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  • The Most Dangerous Book I Have Ever Written: A Commentary on Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism
    new and particular historical stage of capitalism I prefer to keep the singular and holistic definition of capital intact while recognizing the violent fusion of disconnected factors operating independently of one another yet correlated within it Economic life Marx observes in his Postface to the Second Edition of Volume One of Capital offers us phenomenon analogous to the history of evolution in other branches of biology His purpose is to take economic phenomena and track the law of their variation of their development i e of their transition from one form into another from one series of connections into a different one This idea that capital should be understood as an evolving organic whole or totality becomes much easier to grasp through an analysis of the intersecting and interlocking of contradictions across a decentered system of capital accumulation It then becomes much easier to understand the astonishing evolution of capital as it seeks to grapple with and adapt to its different inner contradictions and their fusions at moments of crisis that force capital into new configurations The primary threats to the reproduction of capital in our times which are quite different from those that Marx had to confront also become more salient From this it becomes much easier also to show why we might now need to confront and ultimately replace capital with some alternative mode of production So why then am I an anti capitalist I am not an anti capitalist because of some strange defect in my DNA Nor am I anti capitalist because I was brainwashed as a youth I first read Capital when I was thirty five years old seduced by the blandishments of some Marxist Leninist or Trotskyist Maoist political party I have never been a member of any party or because I suffered some traumatic injury to my body or my psyche because of capitalist malfeasance at some point in my life I actually admire though far from uncritically much that capital has produced and not only in the way of new technologies No I am anti capitalist for purely rational reasons It has in my considered judgment become too dangerous to itself as well as to us and others Much of what is now happening is simply insane Any reasonable person assessing the evidence would if they are of sound mind necessarily and rationally become anti capitalist It is somewhat unusual these days to appeal to rationality To do so appears old fashioned and even seriously flawed It is perhaps not accidental that appeals to rationality are frowned upon at exactly the stage when capital can survive only by insane means Why to take just one small example are we so hell bent on building cities for the wealthy to invest in rather than cities for people to live adequately if not happily in We should all go to the top of the next golden condo being built for no one to live or one of those absurd buildings in Dubai and hang a banner from it saying THIS IS INSANE Such follies were in the past occasional and clearly meant as follies but they are now becoming the norm Where else can overaccumulating surplus capital go I will refrain from further details of this sort here but the point of identifying the three dangerous contradictions at the end of Seventeen Contradictions was to single out those that in my view seal the case for ruthlessly opposing endless capital accumulation The first of the three dangerous contradictions is the exponential path defined by compound growth This was no problem when Marx was writing because so much of the world was still open for business But another century of compound growth from here on out is simply unthinkable with most of the world from China and India to Russia Brazil and South Africa now subsumed within the overwhelming logic of endless capital accumulation The environmental consequences of compounding growth are also plainly dangerous and threatening although I am reluctant to invoke apocalyptic scenarios and willing to recognize how adaptable capital has historically been to environmental and natural resource constraints Finally there are deeply troubling signs world wide of what I call universal alienation in which the loss of meaning and of future possibilities in all aspects of physical and mental life in the home as well as at work produces inchoate and often strange forms of sociality and revolt The proliferations of religious fundamentalisms and the rising menace of fascist revivals need to be taken seriously turning civil society into a vast field of struggle over capital s as well as humanity s future which only an ultra militarized state apparatus seems at this time capable of controlling through brute force and astonishing technologies of surveillance and repression Never has the choice between socialism and barbarism been more starkly posed at a historical conjuncture when the broad left has never been so weak The imperative to be anti capitalist and to stand up to the ultra militarized state apparatuses that now dominate butts up against the globalization of indifference and the confusions of skepticism and disbelief rooted in universal alienation The argument and evidence I amass in Seventeen Contradictions is only partial however because I confine myself to the study of the inner or internal contradictions of capital alone I separate out these contradictions from the far broader and far more complicated question of the contradictions driving capitalism as a whole I engage in an exercise in abstraction and like all such abstractions this does a certain violence to our understanding of the realities around us Abstractions of this sort frequently become therefore a target of fierce criticism Serious objections arise even to the point of total rejection of whatever is revealed by the abstractions on the grounds of their unreality The exclusions are often judged to be far more important than whatever it is that the abstractions reveal I sought to defray such criticisms in Seventeen Contradictions by trying to be as clear as I could as to what might be learned from the abstractions and what would be needed to understand the contradictions of capitalism as a whole I freely recognized those situations in which the separation between capital and capitalism became highly problematic because my intent was not as some critics have inferred to avoid or suppress the many other forms of contradiction that constitute or are co present within capitalism in