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[True 1950]: On the serious errors in books on the theory…

[Правда 1950]: О серьезных ошибках в книгах по теории...

The article of the newspaper “Pravda” №272 for 1950 provides a critical analysis of the book by L. A. Mendelson, “Economic crises and cycles of the XIX century”. In the article the author accused of serious mistakes and distortions of the Marxist-Leninist theory, lebedinyi before bourgeois authors, etc., the Reader might think: it happens to everyone, especially in the Stalin era, when the observance of the ideology followed strictly, and will be simultaneously right and wrong.

[Правда 1950]: О серьезных ошибках в книгах по теории...

First, the book was written not “green” the graduate of economic faculty, and by the time doctor of economic Sciences, head of sector of Institute of economy of Sciences of the USSR Lev Abramovich Mendelsohn. Second, the scientific work of such a person in such a position did not hesitate to criticize the “Truth”. Thirdly, the criticism was not in vain and Mendelssohn with responsible positions in the Institute of Economics was removed, but not sent to the notorious GULAG, and Professor of political economy ihei. Fourth, after the death of Stalin in 1957, Mendelssohn was again in demand and in 1957 became head of sector of common problems of imperialism (which was lame), Institute of world economy and international relations USSR Academy of Sciences – the most authoritative scientific institution of the country.

So suddenly intervened in the fate of the Lenin prize (1935), Ph. D., Mendelson’s article of the newspaper “Pravda”, maybe it’s a coincidence? To check this fact could have been the fate of the second criticised Professor P. K. Figurnov, a member of the Institute of Economics, USSR Academy of Sciences. However, accurate data on need years edition could not be traced, but after Stalin’s death in 1954, Figurnov worked in the Academy of social Sciences under the CPSU Central Committee higher party school of the USSR.

I wonder what he was doing in leading scientific institutions of the country, the Professor, limping on one leg in the theory of Marxism-Leninism? Or is it unfounded criticism of those honored comrades in the “Truth”? The answer to the last question, the reader will find in the following article.

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In the writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin was given the brilliant development of the theory and history of economic crises of overproduction, periodically stunning the capitalist system of economy. As an integral part of Marxist-Leninist doctrine, theory and history of crises deeply reveal the historical doom of the capitalist mode of production, prove conclusively that it is impossible to eliminate the crises, without destroying capitalism.

At the present stage of aggravation of the General crisis of capitalism the task of lighting the Marxist-Leninist theory and the history of economic crises is particularly relevant. It is important on the basis of Marxist-Leninist analysis of concrete historical material correctly to show the causes of crises, forms of their manifestation, the maturing and deployment of crises in individual countries, their role and the devastating effects: show in this context, the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat for the liquidation of the capitalist basis, and create a new, socialist basis. The work of Soviet economists devoted to the study of the capitalist economy, the analysis of crises should be fighting, offensive in nature, to serve the cause of revolutionary struggle of the proletariat, to the cause of democracy and socialism.

Unfortunately, we still have a few leaves of books devoted to the analysis of economic crises. Some of appeared in recent works on the theory and history of crises contain serious errors that distort a number of important provisions of the Marxist-Leninist theory of capitalist reproduction and economic

Such work is the book by Professor L. A. Mendelssohn, “Economic crises and cycles of the XIX century,” published in 1949.

Comrade Stalin teaches that “the basis of economic crises of overproduction, its cause lies in the system of capitalist economy. The heart of the crisis lies in the contradiction between the social character of production and the capitalist form of appropriation of the production. Expression of this basic contradiction of capitalism is the contradiction between the colossal growth of the productive capacity of capitalism is designed to make maximum capitalist profit, and the relative reduction in effective demand of the vast masses of workers, the standard of which the capitalists always try to keep within the very minimum“.

It is impossible to give a truly scientific coverage of the history of crises, without revealing the development of the basic contradictions of capitalism. However, the analysis of the exacerbation of the contradictions of capitalism in the course of cyclical development of capitalist production was not Central in the book by L. Mendelssohn. The author speaks in General about the causes of the crises refers to the Marxist-Leninist position that the renewal of fixed capital is the material basis of crises, but not their cause. But the analysis of the specific crises he did not disclose the basis of crises, focusing on the material basis of their periodicity. With this approach, L. Mendelssohn, of course, not be able to properly illuminate the history of crises and in fact gave the objectivist description of the motion of capital in its real form.

For example, in the Chapter on the crisis of 1890, he details the massive construction of railroads, the growth of technology, expansion of fixed capital in industry, etc. and the maturing of the crisis sees as the result of a massive expansion of fixed capital and speculation (pp. 633-635). Similarly describing other crises, the author confuses the question of the cause of crises because of their frequency, separates crises from the basic contradictions of capitalism.

