be that everything is cyclical and looking at economic events over recent centuries it is possible to predict where we are in an economic long wave model. So ours would have several minor recessions over a 25-30 year ‘upwave’ period (1980/81 and 90/91 in the UK I’m guessing), followed by a period of sustained growth and then prices and/or inflation peak, leading to recession (now-ish).  This recession is longer and steeper than anything that took place during the ‘upwave’, lasting 8-10 years.

The only thing is, what if the timeframe is longer and our relatively recent minor recessions were really the cumulative downwave to the post war upwave and therefore we are seeing the beginning of a period of full on depression as per the right hand side of the graph?

Update 27/01/2012 – a kind friend has just sent me a copy of The Downwave (I only had Into The Upwave before):

The copy on the back cover is spookily familiar:

79 thoughts on “The Downwave Revisited

  1. The model of “boom and bust” makes sense from the point of view of twentieth-century history.

    There was HUGE destruction all over the world during the First World War, then frantic reconstruction during the 1920s which led to a massive and unsustainable boom. Also remember that millions of people died in that conflict, and their property and money was transferred to those who survived. When the post-war reconstruction was complete (which happened surprisingly quickly) the economic expansion came to an end and we had the “bust” of the great depression.

    This pattern repeated itself twenty years later with the second world war, with the destruction of the 1940s leading to a boom in the 1950s and 1960s and a bust in the 1970s.

    These two wars have established a pattern that repeats itself.

  2. I had the pleasure of knowing Bob Beckman, who died in December 2007. He was always quite prescient about the future, though his timimg was sometimes out – I think he would feel very vindicated about the current financial situation. He is sorely missed.

  3. i have had this book since the late 80s and also the downwave puplished 1983 also very relevant

  4. This is about the only place where I have found any comment on Bob. I was a subscriber to The Investors Chronicle (Bob’s original weekly newsletter) from 1984 and his Beckman Report from the late 90’s. I invested and gained tremendously from his “mutuals” in the 90’s.
    He had the most gifted of investment brains that I have ever read – his feel for the markets was enormous and his weeklies and books rich in knowledge and understanding. As Carlos says, he is really missed. Bob foresaw all of the recent market mayhem – he would have been a fount of real wisdom in these times.

  5. Bob Beckman totally got it wrong. Secondary depression (the really bad downwave)should have happened through the 1980’s and into the 90s according to Beckman. But the opposite happened and we got a big boom in the 80s, a mini recession at the end and then another big boom more or less until now. So his wave theory was up the pole. What I’m trying to find out now is what he made of his blunder. That said there is much of relevance in ‘The Downwave’ for the times we are entering because the things that Beckman predicted for back then are happening now. So the next thing to expect is deflation.

  6. I was just thinking about and Googled it and found you. I had on my shelf in the 80s when in Uni.Never forgot it.Timing was an issue…

    Wales UK

  7. I was fortunate to have met and been inspired by Bob Beckman in the early 80’s. His predictions have generally proved to be right, although many would question their timing. Interestingly the Kondratieff Curve, which shaped his ideas, has similarities with the Elliot Wave, which I learned about recently. The combination of the two convince me that we are in for a very long recession, and no mini booms over the next decade will make me think otherwise.

  8. In reply to Alan (no. 6), the reason for the boom was the appointment of Alan Greenspan as Fed chairman. He is the architect of the current banking crisis and the huge explosion of credit that Beckman could not have foreseen. He could also not have foreseen the complete manipulation of the financial markets by the Fed via the Plunge Protection Team and the major so called banks now being bailed out. To expect anyone to get perfect timing is unreasonable. Beckman proved himself with his own Investment Fund. I remember going to a seminar in Monte Carlo in 1987. The guest speakers alone were worth the cost because everything talked about has come about. It was also the first time I heard about the coming green issue and what it would turn into. Beckman taught me investment as no other has done. I will always be grateful for that.

  9. I remember receiving a news letter from Robert Beckman in the early sixties which was written in a hand-written scrawl and run off on a messy duplicator. It was quite racy and very disjointed and after several months of this I found it very irritating to read and stopped subscribing to it. The problem was his thinking was ahead of its time and not relevant to the age. To those of you who doubt, let me say his Svengali-like picture was on every issue. His treatment of the Long Wave economic cycle, which was quite brave at the time, has turned out to be more accurate than many of you give credit for, because after the Great Depression the recovery was badly distorted by the Second World War making the real start of recovery about 1948. It doesn’t take rocket science to add a 60 year period to 1948 to conclude that this is the bigee right now! What a pity Bob isn’t alive to see it. Have a Happy Depression, folks!

  10. I have also had Robert Beckman’s books since the 1980s (plus other similar ones like ‘The Great Reckoning – How to Survive the Coming Depression’ by James Dale and Lord William Rees-Mogg – published around 1990. There were earlier academic books on long waves during the early – mid-`980s but they were not about investments or for investors.
    Timing is crucial, but it is wrong to confuse forecasts and predictions. A forecast might generate action to counter the identified trend (e.g. the Fed and others pumping up debt during 1990s and 2000s plus the trillions federal govt borrowing and spending on Iraq etc.) would be expected to delay any major downturn (and possibly make it worse in the longer run).
    There are also arguably some links to other ‘wave type’ theories such as Robert Prechter and Elliot Waves (although they may disagree that there is a link) – who for years has been arguing that we are heading for deflation.

  11. I finished reading the Downwave as the stockmarket crashed in 1987. Beckman’s predicted UK property crash started in 1988 a little later than he forecast, but quite correct. Bob Beckman’s economic scenario’s are deadly accurate, however timing is the problem. Where are we right now on the longwave ?????? I have dusted off my copy of the longwave and started reading it again.