general My aim was to improve our understanding of capitalism as a whole by clarifying how the logic of capital accumulation does or does not work within that larger frame It was of course Adam Smith who so clearly recognized in The Wealth of Nations that once market exchange becomes widespread and foundational for daily survival as it indubitably does under capitalism then the hidden hand of the market which Marx identified as the hidden hand of social labor operates in such a way as to make personal identities subjectivities desires and intents irrelevant to the overall logic of capital accumulation In practice of course there are many attempts to corner particular markets in commodities including that for labour power and consumer markets certainly disaggregate into niches of differentiated consumer preferences but the proliferation of commodification exchange relations and money power in general guarantees the overall failure of such strategies even as particular markets including those for labour might become captive to some group or other of either producers or consumers The only identities foundational for market exchange are those of buyers and sellers backed by private property rights for juridical individuals see the first three contradictions in Seventeen Contradictions It is the market that abstracts from all other identities It was for this reason that Marx began his analysis in Capital with the concept of the commodity since everyone irrespective of their race class gender ethnicity religion nationality sexual preference or whatever lives under capitalism which is by no means hegemonic everywhere through the buying and selling of commodities including the fictitious commodities of land labour and money power Adam Smith s arguments as to the social consequences and the inevitable contradictions that flow from the circulation of capital were Marx argued fatally flawed The promise of liberty and freedom in liberal theory and in technically egalitarian markets masked a deeper reality of perpetual labour exploitation backed by accumulation by dispossession I did not therefore accept the thesis of an inherently racialized capitalism because while in some parts of the world e g the United States and the Americas capitalism is emphatically racialized specially so given the forceful legacy of slavery but elsewhere it is not or only weakly and indirectly so In some parts of the world e g Northern Ireland or the Middle East it is religion that divides and the question of nationalism and national identity is hugely important e g in the Far East or in Eastern Europe within capitalism in general All of this spills over into geopolitical rivalries within capitalism that are not reducible to even as they are influenced by and sometimes correlated with the internal contradictions of capital Finally there is the question of gender and sexual preferences which are universal in the ways that questions of race ethnicity religion nationalism and the like are not The nature of gender and sexual preference questions varies immensely however from one part of the world to another The prominence of women within the Kurdish PKK and its military arm contrasts dramatically for example with the repressed and traditional condition of women in Iraqi Kurdistan And as North American feminists have discovered to their chagrin the emancipation of women in their part of the world does not necessarily resonate with women elsewhere The autonomous development of these other contradictions expressive of some version of the fluctuating role of human alterity within capitalism in general cannot be reduced to functions of the inner contradictions of capital At no point in Seventeen Contradictions do I ever make such a reductionist claim But then neither can the contradictions of capital be reduced to questions of race gender national identity queer theory or the like This simple fact also establishes something else important To be anti capitalist is not necessarily to be an anti racist anti nationalist feminist queer theorist This much has again and again quite properly been asserted and alas all too frequently demonstrated in the history of class struggles waged by the broad left By the same token to be a feminist queer theorist or anti racist is not necessarily to be anti capitalist Most of the black anti racists I encountered during my years in Baltimore were intensely pro capitalist The street battles in Ferguson Missouri in recent times focused on the situation of a black population in relation to the exclusionary institutions of civil society and the repressive arm of the local state apparatus They were not anti capitalist in their content although certain individuals and groups may have seen them so even as their form is hard to understand without invoking class position There are however plenty of intensely pro capitalist anti racists and feminists and queer theorists in the world Some segments of indigenous populations e g the Aymara of Bolivia successfully participate in merchant and artisinal capitalist activities while sustaining many aspects of their distinctive forms of cultural life There is a huge difference between this form of indigeneity and remote indigenous groups in Amazonia who want little or nothing to do with capitalist modernity but who suffer mightily from its intrusions upon their spaces Much of the left used to believe that all anti colonial struggles were anti capitalist but the actual history of post colonial political economy belies such an assumption Any conversation on such topics presupposes however that we know what it would mean to be anti capitalist and it is exactly this question that my study of the inner contradictions of capital and not of capitalism is designed to illuminate What would a feminist queer theorist or anti racist anti nationalist secular as opposed to religious person have to identify with and assert through their ideas and practices to be anti capitalist That question can be generalized to ask what would an autonomista or anarchist or post colonial theorist have to subscribe to in pursuing their anti capitalist agendas I do not claim that Seventeen Contradictions has all the correct answers But it does pose I think the right question The book concludes I want to re emphasize by saying that none of the political proposals that derive from the seventeen contradictions transcends or supersedes the importance of waging war against all other forms of discrimination oppression and violent repression within capitalism as a whole By the same token none of these other