The Long Depression
Marxism and the Global Crisis of Capitalism
Setting out from an unapologetic Marxist perspective, The Long Depression argues that the global economy remains in the throes of a depression. Making the case that the profitability of capital is too low, and the debt built up before the Great Recession too high, leading radical economist Michael Roberts persuasively presents his case that this depression will persist until the profitability of capital is restored through yet another slump.
"This book is a tour de force analysis of the current global economic crisis and the preconditions and prospects for recovery in the years ahead. Based largely on empirical data and Marx’s theory of the falling rate of profit, Roberts argues that the world economy is in a long depression due to a falling rate of profit and a massive increase of debt. He argues further that a full recovery and a return to more prosperous conditions requires a prior even more severe depression, characterized by widespread bankruptcies, which would devalue capital and restore the rate of profit and would also wipe out much of the debt. He argues that a much better alternative would be to wipe out capitalism and construct a more democratic and egalitarian economy that is not vulnerable to recurring depressions."
—Fred Moseley, professor of economics, Mount Holyoke College
“With great clarity, Michael Roberts explains capitalism’s necessary proneness to profound economic crises and surveys the course of the current and previous depressions. Extensive use of empirical evidence, very accessibly presented, make his own main, Marxist argument and refutations of rival explanations persuasive. This book is at once an engaging read and a powerful political weapon.”
—Rick Kuhn, honorary associate professor at the Australian National University and winner of the 2007 Isaac Deutscher Memorial Prize
“Since the global economic crisis, Michael Roberts’s blog has become the indispensable source for those on the left seeking to understand and challenge capitalism. This book presents, with admirable clarity, the ideas drawn from Marxist political economy upon which his analysis rests. Anyone who wants to understand how we ended up here, where we are going, and what we should do about it must read The Long Depression.”
—Joseph Choonara, author of Unravelling Capitalism: A Guide to Marxist Political Economy
“Michael Roberts has established himself as one of the foremost bloggers and theoreticians of classical Marxism. Here he takes on the economic orthodoxy, both Keynesian and neoclassical, as to the causes of the Great Recession and of depressions in capitalism going back to the nineteenth century. [While] ‘the new normal’ and ‘secular stagnation’ have be[come] clichés rather than explanations for the slow growth in the world economy since the 2008 crash, Michael Roberts reaches deep into the history of capitalism to set out a Marxist explanation for recent developments.”
—Mick Brooks, author of Capitalist Crisis: Theory and Practice
“The Long Depression is an impressive review of the global economic crisis. Marshalling a wide range of evidence, Michael Roberts counters the facile explanations of establishment commentators and many ‘alternative’ economists, showing instead how the origins of this crisis, and other historical examples, have clear links to declining capitalist profitability. Covering a wide range of topics, from stagnant productivity growth and high unemployment to the prospects for the BRICS countries, robots, and climate change, this book will educate readers about the outlook for capitalism today.”
—Tony Norfield, author of The City: London and the Global Power of Finance
"...a comprehensive review of the world economy...Roberts is a respected blogger This year has been an annus mirabilis for Marxian political economy. It has to be said that some of the other writings do not make easy reading for the general reader. Roberts’ book is fairly accessible to the non-specialist. It’s your best bet."
—Mick Brooks, Labour Briefing
"This book is accessible and thoroughly convincing. It
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