[Marxism] [UCE] Fwd: The Long Depression – an interview | Michael Roberts Blog

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Aug 2 05:41:23 MDT 2016

MK: In your new book you describe three depressions: that of the years 
1873-1897, 1929-39 and the present one.  Is there anything we can learn 
from this?

MR:  In my view, this is not a normal recession, but a depression. 
That’s different from the normal slumps. That does not happen very 
often. In the history of modern capitalism, of the 19th century until 
now, there have only been three major depressions. In a depression, 
recovery is so weak that economies do not return to the same growth 
rates or even the level of output that previously existed, except for a 
very long time.

There was a big slump in 1873 in Britain, Germany and the US, the major 
capitalist economies then. There was no real strong recovery after that. 
There were a series of slumps which went on for the next 20 years.  That 
was a depression: a low level of growth and a series of slumps. It took 
a really long time before sustained recovery was possible.

The second depression is called the Great Depression. This began with 
the collapse of the stock markets in the US in 1929, similar to the 
collapse of the housing market in the US in 2007. After the crash in 
1929 the US, the largest capitalist economy in the world, went into the 
most severe depression. There was prolonged mass unemployment, and there 
was no real recovery during the 1930s.  The only thing that turned it 
around was that the US entered the Second World War, alongside Britain, 
against the so-called Axis powers. Government production was increased, 
which led to the economic growth and recovery. So only war brought 
recovery in the 1930s. In my view, we are in a similar period. It’s 
going to take some drastic changes in order for capitalism to recover at 


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