Was Henri de Man an early Post-Keynesian Neo-Marxist?
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Henri de Man is the author of the dissenting “Au-delà du Marxisme” (1926) and of the Belgian Plan du Travail (Labor Plan) of 1933. Later he became a Belgian social-democratic leader. He published between 1931 and 1935 18 economic articles in the Bulletin d’Information et de Documentation of the National Bank of Belgium. It is shown that the articles, partly inspired by Keynes’s writings up to 1931, are rather reflecting early Keynesian economic ideas relating to government intervention and public works, and do not contain any reference to the multiplier mechanism. A number of arguments in the articles are, however, advocating a Marxist inspired underconsumption theory. Based on further analysis of these articles, it is concluded that they contain also other important characteristics in common with the post-Keynesian neo-Marxist economic theories developed after the Second World War, such as the importance attached to the external markets of capitalism and a rejection of the labor theory of value, as well as a neglect of the Marxian law of the falling rate of profits. Their economic ideas are rooted in Marxism and the analysis of new economic phenomena, including the early Keynesianism of John Maynard Keynes. Therefore, they should be considered as an early version of these theories.