  12. I worked for Robert Beckman between 1988-89 at his office in Gloucester Place when he was working on both The Investors Bulletin and his books and I was sad to read of his demise He was a perfectionist in his field and though at times demanding he was kind and a pleasure to work for I am pleased to see that so many people appreciate his work and that his insight and predictions are recognised and that his books will be read by generations to come

  13. Hello,
    What a delight it is to read the comments of those who knew of Bob Beckman and his work. Bob certainly seemed to have the wisdom of the ages. I was also a subscriber to Investors Bulletin, attended his lectures and purchased many of his books.
    As for the timing of Bob’s forecasts he would say himself that ‘we look through the glass darkly’ and ‘never underestimate the stupidity of people in high places’.The longer the credit fuelled boom lasted the worse the BUST would be. Everything must now be paid back(bailed out) and with interest.
    I still have some audio recordings from his Beckman telephone hotline from the 1990s.
    It’s also sad that there is so little said about his work or at least a forum for those interested on the internet.

    What a shame it was that Bob never lived to see what happened with the economy through 2008- but of course he didn’t have to…..he KNEW already.
    RIP Bob and good luck everyone.

  14. I also worked for Bob, as his assistant editor at Investors Bulletin in 1985-87. He drove me out of my mind half the time, even as a fellow New Yorker, but his advice has stayed with me and still rings true today: Property values CAN go down, there is NOT always equity in bricks and mortar, and your house should be used as your HOME, not as an investment vehicle or a bank account. Don’t buy a house unless you intend to live in it for a long time.

    That place of his at the Barbican was something to see. Especially the roof garden. And I will NEVER forgive him for demanding that I drink two bottles of Cristal champagne at the 23rd birthday party he threw for me at the office in 1986–on press night, no less, when I had to proofread–which had me sick for days. Naturally he laughed his head off at me. Last drink I ever had, too. I still remember to this day how awful I felt, and vowed to never feel that way again. Over 22 years later, I have not touched a drop. I guess I should thank him for that.

    RIP, Bob.

  15. It was interesting to read Laurie’s comments regarding her 23rd birthday celebrations at Mr Beckmans Barbican apartment and her association with him.

    I worked for/with him for nearly two years and of course knew he had an apartment at the Barbican but never went there. When I worked at the Gloucester Road offices in London a lady called Elizabeth (Betty) was his proof reader and assistant editor, her husband Nick was his chauffeur/printer he used to pick Mr Beckman up daily from the Barbican apartment to escort him to work for 9.30am.

    Mr Beckman used to live for six months of the year in the south of France (for tax purposes) from where he used to fax his Investors Bulletin reports to me and I had to keep in contact with him, whilst he was there I met his wife Penny and Betty and I socialized with her on occasion.

    Mr Beckman always had a framed photograph on the wall of his white Lamborghini Contach which had been an insurance write-off after an accident in France and which he re-purchased from the insurance company and had re-built at great expense to himself as he always said it was a ‘pretty’ car!

    I worked for Mr Beckman as his receptionist/assistant. I arranged transport to/from premieres etc, on occasion obtained figures for FTSE, put warrants to Nikkei Dow from contacts at Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers in the City for the ‘Bulletin’, searched for BNP paribas back copies – which I may have filed! Shielded calls from Investors while liaiseing with his Investment assistant John Lawlee, I even arranged delivery of dry cleaning from ‘Jeeves’ and ordered his own particular brand of cigarettes from Selfridges!

    I can remember occasions when Mr Beckman reminisced of his times in New York/Greenwich Village – he had a penchant for Rolex watches and had a collection – he was also always immaculately dressed, something I invariably commented on -especially his choice of ties and eau de toilette! Where are John, Betty and Nick now?

    Anyway I may have been reduced to tears at times but it was a fascinating/interesting time I won’t forget and there are many people I know who took his advice. As Laurie said, RIP

    (The formatting seems to have gone wrong so I’ve added some paragraph breaks and punctuation to make Louisa’s comment easier to read and appreciate. Hope this is ok with you Louisa. gemma.)

  16. Hooray, At last I see some positive comments about Bob Beckman and his work. Unfortunately I never met him personally but followed his radio show on LBC and subscribed to The Investors Bulletin, the Beckman Report and occasionally exchanged correspondence. Although it was known that had been ill, I was stunned when a simple email arrived from John Lawley to say that he had died. That was the last I heard except for reading a rather negative Obituary in The Times and a couple of disparaging comments in blogs. It seems that Beckman had a great many detractors but never allowed himself to be swayed from his overall approach by those who criticised him. He could be savage about the intellectual achievements of the financial community which obviously won him no friends there. Philosophically it seems that most of his critics were unable to grasp the fruitlessness of specific predictions and timing, and conceptually simply could not grasp what he described as “a risk evaluated approach” to investment. Whilst the pace of gains to be made by following his investment strategies could seem glacial they were predictable, and, as recent events have unfolded the risks that he repeatedly warned of have indeed come to fruition. One of the last reports he sent out described the credit crunch as being a systemic crisis, this long before I saw or heard any other commentator even appreciating the magnitude of what was unfolding. Since then his repeated warning that self regulation was like “putting Dracula in charge of a blood bank” have become all to obvious. It saddens me to see so many investors out there that are prepared to hang their hat on the latest one hit wonder who happened to make a prediction that turned out to be correct. It takes little investigation to see that in the big scheme of things they simply don’t understand what’s going on. Beckman’s insight and wisdom lives on, in my mind at least, and I repeatedly find myself reminded of Beckmanisms in every day life some of which have already been quoted by others (“a house is a home, not an investment”, “the more things change the more they remain the same”, “markets are non linear dynamic systems”, “you cant save people from themselves”, “markets behaving like an elevator with a lunatic at the controls”, “markets spend 90% of the time deciding where to go, and 10% of the time going there” etc, etc. I’m sure there is scope for somebody from his ex-coterie to publish selected writings from his reports which were often of a general nature and as relevant today as they were then, but I doubt it would ever happen. RIP Bob.

  17. Louisa, did you have long, straight hair? Reddish? Very classy and proper? If so, I think you were hired right as I was leaving. At that time, I had gone to part-time. Did you replace a girl called Cheryl?

    Betty and Nick… they were an experience. Betty used to actually type the publication up on a typewriter, and Nick would print it right there in the basement. So Betty did the proofreading and editing after I left? Funny.

