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An Introduction to Marxist Economic Theory by Ernest Mandel

An Introduction to Marxist Economic Theory by Ernest Mandel

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An Introduction to Marxist Economic Theory by Ernest Mandel
An Introduction to Marxist Economic Theory by Ernest Mandel

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Published by: Seeing Red Radio on Aug 21, 2009
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 An Introduction to
Marxist
 
ECONOMIC THEORY
Ernest Mandel
 
2
 
A
n
I
ntroductIon
 
to
M
ArxIst
E
conoMIc
t
hEory
c
ontEnts
I
ntroductIon
 
by Doug Lorimer ................................................................................3
I. t
hE
t
hEory
 
of
V
AluE
 
And
s
urplus
V
AluE
...................................................5
Social surplus product ........................................................................................
5
Commodities, use value and exchange value .....................................................
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. c
ApItAl
 
And
c
ApItAlIsM
................................................................................23
Capital in precapitalist society ..........................................................................
23
Origins of the capitalist mode of production ....................................................
24
Origins and denition 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 prot to decline
.............................................
37 
The fundamental contradiction in the capitalist systemand the periodic crises of overproduction.........................................................
41
III. n
Eo
-c
ApItAlIsM
.............................................................................................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 ination
................................................................
54
‘Economic planning’ .........................................................................................
55
The state guarantee of prot
.............................................................................
58
Copyright © Resistance Books 2002ISBN: 1876646306Published by: Resistance Books, 23 Abercrombie St, Chippendale NSW 2008, AustraliaPrinted by: El Faro Printing, 79 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia
 
I
ntroductIon
 By Doug Lorimer 
Ernest Mandel (1923-95) was the most inuential 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 thecontemporary data, to reconstitute the whole economic system of Karl Marx
100 years after the rst 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 thatit would soon be followed by an indeterminately “long wave” of much slower economic growth, and recurrent social and political crises in the developedcapitalist countries.
 Late Capitalism
also provided the rst comprehensive analysis of the new
features of global capitalism that emerged in the post-war period and that are stillwith us today — transnational corporations as the dominant form of capitalist business organisation, the enormous growth of the services sector, the crucial
role of state expenditure in propping up an economic system marked by nancial
instability, long-term stagnation punctuated by speculative booms, mindlessconsumerism and accelerating environmental destruction.
This pamphlet, which was rst published in French in 1964, provides a
concise exposition of the elementary princples of Marxist economic theory. In
the rst section, Mandel elucidates the basic categories of Marx’s economic
doctrine from the emergence of the social surplus product to the labour theory of value. In the second section, he explains the basic laws of motion of capitalism
and its inherent contradictions. In the nal second, he applies these to some of the
new features exhibited by the new stage of imperialist capitalism that emergedafter the second world war, which at the time he termed “neo-capitalism”.In his more mature work 
 Late Capitalism
, Mandel abandoned this term infavour of the designation “late capitalism”, explaining in the introduction to

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