Mandel, Ernest

Mandel, Ernest
   An influential Marxist economist, theorist and activist, Mandel was prominent in the Trotskyist Fourth International and wrote two major texts in the Marxist canon, Marxist Economic Theory (1962) and Late Capitalism (1975). Of Belgian origin, he grew up in Antwerp where he joined a Belgian affiliate of the Fourth International when just 17 years old. He was active in the anti-Nazi resistance during World War II for which he was arrested and sent to a prison camp in 1944. After the war he studied in Paris and Brussels, and he later earned a doctorate in political economy from the Free University of Berlin. Aloyal Trotskyist (he was a member of the Fourth International’s Central Committee from 1941 until his death), Mandel subscribed to the view that Vladimir Ilich Lenin and Leon Trotsky had helped to lay the foundations of a socialist state, but that Josef Stalin’s actions had turned the Soviet Union into a “degenerated workers’ state” and had created “deformed workers’ states” in the Eastern Bloc.
   Mandel’s greater contribution to Marxism lay in his economic theorizing, particularly his analysis of late capitalism. In Late Capitalism he applied Marx’s theory outlined in Capital to contemporary capitalism. Modern capitalism, while different in key respects from the capitalism of Marx’s time, for example, in the development of the dominance of multinational corporations and in the greater role of the state in the national and international economy, remained fundamentally the same in terms of its crisis-prone and contradictory nature.
   Capitalism is characterized by periodic crises of under-consumption when workers cannot afford to buy the goods they have produced and by an overall decline in the rate of profit, ultimately leading to capitalism’s collapse. Capitalism, according to Mandel, went through different stages of development—national competition, international competition/imperialism, and late capitalism—and these saw “long waves” of development in which the rate of profit rises and falls, and prosperity along with it. These waves might last 50 years between economic crises. The message in brief according to Mandel was that capitalism cannot be regulated or be used to create social justice, and that Marx’s basic analysis of capitalism was correct: it is crisis-prone and liable to collapse.

Historical dictionary of Marxism. . 2014.

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  • Mandel Ernest — Ernest Mandel Pour les articles homonymes, voir Mandel. Ernest Mandel (5 avril 1923, Francfort sur le Main 20 juillet 1995, Bruxelles), économiste, fut l un des dirigeants trotskistes les plus important de la seconde moitié du …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Mandel, Ernest — ▪ 1996       German Marxist economist, Trotskyist academician, and author of such works as Late Capitalism and Power and Money (b. April 5, 1923 d. July 20, 1995). * * * …   Universalium

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