    Penny. Hmm. Apparently they met when she was working behind the cosmetics counter at Selfridges! We did not get along. All stemmed from an employee who just vanished in the middle of the day, and Penny was convinced I knew she was leaving but failed to tell Bob. Like I was in on some sort of plot. Made for some uncomfortable times, and I quit over it, but they talked me into returning. I honestly had no idea what the employee was up to, and a few years later, she phoned me at home and said “Laurie? It’s [her name]. Please don’t hang up…” because she had obviously heard what trouble she had caused me. She wanted to apologize.

    Oh, the memories.

  18. Wait, no… Joanne. The receptionist you would have replaced was called Joanne.

  19. Hi Laurie,no I dont know who I replaced,at the time I had dark longish hair and started as a ‘temp’staying till I was asked not to return after being off ill! I later found out from John Lawlee(Bob’s assistant)that something had been repeated by Penny(Mrs Beckman)from an evening Betty and I had spent out with her,but she hadn’t stated who had said it. As you may know Betty and Nick were married and she wouldn’t admit to having said anything-so I was the scapegoat-its funny that we both left because of Penny! The story about Bob meeting her at’Selfridges’sounds very familiar-in fact when I was working there the divorce(financial part)was being thrashed out and as Mr Beckman was a rich man it was taking a long time as you can imagine. YES Betty was the proof-reader and YES she did type the Bulletin up in the basement-often staying till very late especially when Mr Beckman was faxing pages in at various stages from the South of France and YES Nick did print the Bulletin up in the basement where a young Irish girl called Mary helped them. Did you know Alex Mr Beckman’s Scottish accountant?-He was always demanding to be paid more and trying to get Bob to sponsor his daughter-also Gerhard his German assistant?-He asked me to go and work for him when I left. Did you know about Bob’s work with sponsoring guide dogs for the blind-he was very proud of ‘The Beckman 1 and2’and had photographs of them. Anyway Laurie where are they all now? John, Betty ,Nick he was pretty old then! Hope to hear more from you-Happy days-Keep in touch Louisa

  20. I only vaguely remember Alex, but GERHARD!! I loved him! What a sweetheart he was. Had such a “lost puppy” aura about him.

    If you’re the girl I’m thinking of… who started as a temp (and still was when I left), it’s no wonder Penny ran you off too. She couldn’t stand women around him, especially if he liked them. And if you are that girl, he liked you. She always thought that we were all gold-diggers (no comment). Divorce was the best route. They were not a good match.

    I have no idea what became of them all. I moved back to the States in ’92. I have often wondered what Bob was up to, though, and did the occasional Google search when I thought about him. Of course this financial meltdown reminded me of him immediately, because so much of what he taught me has stuck with me all this time.

    I just realized we have turned this person’s blog into a personal gabfest! SORRY GEMMA (that is your name, right?) Please forgive us, but you opened long-closed floodgates. ;-)

  21. Hi Laurie Thanks for your reply(apologies to Gemma!) Gerhard left,after myself but I think it was either to work full-time on his own-or if he had had words with Bob-anyway as I say he asked me to come and work with him after I had left. Have you read the obituary for Mr Beckman was in ‘The Times’ December 2007 it was quite long and detailed and said he was succeeded by his wife Arlette-I wonder if that was the French lady I had spoken to-she did not speak English-I am half French so I conversed with her a couple of times. I dont remember seeing you. Did you ever hear rumours about Bob thinking of writing a book with Uri Geller! There was also a visit one day by one of the Richardson brothers-notorious at the time of the Kray twins rule in London-Nick ran into reception very excitedly and said to me”do you know who that was?” I had no idea-he seemed very nice “thats one of the Richardson gang,I wonder what Bob is seeing him for?” by that time Mr Richardson had been ushered into Bobs office and I never found out why!Anyway Laurie are you still in the States? More memories come to me all the time-I even have a reference from the Bulletin-I thibk Betty typed it Take care Louisa

  22. Hi everyone!
    I came across this page after Goggling Bob’s name.
    I have a lot of his stuff and subscribed to his reports for a number of years.

    Yes I think he would have found the current situation truly fascinating. “The emperor has no clothes!” After blowing a money bubble so massive by leaving US discount rates artificially low for so long [1995 – 2007/8],the inflated prices seemed to get into nearly every market AND peoples way of thinking…sheep for sheering.
    Major Government Bonds are THE place to be at present. Yet there is also a silver lining for those who want to do the work.
    Engineering at the atomic scale [Nano technology] and Molecular Science [bio Technology] are laying the foundation for an upwave of truly fantastic dimensions.
    The time is not right yet – lots of pain and bad debts to absorb and work off, but the time will come when real stand up business’s will create real wealth, not politically driven job preservation policies, pouring money into dead ducks.

    Thats my take on Bob’s way of thinking anyway. I really miss him.

    RIP Bob.


  23. I too, was an avid listener to Bob Beckman on LBC. I also have in my possession ‘The Downwave’ and ‘Into the Upwave’. You could say that they are my economic bibles as I refer to them quite frequently. As a result I was well placed to anticipate and avoid the effects of the current crisis by use of the graphs and information given in the books combined with his astute observations on the lemming like behavior of the financially unwashed. Thanks Bob.

    Yes, some of his projected scenarios are a bit off the mark likewise his timing of the trough of the Kondratieff long wave cycle. But then who, over 20years ago, could have anticipated the actions of Greenspan, Bernanke, The Federal Reserve and the other central banks not forgetting, of course, inept politicians. This, combined with fractional reserve lending, simply delayed the inevitable and made matters far worse than they might have been. We are now in the Kodratieff Winter with a vegeance.

    Bob Beckman was hated by the establishment for for his contrarian views
    particularly when it came to house prices.
    I well remember the somewhat heated debates on TV with building society spokesmen when
    he dared to suggest that house prices could fall substantially. Well guess what!

    Finally I can do no better than quote the last paragraph from the acknowledgements in ‘Into the Upwave’

    “And of course, I must acknowledge the contribution of governments the world over, without whose mindless meddling, rhetoric and propaganda, this book would not be mandatory reading for all.” Says it all really.

    David L.