Instead of sequential specific display of aggravation of the basic contradictions of capitalism, contradictions between the social character of production and private capitalist appropriation, and the ensuing contradictions between labor and capital, between the desire for unlimited growth of production and the limited consumption of the masses, etc. — L. Mendelsohn extensively describes the lifting phase, but did not disclose this in the actual spring lift — pursuit of the capitalists for profits. Slipping on a technical-economic description of the growth of capitalism, the author inspires the reader about the notion that capitalism is always characterized by a progressive role.

Most clearly the “concept” of the author manifested in the characterization of the role of monopolies. Leninism teaches that the rule of monopolies brings to the extreme the decay and parasitism of capitalism that monopolies are the fetters of the productive forces, hinder their development and use their economic and political power to an unprecedented oppression of the masses. Characterizing capitalism in its imperialist stage, Lenin indicates that capitalism is “ripe and overripe. He outlived. He became a reactionary delay human development.”

The Leninist-Stalinist teachings on imperialism gives a deeper understanding of the nature and character of economic crises in the era of monopoly capitalism. It is absolutely impossible to properly cover the economic crisis period of the emergence and the development of capitalism (1870s — 1900s). not following this doctrine.

Mendelssohn in his book on the history of crises including the crisis of 1900-1903, ignores the Leninist-Stalinist teachings on imperialism. Under the guise of a reference to the fact that his work deals with the crises of the nineteenth century, he States: “the Crises of imperialism in this book are not considered, so there is no way to stop and the Leninist-Stalinist analysis” (p. 11 ). It is not surprising, therefore, that the author in a false light shows the role of monopolies in the development of the productive forces.

From the fact that monopolies have enormous economic power, it makes the bourgeois-apologetic conclusion, arguing that monopolies are not the only trend to stagnation and decay, but also the inherent “potential for accelerating progress of the productive forces” (p. 717). He thus ascribes increased the potential of the productive forces to further develop their rotting shell — monopolies.

L. Mendelson describes in detail the increase of the productive apparatus of monopolistic companies, emphasizing the supposedly progressive role of monopoly in the production development. It is his position he illustrates by the example of the American Steel trust and the German electrical monopolies “of Siemens and Halske” and “AEG”. While L. Mendelssohn reveals the sinister role of these monopolies for the war, in establishing such unheard-of oppression in society, the enforcement of criminal and political means of competition in the brutal exploitation of workers, etc.

Research into the history of the crises is impossible without a Marxist analysis of the problems of markets. In the book this analysis, no. Moreover, the author distorted the Marxist-Leninist understanding of the causes of aggravation of the problem of markets in the course of the development of capitalism. According to him, aggravation of the problem of markets is not due to the aggravation of contradictions of capitalism and the decline in purchasing power of the vast masses of workers and peasants, which is in the final analysis, the main buyers, and supposedly primarily “a huge increase in production capacity of the world industry…” (p. 608). Not accidentally, therefore, the book is totally inadequate shows a growing impoverishment of the working people of the capitalist countries, as well as the strangling and robbery of the colonial peoples capitalist predators. The question of wages under capitalism is of crucial importance for the history of crises is addressed by the author only in passing, in passing.

The main flaw of the book is that the author, removing crises from the basic contradictions of capitalism glosses over the struggle of the proletariat for the revolutionary way out of crisis, for the overthrow of capitalism. He occasionally encountered mention of the labor movement are associated only with the consequences of crises. In a peer-reviewed book volume, 800-plus pages, there was no place for Marxist-Leninist lighting revolutionay the struggle of the proletariat. It does not exposes the treacherous role of the opportunist agents of the bourgeoisie in the labor movement.

Mendelssohn does not reveal the specifics of economic development of individual countries shows the features of the Genesis of the crises in each of them. He exaggerates the role of Britain and the United States in the economic development of other countries, exposes the predatory nature of British and American capitalism. The author essentially denies self and the uniqueness of the development of capitalism in Russia. He writes that in the economy till 70-ies was only affected by the crises in other countries, especially Britain, which accelerated her development of capitalism and large-scale production. In the effort to diminish economic development of Russia Mendelssohn had reached the point that the industrial revolution it dates back to the late nineties of the XIX century.

With objectivist positions is treated by Mendelssohn in the Chapter on the crisis of 1900— 1903 G. the question of the export of capital from the United States and other countries, which, in his opinion, pouring over all the continents, all accelerated the development of capitalism. At the same time, he shows that the withdrawal of capital meant an enormous intensification of exploitation, deprivation and suffering of workers of the colonial and dependent countries.

Uncritically using bourgeois sources and falsified statistics, L. Mendelssohn was in many cases influenced by bourgeois economists. Available in a book that is critical of their address are of a liberal character, the author often conscious apologetics qualifies as an “error”.

Calling insignificant French bourgeois economist, A. Aftalion a prominent researcher of crises. L. Mendelssohn engages in a discussion with him like a colleague. In the same tone he “criticizes” and apologist of imperialism of Hilferding. Sworn enemies of the working class, like the militant fascist Sombart, the author depicts in the form of ostrich, which allegedly amuse themselves with illusions, and do not store violent struggle for the salvation of capitalism.

