An Introduction to Marxist Economic Theory by Ernest Mandel

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  • Topic: Capitalism, Capitalist mode of production, Das Kapital
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An Introduction to

Marxist
ECONOMIC THEORY

Ernest Mandel

2

An IntroductIon to MArxIst EconoMIc thEory

contEnts
IntroductIon by Doug Lorimer ................................................................................ 3 I. thE thEory of VAluE And surplus VAluE ................................................... 5 Social surplus product ........................................................................................ 5 Commodities, use value and exchange value ..................................................... 7 The Marxist theory of alienation ........................................................................ 9 The law of value ............................................................................................... 10 Determination of the exchange value of commodities ..................................... 13 What is socially necessary labour? ................................................................... 16 The origin and nature of surplus value ............................................................. 18 The validity of the labour theory of value ........................................................ 20 II. cApItAl And cApItAlIsM ................................................................................ 23 Capital in precapitalist society.......................................................................... 23 Origins of the capitalist mode of production .................................................... 24 Origins and definition of the modern proletariat .............................................. 27 The fundamental mechanism of capitalist economy ........................................ 30 The growth in the organic composition of capital ............................................ 33 Competition leads to concentration and monopoly .......................................... 36 Tendency of the average rate of profit to decline ............................................. 37 The fundamental contradiction in the capitalist system

and the periodic crises of overproduction......................................................... 41 III. nEo-cApItAlIsM ............................................................................................. 43 The origins of neo-capitalism ........................................................................... 43 A permanent technological revolution.............................................................. 45 The importance of armament expenditures ...................................................... 48 How crises are ‘amortised’ in a recession......................................................... 50 The tendency to permanent inflation ................................................................ 54 ‘Economic planning’......................................................................................... 55 The state guarantee of profit ............................................................................. 58

Copyright © Resistance Books 2002
ISBN: 1876646306
Published by: Resistance Books, 23 Abercrombie St, Chippendale NSW 2008, Australia Printed by: El Faro Printing, 79 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia

IntroductIon
By Doug Lorimer
Ernest Mandel (1923-95) was the most influential exponent of Marxist economic theory in the Western world during the second half of the 20th century, and is best known for his masterful two-volume work Marxist Economic Theory (1962) and his brilliant Late Capitalism (1972).

In the former, he demonstrated that it was possible, on the basis of the contemporary data, to reconstitute the whole economic system of Karl Marx 100 years after the first publication of Marx’s Capital. In the latter work, Mandel provided an explanation of the causes of the 20-year “wave” of rapid growth of the world capitalist economy after World War II, which also demonstrated that it would soon be followed by an indeterminately “long wave” of much slower economic growth, and...
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