  24. I agree with the general view – great message, lousy timing. Speaking as osmeone who followed the advice, repeatedly extended his put options and sold his chelsea house to start renting, I can genuinely say that Bob’s advice cost me a fortune. Yes, great message in the sense that Bob accurately and intoxicatingly described the economic cycle, but with respect to a dead man, shit timing is shit timing.

  25. Bob Beckman helped me preserve and make money, but most importantly he taught me how to think. He was constantly misquoted or misunderstood by those wanting him to think for them.

    RIP Bob.

  26. I’ve recently come across Mr Beckman’s writings in a book called Crashes (Grafton Books, 1988) and now Downwave. The readings seem logical and resonate strongly with me.

    Does anyone have a view on when the 5th Wave started? I am seeing the beginning in 1992 with the 2 minor recessions (tech wreck and GFC) with now the upwave continuing for the next 8-13 years. The move to left wing politics here in Australia also supports us being half way through the upwave.

    Would appreciate any thoughts and further references for research.

  27. Having read “into the Downwave” in Dec 08 I was certain that we were on our way down from the 1st peak (July 08), however, after looking at FTSE 100 data for last 50 years, I can now see that the 1st peak was in actual fact the dotcom bust in 1999/2000 and the 2nd being July 2008 with the 8 year period predicted by Mr Beckman fitting perfectly. The man was a genius. It seems that we are now on our way down to the bottom before a steady uplift with all the ups and downs last experienced in the 80’s. I have just started into the Upwave – a new journey of discovery! It is a shame there is no one else picking up where Mr Beckman left off.

  28. I was fascinated by Bob Beckman and owned The Downwave and Into the Upwave.

    He got a great deal of media coverage after the 1987 crash and I remember one interview where he talked about his boat and its incredibly expensive engines which had to be replaced after a few hours. His rented Barbican apartment was described as ‘London’s most expensive council flat’ due to the amount that he had spent on improvements!

    I can even remember him appearing as a seemingly bemused panellist on some sort of comedy quiz show on Channel 4 in 1990 which was presented by the late Geoffrey Perkins.

  29. Yes, I can remember seeing Bob appear on Channel 4 to. I believe the show was called ‘Don’t Quote Me’. Bob also used to say he was listed in the Guinness Book of Records for the most expensive hourly financial consultation fee.
    He briefly had a page or two on CH4 teletext called The Beckman File. I guess it was removed after Bob gave his long term projections for various stock markets. Nikkei 225 to fall 90% from its peak etc. Those predictions wouldn’t have made anyone popular 20 years ago but Bob Beckman was never really about being popular.
    ‘All we learn from history is that nobody really learns anything from history’ RCB RIP.

  30. Ive been following Bob since 1982 subscribing to his publications and reading his books. I had the good fortune to meet him on a couple of occasions. In 1983 a friend of mine hosted a lunch for estate agents at the house of commons and invited Bob and arranged for me to seat next to him. Bob delighted in telling me about his new super dooper Audio system and how he had taken £2000,000 out of the market.I have done quite well from his advice, in particular with some very long dated Sallie Mae (2022) $ Zero Coupon Bonds that i bought in 1985 at $5 each (worth now about $60 which i still hold.My main concern now is that the £ might go down the drain as we might lose our AAA status and our economy will struggle for many years. I feel that US and many other nations will recover sooner and stronger than ourselves. I would be inclined to be invested at least 20% in $US and securities around the world in fact diversify as much as is practical. I would appreciate any comments anyone has and would be delighted to exchange views. As one of your other bloggers said Bob has changed the way i think ! Thanks Bob for your wisdom RIP

  31. Reading the memories re. Bob Beckman, I think I should
    add my memories.
    I met him in about 1971 at his office off the Edgware Road
    when I was starting to get interested in stock charts.We
    got friendly and he invited me to his penthouse in the Edgware Rd.
    He told me of his U.S. colledge days where he played the
    trumpet and when he came to England he took up the flute.
    I think that he was at the early stages of his Bulletin and was
    going with his secretary.
    We used to go to a nightclub in Baker St. called the Barracuda
    and thats where he met my wife with unfortunate outcome.
    He invited her to leave me and offered me some financial
    plan !
    She refused and that was the end of my friendship with Bob.
    It was a shock to hear he died of cancer.So long Bob.

  32. I was interested in keith Fisher’s comment of 23-Dec-09.

    I too bought the Sallie Mae zero of 2022 in 1985 – though I think at one time it fell below $1 in price.

    Long zeroes are great if you can stand the volatility, and don’t need the money. Unlike coupon bonds of course they don’t suffer from re-investment rate risk…

    But Keith, where on earth do you get a price for them?

  33. Hi Mark, i have an account with UBS bank who hold my Zero’s and once a year i get a report on price. One of the main benefits i like is as far as i can ascertain (my accountant has had several conversations with the tax people) is that no tax has to be paid until they are sold, then you pay Capital Gains Tax. Also you can take out your original investment without tax and you can withdraw your CGT tax free allowance each year. My email is: Please feel free to contact me as i find it difficult to discuss these type of securities with anyone.

  34. Re: Barry Barnett 6/1/10 I remember the Barracuda club in Baker Street and can empathise as regards the situation with his wife-I lost my job at ‘The Investors Bulletin’ because of both Mr Beckmans wife Penny and the new ‘woman’ in his life Mr Beckman reminisced many times about his life in Greenwich Village before coming to the UK and there were rumours that he didnt return home due to owing so much tax in the US I too was extremely shocked to hear of his death-which is a tad ironic as I used to order his cigarettes from Selfridges-along with sorting his dry-cleaning out! There you go-an interesting period of my life-I even have a reference from his office! Mr Beckman liked women!

  35. I too was a follower of Bob Beckman during the 80s and 90s. He dispensed sound financial advice but ultimately got his timing wrong. A lot of his work (like Powertiming) was based on the Elliot Wave principle which has five upward phases, three steps up and two retracements. However, he did point out that the fifth step can have a breakout super wave (this analysis is more of an art than an exact science) and I think this is where his predictions for a big crash came a cropper. We should have had a downturn during the 1990s but fiscal stimulus avoided it and pushed the wave higher. I think that the crash that he forecast is now about to happen with a vengeance. To paraphrase Bob, although he was wrong about the timing of the crash, he was wrong for the right reasons.