struggles should transcend or supersede that against capital and its contradictions Alliances of interests are clearly needed So what then does Seventeen Contradictions reveal that is interesting As a writer I usually start out thinking I know what I want to say but I am always surprised at how much I discover in the course of the writing and how different the final product is in relation to the initial conception Let me take up just one instance of this from Seventeen Contradictions I had long recognized that the first two volumes of capital were constructed under radically different assumptions and that they produced two quite different accounts of how capital worked Volume One of Capital is about the production of value and surplus value whereas the main though not exclusive focus of the incomplete and stitched together Volume Two is the problem of realization In Volume One Marx defines value as socially necessary labour time but then inserts one sentence that says if there is no want need or desire backed by ability to pay we later discover then there is no value The theory constructed in Volume 1 assumes that all commodities can be traded at their value that there is absolutely no barrier to the realization of values in the market place This is of course a huge assumption But this abstraction permitted Marx to define the conditions produced by and necessary for the continuous production of value and surplus value These included the production of an industrial reserve army of the unemployed and the increasing impoverishment of the working classes that were employed Volume Two of Capital on the other hand holds constant many of the driving forces such as technological change studied in Volume 1 It assumes there are no problems to the production of value Marx then looks at the conditions necessary for the realization of values in the market places and sees that an adequate effective aggregate demand on the part of workers is required to absorb the value produced Plainly the two volumes indicate a serious contradiction between escalating impoverishment and wages sufficient to generate sufficient market demand If all is well from the standpoint of Volume 1 then everything goes awry from the standpoint of Volume 2 and vice versa This much I had early on realized But I had never followed up the full implications of what Marx in the Grundrisse called the contradictory unity of production and realization To begin with most Marxists read Volume 1 of Capital with care but very few read or let alone study Volume 2 In writing the introduction to the Companion to Volume 2 I emphasized how important it is to give equal weight to the two volumes but judging from the sales rankings on Amazon the strong bias towards emphasizing the first volume relative to the second is very much in evidence The result has been a bias in the history of Marxist thinking towards a productivist reading of Capital while questions of realization are treated as of secondary importance Indeed to spend too much time on Volume 2 as Rosa Luxemburg did leads to charges of an underconsumptionist reading of Marx which for some unexplained reason is considered un Marxist and crypto Keynesian Against this I can only emphasize that neglecting the contradictory unity of production and realization and failing to give equal weight to the content of the two volumes entails a serious misreading of Marx s theory of capital Ironically the demand side political economy consistent with the Volume 2 perspective dominated with the help of Keynesian theories the capitalist world after 1945 but steadily undermined the conditions required for surplus value production during the 1960s It was then replaced with the help of Milton Friedman and Hayek by a supply side political economy and politics consistent with Volume 1 after the mid 1970s or so The latter predictably produced in turn multiple localized crises around the world before culminating in the global crash of 2007 8 as realization became more and more credit and credit card dependent to compensate for the successful neoliberal campaign in favor of wage repression Volume 2 focuses on processes of circulation and pays close attention to the question of turnover production and circulation times with occasional allusion to questions of spatial relations and consumption times The coordination of commodity productions what we now refer to as commodity chains requiring radically different turnover production and circulation times with particular emphasis upon the problem of fixed capital formation and circulation is problematic Vast amounts of capital would have to be hoarded thereby becoming inactive and non value producing to deal with radically different temporalities It is only through the rise of a credit system that this difficulty can be overcome For Marx credit and debt are not primarily moral categories as they are in so many contemporary presentations on the subject such as David Graeber s book Debt The First 5 000 Years They are technical necessities to sustain the continuity and smooth flow of capital But Marx rules out further investigation of the credit system until Volume 3 so we do not get a working picture of debt credit relations in Volume 2 Credit and debt

    Original URL path: http://davidharvey.org/2015/05/the-most-dangerous-book-i-have-ever-written-a-commentary-on-seventeen-contradictions-and-the-end-of-capitalism/ (2016-02-18)
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  • Paperback: Seventeen Contradictions & the End of Capitalism
    Book Depository Waterstones Published by Oxford University Press in the US To modern Western society capitalism is the air we breathe and most people rarely think to question it for good or for ill But knowing what makes capitalism work and what makes it fail is crucial to understanding its long term health and the vast implications for the global economy that go along with it In Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism the eminent scholar David Harvey author of A Brief History of Neoliberalism examines the internal contradictions within the flow of capital that have precipitated recent crises He contends that while the contradictions have made capitalism flexible and resilient they also contain the seeds of systemic catastrophe Many of the contradictions are manageable but some are fatal the stress on endless compound growth the necessity to exploit nature to its limits and tendency toward universal alienation Capitalism has always managed to extend the outer limits through spatial fixes expanding the geography of the system to cover nations and people formerly outside of its range Whether it can continue to expand is an open question but Harvey thinks it unlikely in the medium term future the limits cannot extend much further and the recent financial crisis is a harbinger of this David Harvey has long been recognized as one of the world s most acute critical analysts of the global capitalist system and the injustices that flow from it In this book he returns to the foundations of all of his work dissecting and interrogating the fundamental illogic of our economic system as well as giving us a look at how human societies are likely to evolve in a post capitalist world Amazon com Barnes Noble Indie Bound Powell s Share this Facebook Twitter Google Reddit Tumblr Email

