The focus of this book is the emerging economic confrontation between European and U.S. capitalism at the end of the “golden age” of capitalism in the late 1960s. Ernest Mandel here paints a remarkably clear, comprehensive, and detailed portrait of trends at that critical period. Mandel moves with ease from the most general international problems to the specifics of corporate activity, and few developments in the business and economic worlds seem to have escaped his attention.
In this book, Mandel discusses the development of Marx’s economic ideas from their beginnings to the completion of the Grundrisse. He combines a historical retrospective and a review of current discussions on each of the subjects and problems central to Marxist economic theory. He traces the development of the concept of “alienation” in Marx, and its fate in the hands of succeeding generations, down to the present discussion in East and West Europe, summarizes the fascinating debates over the “Asiatic mode of production,” and discusses labor theory of value, the problem of periodic crises, the theory of wages and the polarization of wealth and poverty, and the problem of progressive “disalienation” through the building of socialist society.