  36. I was hugely impressed with Robert Beckman’s thinking and general analysis of how economic booms and busts happened. Yes the timing and phasing of the current phase seems wrong and we have yet to enter the depths of large scale deflation and depression. But, at least in the UK we seem to be teetering on the brink of this and 2011/12 looks bleak.

    If a down-cycle has been delayed then it raises some interesting questions about the reason for this, such as whether better economic modelling by central banks has made any difference, or the creation of the electronic marfket place through the 1990s?

    With a new monetarist government in the UK rolling out large scale cuts to the public sector economy (around 25% mostly kicking in April 2011), I suspect that we are heading into the downwave with a vengence, but I would be very much relieved if this were to be avoided.

  37. It has been fascinating to read the postings here.They bring back a lot of memories.I subscribed to Investors Bulletin just after the 1987 crash (when his ICI put options made 800% for subscribers who followed his advice) through to the change in ownership in the early nineties.He contributed regular articles to the new publication but it was obvious that within a few weeks he regretted selling it and I let my subscription lapse as a consequence. It was sad the way it petered out.
    After his 800% ICI profits he went on a disastrous run with his option recommendations which he then compounded with his bi weekly Investors Bulletin Traded Options survey which he boasted had the best maths behind it etc to help traders make money.That did not happen in the year I subscribed to it!
    Having said that, I have nothing but sincere respect for him.I was 17 when I first subscribed to the Bulletin. I believed I would be rich within a year and that it could not be that difficult.Was I wrong! He used to say markets are full of very smart people and if you want to stand a chance of being successful you should learn as much as you can to compete with them.My favourite quote of his was “Figures don’t lie, but liars sure as hell can figure!”
    What I do remember from the Bulletin was the way his mind worked on so many levels; from his view that Descartes would have been unbeatable in markets because he would never believe anything until he could prove it to his satisfaction through to his writings on the Bilderbergers and the elite agenda; “The Fifth Glasnost”and for me his masterpiece; the very brave “The Zionist Factor”. I still have that article which I read every now and then.Anyone who has read it will know what I mean. I had some money in The Beckman International Accumulator that earned me a very respectable profit in the 2 years I had it.He used to say fixed interest investments may be boring but over time they can make you a millionaire with a lot less risk.Very true.But still a tough lesson to learn and practice.I never had the pleasure to meet him but I can relate a story of a friend of mine who spoke to him for a few minutes.My friend called the Beckman Hotline for an up date and the call was answered by Mr Beckman personally saying that he wanted to get some feedback from customers regarding his service.My friend said “well you could start by getting out of bed earlier as I am fed up having to call more than once a day because you have not updated the hotline!” Beckman then laughed so much he could not talk and my friend was getting annoyed as he was paying to hear Beckman laugh on a premium rate number! Later, my friend said Beckman “seemed like a really nice bloke!” I suppose that is all that needs to be said.
    Does anyone remember the notorious incident of Norman Babat; the best salesman Beckman said he had ever met and who was a good friend? He went to work at Investors Bulletin and promptly got sacked for calling customers/subscribers like me ( twice in two minutes saying the same thing) for trying to sell them shares! “what a ding-dong” as Bob used to say.

    I learned of his passing a couple of years ago and what made me even sadder was that he died of cancer.He believed at the time I subscribed that if you could live for another 10 years you would live forever with all the biotech advances being made.
    I am sorry if this comment has been a ramble but it is something I have wanted to say for over 20 years.and finally I have found somewhere fitting to say it.
    I would like to shake your hand Mr Beckman and sincerely thank you for “teaching me how to fish”.

    God bless you.

  38. That was a fascinating post Henrique-if you have been reading you will know that I worked for Bob Beckman at his Gloucester Place office as HIS receptionist-his associate at the time was John Lawlee-Bob Beckman was a meticulous man but kind-very well dressed-loved nice fast cars-you were very lucky when you called that day that HE answered the phone as I was always told never to put anyone through to him when they called his office as he NEVER spoke to Investors personally Anyway nice to read your comments-sad you didnt get to meet him-sad he is no longer with us

  39. The first book I came across of Robert Beckman’s was a second hand copy of The Downwave. This introduced me to the Kondratev Wave, which I had hitherto never heard of. He also said that it was not a good idea to own a house. I remembered it was that guy on the television, who, during the early 1990s was saying we should sell the house, live on the huge interest rates and rent instead. I only saw him once, but he made a huge impression on me. I remember, when I saw him, turning to my wife and saying: “Now that guy knows what he’s talking about.” He described other things, which indicated that Robert Kiyosaki’s ideas about cashflow were already well known to him.
    Robert Beckman was a superb writer, and his descriptions of events like tulipomania, the Florida housing crisis of the mid-1920s and the hyperinflation or the Weimar Republic are classic.
    Into the Upwave was a remarkable book, which introduced me to the concept of the exponential function applied to finance, and bond investing, which I found more suited to my background and temperament than stocks.
    Perhaps it is sad that his Kontradatev wave did not quite work, because he had convinced himself that the Thatcherite 1980s was the big dip. Time tells us that we are sinking fast into it now.
    It was in a Beckman book that I read that the UK housing market runs in eighteen year cycles. When they were discussing the housing slump a few years back on the radio, I remember one of the pundits saying: “This hasn’t happened since….” He gave the year, and I did some mental arithmetic. Eighteen years exactly: the housing slump had arrived bang on time.
    I was sad to hear of his death.

  40. My father handed me a book called ‘The Downwave’ many years ago…fortunately i had no fixed view of the world and how things worked so with hindsight was quite well placed to read and learn….Power timing was my favourite by far…keeping it simple i think since 1987 we had the last leg/extension which peaked in late 2000,weve had the a wave and the b wave and the c wave has been underway for a small period of time…LOGIC IS THE ANCHOR ON THE SHIP OF MANKIND AS WE ABSORB THESE WAVES IN THIS VAST LIQUID UNIVERSE(my words)…Bob, i was a spec in your life but you were a giant in mine…

    Rest peacefully!

