Does Capitalist Production Have a Long Cycle? (pt 2)

The long semi-cycles of Ernest Mandel

We saw in earlier posts that most economic historians and economists, both bourgeois and Marxist, agree that the concrete history of the capitalist mode of production shows alternating periods of rapid expansion lasting for several decades followed by periods of much slower growth or semi-stagnation of varying lengths. There has been much dispute about whether these alternations represent cyclical forces operating from within the capitalist economy or are caused by changes of a non-cyclical nature in the “external” environment.

Among the Marxists, we saw that men as different as the U.S. socialist economist Paul Sweezy and Leon Trotsky agreed that the alternations between rapid growth and semi-stagnation are non-cyclical. If these alternations in long-term growth are non-cyclical, this would be in contrast to the the 10-year industrial cycle and the shorter, less-well-defined “Kitchin cycle,” where each stage in the cycle necessarily leads to the next stage.

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