The Second Slump

The Second Slump

  • Paperback

Named by Choice as an 'Academic Book of the Year' for 1979, The Second Slump locates the 1970s recession in the context of the theory and history of capitalist crises. It argues that the slump, unlike the earlier one of 1929-32, is marked by a high level of organization by the working class in the developed capitalist countries, and that it is fundamentally a crisis of over-production, in which the oil price rises of 1973 played only a secondary role. Mandel analyses each of the major branches of industry, and includes separate discussions of the USA, Japan, the EEC, and the Third World. At the same time, he discusses the growth of inter-imperialist contradictions and the rise of protectionism, whilst attributing the slow upturn to the uneven spread of the recovery and the failure of productive investment to increase. Mandel describes the economic record of the Soviet Union and the East European countries in the same period, stressing their distinctness and resilience in a period of international capitalist crisis. He argues that there can be a major upturn in the capitalist countries only if the workers' movement is defeated, and concludes with a programme for a socialist alternative to present government policies. In a postscript specially written for the Verso edition of The Second Slump, Mandel extends his analysis to the partial recovery and new downturn of the last years of the seventies.


  • Forceful and aggressive... it is an effective analysis of the basic crisis which underlay the events since the OPEC oil price rises, and which has thrown postwar orthodoxies into disarray.

    Stuart HollandGuardian
  • Mandel builds his analysis from an astonishing breadth of information about the world economy... fundamentally challenges the conventional wisdom of mainstream United States economists.

  • Mandel is a fine Marxist scholar... persuasive, analytically penetrating and exceptionally well informed at every point. Here is a sophisticated and up-to-date account of the present world crisis, as concise as it is encyclopaedic.

    New Society