  41. It makes me smile to read some of the eulogies for Bob Beckman. not least because I read his books over 20years ago, and had my eyes opened shall we say.

    The core of what he is saying is that human life-cycles drive the markets, and women’s progeny cycles govern them most.

    The second world War meant that husbands and boyfriends were away for upto 6 or so years at a time, and came home and in late 45 or 46 depending on which frontier they were in, got busy with their wives… Of course this was all prior to Durex, the pill, and the coil…

    Women had sex, and then had babies.

    The baby boom of the 47-60 period was the result. When these children became young adults – flats, then starter homes and more upmarket housing boomed. Music evolved as they had their kids, in turn. BUT in the meantime all the birth control methods mentioned above were invented, meaning women got to choose when they had kids.

    The effect of which was to spread the cycles out over longer timeframes, and later in life as the feminist movement evolved.
    Also it takes 2 generations to forget the mistakes of our grandfathers. (i.e we make the same mistakes of our grandfathers but not of our fathers)

    The latest boom 2003-07 is the babies born during the late 70s/early 80’s who are now 30ish bought their starter homes and are now in DROVES walking round with bulges/babies of their own…

    Want to know what’s gonna do well in the stockmarket in the next few years? Baby-food manufacturers’, blender retailers, baby-grow suppliers, milk bottle suppliers, etc etc… then the government will need to spend a fortune on maternity units, pre-school education, primary schools, nursery nurse education etc etc etc…

    At least as the credit crunch debt-laden leveraged home-buying recedes into the background house-prices will fall further perhaps up until 2020. Then as the grand-children of the baby-boomers start having babies of their own then house-prices will take off again.

    16 or so years from now the punk generation will again be upon us and so it goes…

  42. 25th October,2011
    Does anyone know of a puplication covering Biotechnology/Nanotechnology-preferably written in an interesting
    easy to understand format as provided by Mr.Beckman.
    I knew Mr.Beckman over 20 years and held him in enormous respect and affection.
    I sorely miss him -especially now -for his wisdom.

  43. Mr Beckman was a really nice guy.When I knew him he stayed just off the Edgeware road W.2. I once drove him to Stansted airport and enjoyed a really great conversation about his work. He made a great deal of sense then and even said that he wasn’t well regarded by “the mainstream” ! The LBC tapes were recorded in W.2.,I know because several times he asked me to drop them off for him at Gough Sq. where LBC were in those days. R.I.P. Bob

  44. Sorry to read of Mr. Beckman’s demise – I have read “Into the Upwave” “Housequake” & “Powertiming” at the time and yes, they have massively influenced my thinking.

    I just discovered the thread by the power of Google – great insight provided by those who worked for/knew the man.

    The K-wave is now better understood, due in part to the power of computer modelling, so we must forgive RCB for being ‘wrong’; although there is no way he could have foreseen Helicopter Ben’s response to the 9/11 attacks, which created the final super-boom leg.

    As for the development of wave theory into the 60 & 120 year cycles, I’d recommend those interested read Clif Droke:

  45. I’m happy to learn more about Mr Beckman especialy about his car, I don’t know that he was owner of a white Lamborghini Countach, I know that he bought a Jalpa new that was destroy as I’m the last owner of this car, if someone know more about his passion for Lamborghini or have photo of him and the cars thanks to send to:

  46. Also found this through Googling Bob. Sorry to hear of his passing but am hoping to read The Downwave and Into The Upwave again soon. I remember him mentioning the shift of economic power from east to west and back every 500 years. With The Chinese and Indian powerhouse economies pretty much running the show now again it appears Bob knew what he was talking about…

  47. How very interesting reading everyones posts!
    Much like most of you,Was lucky enough to stumble on the downwave 20 years ago, and has never been far from me!
    Could /Would someone write such a book today??
    And as for timings, i dont think even Bob would have forseen, that politicians/institutions would be so stupid to try to artificially play with economics and its cycles,as many have said just delaying the inevitable and making it all the more painfull!!!

  48. Paul the older I get the less surprised I get at the ‘games people play.’ Most are motivated by selfishness and greed I think. Not trying to say I’m perfect either!!! One thing I would say, in under grad economics we often heard the phrase a ‘perfectly competitive market.’ Am I being far too cynical in thinking it’s an impossible dream? Particularly in the context of a global market? It appears the bigger fish swallow up the smaller ones more and more….
    I think we need to look at these things like surfers – we need to learn to read the waves and then how to ride the waves. I could also write on my little finger what I know about surfing (parked beside economics)! On a more serious note, I think rampant individualism/corporatism fosters an economic and literal Darwinism (only the wealthy/strong survive). I think community based initiatives (micro economies?) would be nice – some say that the world has gone village – global – back to village (thoughts anyone?) But I am not advocating the socialist/communist models we have seen to date!!!!

  49. Could`nt agree more Roarsbaby,particularly your”Perfectly competitve market” which Should naturally police a level playing field!Someone could invent a cure for Cancer tommorrow! But not if the big boys dont want him too!At best he would see a small percentage for his efforts.Proggresion i think not!

  50. I discovered The Downwave in the early 80s, and my own research confirmed long wave cycles back to the 16th Century. I based my investment plans on Bob Beckman’s predictions and enjoyed 20 years of profits from life savings I invested in the late 80s. Without Beckman I would have been swept along with the crowd in ’87, and the dotcom madness of the late 90s, and would have lost every penny I had. People thought I was nuts to invest the way I did, but I enjoyed a comfortable life that enabled me to fulfil ambitions to paint and travel. Thanks Bob, shame you’re not still around to point the way out of today’s mess.

