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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the long run, we're all broke, February 13, 2009
This review is from: Late Capitalism (Verso Classics) (Paperback)
Not only does capitalism deplete natural resources essential to humanity, it even "borrows" on the next generations to increase the current consumption in order to prevent crises due to overproduction, following Keynes' recipe, invented when he thought that anyway, "in the long run, we're all dead". Therefore we are supposed to live "now", to take whatever we can lay hands on. We should leave nothing behind, for nobody. Ernest Mandel didn't agree with such a perverse logic. He knew that you cannot expand consumption beyond a certain point. He was only mistaken with the year in which this collapse was supposed to happen. He thought already in 1969 - when families in the US had taken up 22.8 % of their annual income in outstanding debts - that the expansion of credit had gone wild. However, capitalism is capable of producing the most awkward of tendencies. The private debts of families continued to rise and rise over the last forty years, passing 58.6 % of the annual income in 1973 and 83.9 % in 1994. Finally, in 2006, when the private debt surpassed already more than 100 % of the annual income of families, we got what Mandel had anticipated. Mortgages were no longer paid back. Banks went broke. People lost their houses. Big corporations are firing thousands of people worldwide. Recession is upon us and it seems it will stay here for a good while. Some compare this crisis with the crisis of 1929, but I don't agree, since at this time, we hadn't the same enormous burden of debt we have now. This crisis is like no other crisis experienced before. Lowering taxes as the US government now tries will not solve anything, since this extra money is used by the families to pay back the debts they have. No new economic activity is created. Confiscating the houses of broke people doesn't solve anything either, since nobody has money available to buy houses now, and those who still have some money left, won't buy houses since those prices are going downwards. In the meantime, the Fed is printing money... That recipe has also been tried, in Germany, in the 30's. In this case, a vicious cycle of hyperinflation was triggered. If this eventually should happen, everything will lose whatever residual value it had, we will all go broke, and we can all start from scratch again...

Maybe we could then implement some common sense. May I suggest a sustainable way of consumption and production ? Or do I ask too much ?
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A necessary stumbling block., November 22, 2008
This review is from: Late Capitalism (Verso Classics) (Paperback)
What Mandel tries to do in this work is something completely out of date by our postmodern standards: to write about the history of capitalism in terms of change in the general material basis of production, the patterns of class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the working classes over it, and their joint effects on the general profit rate. Having read his work in the early 1980s, I daresay much of it woood appear to us today as wooden, naive, or both; but neverthless it refreshes our memory to the fact that, behind our "mentalities" and "discourses", there is an actual ecpnomy moved by actual class interest. In short: a must-read.
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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent upate of Marxism, February 4, 2009
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H. Allan Pump (Centerville, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Late Capitalism (Paperback)
Late Capitalism is an scholarly update of Marxism for the late imperalist age of Cpitalism.
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Late Capitalism (Verso Classics)
Late Capitalism (Verso Classics) by Ernest Mandel (Paperback - April 17, 1999)
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