This paper examines the long-run fluctuations in growth and distribution through the prism of wage- and profit-led growth. It argues that the relation between distribution of income and growth changes over time and proposes an endogenous mechanism that leads to fluctuations between wage- and profit-led periods. The ephemeral character of distribution-led regimes needs to be taken into account when someone estimates empirically the effect of a change in distribution on utilization and growth. The model is a linear version of Goodwin's predator–prey model, but with a reversal of the roles for predator and prey; this is another way to conceptualize the symbiosis between the two classes within a capitalist economy. The aforementioned argument is also examined in relation to the double movement of Karl Polanyi and the inverse U-shaped curve proposed by Simon Kuznets.