  51. Looks to me like we are in the 3rd wave of the 1st wave of the C wave of the large correction…any thoughts on this?

  52. Hello, It’s a long story but back in the day I read one of the two books, (I think it is the second one) and I have been struggling to remember the name of the book so that I could then find the name of the author.
    I only remembered two things from the book: 1) When Austria established a Stock Exchange the person who wrote the book made more money than it exists in cash in the whole world. 2) In the book it states that in the history of mankind no nation that has been forcibly put together politically has lasted more than 150 years and by this “rule” Italy was going to fall apart before then. So, 150 years have passed and we are on the 151th and maybe this year the region of Veneto will split from Italy. One year late, better late than never. I am so glad I have found this page, now after all these years I can get to re read these books and read about the person who wrote them ;)

  53. Robert Beckman did get it right. There was a deep recession in the early 80s, then a period of false prosperity, then the second deep recession of the early nineties. Between 1979 and 1982, GDP dropped 4%, manufacturing output dropped 19%, competitiveness dropped 20%, unemployment rose to 13%, textile production dropped 35%, steel production fell 50% per annum for 3 years (Britain porduced less steel in 1982 than in 1950), car production dropped 25% (the lowest since 1957), commercial vehicle production dropped to a lower level than in 1950, inflation rose to 28% and prices increase by 50 percent during those 3 years.

    Despite the government’s claims, the sterling M3 money supply rose by 190% between 1979 ans 1987, consumer credit rose three times faster than incomes, comsumer debt increased from 7% of incomes in 1980 to 12% in 1986.

  54. Crashes, published in 1988. Is a less technical history of economic crashes from the 17th century Dutch Tulip crash to the mid-1980s. Even then he predicted the failure of Privatization.
    Anyone who thinks inflation is a good thing. Should read his chapter on Weimar Germany.
    No wonder they won’t bail out Europe.

  55. Just like to add my contribution to the many above. Through his two signature books, Robert Beckman taught me most of what I know about economics … which … thanks entirely to him, is considerably above average, and I dare say a lot more than many so-called professional economists. I am an engineer, and was in my early 30s when I discovered “The Downwave” via mail-order.

    I attended one of his London seminars (can’t remember exactly which year; it may have been 1988, or 1991). It was packed out. It was held in a hotel, not so far from the Royal Albert Hall. I had travelled all the way up from Worthing, West Sussex to attend.

    I have never owned sufficient money to put into practise his investment advice, but the insights he imparted did help me untangle myself entirely from property ownership in the U.K. I sold out in 1996 as the taxes and fees were making a mockery of the ideals of ownership.

    Property ownership in the UK is TOTALLY rigged. It is fraud constructed upon fraud and lies. I realize this sounds rather silly to say, but it is true nonetheless: only self-deluded fools partake in it. After all, I was once one of those fools. Indeed, nobody can legally own property in England. Ancient laws dictate that you do not own full title … that is held only by The Crown. What your deeds indicate is that you are only renting the land upon which your house stands.

    Quite literally, the English are Serfs … yet in ignorance they sing “Rule Britannia” (while screaming the line: “… never, never, never shall be slaves!”) like the arrogant fools they are. The English are so deceived, they don’t even know who or what “The Crown” actually is. And I am telling you … it isn’t the bogus one residing in Buckingham Palace: the same one who went against her Coronation Oath when she assented to the Maastricht Treaty. I believe that assent effectively translates into treason. Meanwhile, those of you who guessed “City of London” have at least a chance of seeing the proverbial light.

    What are you going to do about those criminals and hucksters; including those damned Rothschilds? Keep turning the other cheek?

    RIP … Bob Beckman. You were the first to give the public occultic economic information that had hitherto been the preserve of just a small and manipulative clique. Thank you again.

  56. Dum head
    I did read the down wave ,and the legion of Robert Beckman,s thinking is
    happing now ,the only mistake Robert made was timing.

  57. Robert Beckham – already at the time he wrote the book – observed the beginning of dispossession of the middle class at predicted that this process would contiously go on in future. Here he was absolutely right. – Main reason was that the investors/capitalists tried to reduce the wages in almost all branches of industrie. This process got a new step of quality after the growing globalisation beginning in the 1980s and is still going on. Several World Trade Agreements made the way free for this process. In this a further worldwide agreement is on its way which should make possible to put hand on common property and resources also in industrial (European) countries. Meanwhile also an optimist could become scared when thinking about the future.

  58. I have just discovered this thread.

    I’m glad there is an appreciation of the approach Bob took because he took some brutal flack in the media – I recall that Ivan Fallon of the “Sunday Times” seemed to have a vitriolic dislike of Bob which came across in his columns.

    Like a few of the previous respondents, I first read “The Downwave” in 1985 and without exaggeration, it transformed my conceptual thinking on how economies functioned ( I had already studied economics at A level a few years previously). From ’86 until the late 90s I was a subscriber to IB and later on the Beckman Report. In the meantime I read several of Bob’s books – ‘Upwave”, “Crashes” (which I particularly liked). I have a copy of “Housequake” which I have yet to read.

    On the basis of Bob’s reasoning I sold properties and from some of the proceeds, chortled with delight as the put warrants I bought on the Nikkei in 1989/90 went up by 500% in about 8 months. I also took some hits with the timing aspect , as has been pointed out, but I had a nice sense of smugness in “playing the downside” and getting some spectacular results with Bob’s contrarian advice.

    I met Bob on about 3 occasions, the last being after the annual seminar in May 1994. I was able to give Bob an academic publication by a friend of mine who had researched extensively into free radicals (actually this guy was one of the foremost authorities in the UK at that time on the subject) As Bob’s later subscribers will be aware, there was a lot of interest by Bob into “life extension” programmes and the biotechnology sector.

    Besides the economic aspects of Bob’s work, in many respects he was a true polymath. The information that poured out from his various publications on many subjects was more than illuminating. for example, the reading lists that appeared before the summer break and his features which included the stream of consciousness from “the right side of the brain”.

    Bob Beckman was an extraordinary man. RIP Bob.

  59. I have no idea why i came upon this page: I have spent too long reading it. But I did know Bob Beckman, back in the early 80s, when he and Penny lived in the Water Gardens on Edgeware Road, shortly before he moved to a new address. I sold him the super audio system which was mentioned earlier, and spent a considerable amount of time with Bob and Penny, going to restaurants and the like. When he went on a book lecture tour of the Channel islands, I house sat the penthouse at the Water Gardens, and looked after the Ferrari Mondiale that he owned at that time. He told me that he was in Europe because of the Vietnam War. He volunteered rather than waited for the draft, because, like a few other UK resident Americans I know, he believed, accurately as it turned out, that he was likely to be sent to Europe instead of Vietnam. He also declined a commission because of the extra time he would have had to spend in the forces (Army or Air Force, can’t remember). He recorded his LBC shows in that penthouse, with a blanket over his head to kill the acoustics. Crazy times.