The book by L. Mendelssohn was published under the editorship of prof P. K. Figurnov. Errors of this book was removed by the editor. And this is no accident. In the works of the P. Figurnov devoted to crises, there is also a serious error.

So, in the transcript of a public lecture, “Marxist-Leninist theory of CRISES”, published in 1948 and in the book “Capitalist reproduction and economic crisis”, released in 1949, he made a lot of the confusion in the coverage of the main provisions of Marxist-Leninist theory of capitalist reproduction and crises, outlined this theory in the abstract-scholastically, out of touch with modernity.

P. Figurnov in their books did not give deep and true show that crises of overproduction are a manifestation of a rapid and destructive forms of the basic contradictions of capitalism. Confining himself to generalities, he, like Mendelssohn, does not give a picture of the growing impoverishment of the working masses, has accepted catastrophic in the conditions of modern capitalism. At the same time, the author focuses on the development of the productive forces under capitalism, the “rapid” technological progress, writes of the “technical revolution”, as a result of the crisis, etc, etc.

With regard to the modifications of the capitalist cycle in the period of imperialism, Figurnov absolutely did not show that in the period of the General crisis of monopoly capitalism looking for out of the crisis of overproduction in the war, the enslavement of other countries.

The author fails to mention that in the end of the second world war, the General crisis of capitalism has deepened even more that there was a formation of two opposing camps — the camp of imperialist, anti-democratic, headed by the USA and the camp of the anti-imperialist, democratic, headed by the Soviet Union. In the brochures it says nothing about the struggle between two systems, the existence of the socialist system, which “is growing, which succeeds, which is opposed to the capitalist system and which by its very existence demonstrates the rottenness of capitalism and undermines its foundations” (Stalin).

Figurnov not shown how the bourgeois state shifts the devastating effects of crises on the shoulders of the working masses. More than one public debate he explicitly argued that “in certain, special situations and in the period of imperialism the bourgeois state can play to some extent progressive (?!) role” (emphasis added — Authors).

Finally, the author in his works shows how crises of overproduction that affect the growth of class consciousness of the workers, and emphasizes the possibility and necessity of the revolutionary way out of crisis. Not to mention the incorrect method of using L. P. by Mendelssohn and Figurnov quotations from the classics of Marxism-Leninism. The authors in some cases wrong to comment on a quote or rip them out of context.


In 1947-1948 in our press has been heavily criticised a number of books on the economy of contemporary capitalism (work by E. Varga, I. trachtenberg, C. Vishneva, Vladimir Kaplan, etc.). The authors of these papers in light of the capitalist economy made serious mistakes.

They were torn between politics and economy, substituted for a class political approach to the analysis of capitalist economy, its techno-economic description and thus conceal the contradictions of modern capitalism. The exposure when released incorrect works had great significance in the struggle for Marxist-Leninist economic science. Mendelssohn and Figurnov, as can be seen from their books, repeat the mistakes of the bourgeois-objectivist character.

In the modern period of the General crisis of capitalism more and more aggravated with antagonistic contradictions tearing capitalist system. The imperialists subjected to unprecedented oppression and brutal exploitation of the popular masses of the colonies, dependent countries and Metropolitan areas, making huge profits on the pain and blood of the people. Worldwide growing hatred of the workers to imperialism. In order to establish world domination, suppression of worker and national liberation movement, in search of an exit from the economic crisis of predatory American imperialism seeks to unleash a new world war, strengthen the fascist and the militarization of the imperialist camp. The attempts of the imperialists to find a way out in igniting a new world war fanning the military industry, the militarization and fascist subservient to capital and stifling democracy expressed extreme parasitism and decay of capitalism.

Work on the theory and history of crises, based on the brilliant works of the classics of Marxism-Leninism, should help readers to a deeper understanding of the growing General crisis of capitalism and to understand the challenges of progressive humanity in the struggle against imperialism, for peace, democracy and socialism. The same peer-reviewed publications can only confuse the reader.

The question is, how could it happen that the works of Mendelssohn and Figurnov released? It happened because they were not prior to the publication discussed the wide scientific community. At the Institute of Economics of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, where the authors work, not deployed Bolshevik criticism and self-criticism, not created a truly creative environment, which would exclude the possibility of the occurrence of such erroneous operations. The works of Mendelssohn and Figurnov and after their publication was not criticized in the Economics Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR and in the pages of economic journals. Reviews of fellow of the Institute of Economics, F. Mikhalevskiy for a book by L. Mendelssohn, published in the journal “Soviet book”, or give it a principled evaluation. Noting some mistakes books, F. mikhalevskijj praised her as a “valuable contribution to our economic literature.”

Guided by Marxist-Leninist doctrine, the Leninist-Stalinist theory of imperialism, unfolding among scientists Bolshevik criticism and self-criticism, Soviet economists have to creatively explore the processes in the modern capitalist economy, and thereby help our students to properly and deeply understand the contemporary international environment, to assist the fraternal Communist and working-class parties in the Marxist-Leninist education of their personnel.


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