    He was an immensely charming guy, who smoked far too much. Really, he chain-smoked, lighting the next with the butt of the previous, constantly. I remember having to repair a Nakamichi cassette deck that was literally coated internally with tar. Hearing of his death, although sad, is no surprise, Actually, that he lived till his 70s is the surprise.

    R.I.P Bob.

  60. INTERESTING comments..Doug Randall..I was ‘led’ to believe that Mr Beckman had to leave the US due to tax evasion..when I worked for him in the late 1980s!..He told ME that he was working on Wall Street prior to coming to England!…

  61. He was a great guy. We were best friends. I’m so sad he’s gone.
    John Percival

  62. He was much maligned, but gave very good advice to the financial “unwashed” on how to get rich slowly. I remember at a seminar somebody asked if he should invest in emerging markets. The soundbite was “Emerging markets? Submerging markets” but followed by a lot of sense on corruption, poor regulation, volatility etc. and an opinion that there were enough opportunities in developed markets. I too dug out “Into the Upwave” in 2008. I think his biggest mistake was being too specific on timing when as he said himself “markets can do anything, at any time.”

  63. I feel sad to know that Mr Robert C Beckman is no more.He is my Guru on in the investment field Salutations!! Prostrations at thy feet !!!

  64. I listened to Bob on LBC back in the 1980s and from one or two comments made on that show about some politicians having longer leashes than others and that a nobody like Hitler couldn’t have it to the top without the help of influential people in the background, I gathered that there was a lot more that he wanted to say about how the real world worked but couldn’t. I would be very interested if someone could email me a copy of his article the “The Zionist Factor” to stanley67b @ yahoo co uk

  65. I was fortunate to subscribe to the Investors Bulletin upon buying the Elliot Wave principal as applied to the London Stockmarket. The Investors Bulletin resonated a conceptual approach far from the normal I was hooked! The most important point I took away was that one was being educated to think for oneself. In the market one has to rely on one’s own abilities. His ability to continously feed his subscribers with new concepts was breathtaking having been a subscriber from 1978 to the date the Bulletin was taken over I can say that Bob acted like a guru and sage. There is no doubt as Bob said the 8th wonder of the world is compound growth! His definition of the SLY rule still resonates today. There is no way I would have become wealthy if not applying Bob’s conceptual approach or game rules. If anyone wants to contact me on back copies I had most of them bound into hard copy 6 monthly books. You will be sorely missed Bob, I hope there’s a place for you in heaven.

  66. Hi Gemma, Yes. I would love to get hold of any copies of Investors Bulletin from Bob. Do you by any chance have any copies of Becman Report. I liked the special features paricularly. I also became rich from reading Bob.

    Kind regards, Norman Goldstuck

  67. Hello Norman, I think your comment was directed to Ralph not me – I was never a subscriber, I wrote about reading the book and now seem to be inadvertently hosting the Robert Beckman Appreciation Society on my work blog! gemma.

  68. Hi Ralph,
    I would love to get any Investors Bulletins or Beckman reports anyone still has.

  69. Hi Norman its been frenetic thus not able to reply until now, by all means send me an email to
    I will be glad to help if I can.
    Kind Regards Ralph

    PS It’s kind of Gemma to host a Beckman appreciate site if unattended.

  70. It’s amazing to see how Mr Beckman’s work is continuing to be appreciated..I worked as his personal receptionist at his office at Gloucester Place in London in 1988-1989..He wa a harsh taskmaster, but an interesting one too..He spent half of the year in the South of France, due to tax reasons and used to send the ‘Investors Bulletin’ reports in by fax machine to me, to be printed in the basement-area offices..GREAT days, that I remember well…Louisa Holmes❤️

  71. From the back cover of The Downwave:
    “Whole countries go bankrupt. Banks large and small go bust. Companies crash, whole industries disappear and millions lose their jobs. House prices tumble, Building Societies shake, office blocks become unsaleable, land values slide and share prices slump.”

    Sounds familiar? It should – because it is all actually happening right now. At this moment the economies of the world’s richest countries are teetering on the brink and staring down into the abyss. Markets have crashed. Hugely. People all around the world are living in enforced idleness, locked down at home. Already millions have lost their jobs and millions more will do so soon.There is fear and panic, stress and worry, doom and gloom without end. Companies large and small are failing and facing annihilation, including giant global organisations that have been household names for generations.

    All because of the deadly Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic that has engulfed the whole world with frightening speed.

    Bob Beckman wrote The Downwave over 30 years ago and much has changed since then, but as I now re-read my own copy it is very apparent that there is still much in that great book that is relevant to what is happening now. The great man’s wisdom and insights can be of great help to people in the 2020’s, whether they are investors or not. It can help them to cope, by helping them to understand what is happening and by showing them how to survive the great depression that will soon be upon us in a world turned upside down.

  72. I have always been a great fan of Bob, I started listening to him on LBC from about 1982 then subscribing to Investors Bulletin. I had the good fortune to meet him a couple of times, quite a character & bit of a show off. He changed my whole way of thinking which I thank him for. Taking his philosophy, get rich slowly makes investing quite simple with bit of thought. I have never had a financial advisor, they make money for nothing & they don’t know much, just set formats. Unfortunately you do need them under certain circumstances. He is a very sad loss, he must be turning in his grave at what is going on. I would love to ask him from now on: Inflation or Deflation, hopefully they will cancel each other out. Inflation because of the mega money being created Or Deflation because of lack of demand & money in peoples pockets ? The other person who Bob had great respect is Warren Buffet, I devour anything Warren says or writes. One of the best things I invested with going on Bobs philosophy is Sallie Mae Zero coupon bonds backed by US government, I purchased in 1984 at $5 each, they mature in 2022 at $100. Always pleased to hear anecdotes. Best wishes Keith Fisher

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s