    Original URL path: http://davidharvey.org/2015/04/now-in-paperback-seventeen-contradictions-and-the-end-of-capitalism/ (2016-02-18)
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  • Video: David Harvey: The Political Economy of Urbanization
    video Previous post Video Interview in Bolivia Next post Debating Marx s Crisis Theory The Falling Rate of Profit Comments are closed About the Course A close reading of the text of Karl Marx s Capital in free video lectures by David Harvey Start here David Harvey is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology Geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York CUNY and the author of numerous books He has been teaching Karl Marx s Capital for over 40 years Read his CV Help keep these open courses online donate Help make the course accessible in other languages translation project Web hosting by Reclaim Hosting Questions or comments about this site contact webmaster credits Twitter My Tweets Recent Books The Ways of the World Profile Books UK 2016 The Ways of the World Oxford University Press US 2016 Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism Profile Books UK 2014 Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism Oxford University Press US 2014 A Companion to Marx s Capital Volume 2 Verso 2013 Rebel Cities From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution Verso 2012 More books Podcasts Subscribe to a course as a video or

    Original URL path: http://davidharvey.org/2014/12/video-david-harvey-political-economy-urbanization-recife/ (2016-02-18)
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  • Book Reviews and Interviews
    August 31 2014 Review Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism by Ståle Holgersen Society and Space September 6 2014 Share this Facebook Twitter Google Reddit Tumblr Email books interviews reviews Previous post Video Tariq Ali in Conversation with David Harvey Next post Video David Harvey and Gar Alperovitz on Cooperation and Capitalism Comments are closed About the Course A close reading of the text of Karl Marx s Capital in free video lectures by David Harvey Start here David Harvey is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology Geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York CUNY and the author of numerous books He has been teaching Karl Marx s Capital for over 40 years Read his CV Help keep these open courses online donate Help make the course accessible in other languages translation project Web hosting by Reclaim Hosting Questions or comments about this site contact webmaster credits Twitter My Tweets Recent Books The Ways of the World Profile Books UK 2016 The Ways of the World Oxford University Press US 2016 Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism Profile Books UK 2014 Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism Oxford University Press US 2014 A

    Original URL path: http://davidharvey.org/2014/09/book-reviews-interviews-july-august-2014/ (2016-02-18)
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  • The Chronicle Review: Mapping a New Economy: The geographer David Harvey says fixing inequality will take more than tinkering - Reading Marx's Capital with David Harvey
    Contradictions the End of Capitalism at the Bristol Festival of Ideas Next post Afterthoughts on Piketty s Capital Comments are closed About the Course A close reading of the text of Karl Marx s Capital in free video lectures by David Harvey Start here David Harvey is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology Geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York CUNY and the author of numerous books He has been teaching Karl Marx s Capital for over 40 years Read his CV Help keep these open courses online donate Help make the course accessible in other languages translation project Web hosting by Reclaim Hosting Questions or comments about this site contact webmaster credits Twitter My Tweets Recent Books The Ways of the World Profile Books UK 2016 The Ways of the World Oxford University Press US 2016 Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism Profile Books UK 2014 Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism Oxford University Press US 2014 A Companion to Marx s Capital Volume 2 Verso 2013 Rebel Cities From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution Verso 2012 More books Podcasts Subscribe to a course as a video or audio

    Original URL path: http://davidharvey.org/2014/05/chronicle-review-mapping-new-economy-geographer-david-harvey-says-fixing-inequality-will-take-tinkering/ (2016-02-18)
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  • Audio: Seventeen Contradictions & the End of Capitalism at the Bristol Festival of Ideas - Reading Marx's Capital with David Harvey
    The geographer David Harvey says fixing inequality will take more than tinkering Comments are closed About the Course A close reading of the text of Karl Marx s Capital in free video lectures by David Harvey Start here David Harvey is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology Geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York CUNY and the author of numerous books He has been teaching Karl Marx s Capital for over 40 years Read his CV Help keep these open courses online donate Help make the course accessible in other languages translation project Web hosting by Reclaim Hosting Questions or comments about this site contact webmaster credits Twitter My Tweets Recent Books The Ways of the World Profile Books UK 2016 The Ways of the World Oxford University Press US 2016 Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism Profile Books UK 2014 Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism Oxford University Press US 2014 A Companion to Marx s Capital Volume 2 Verso 2013 Rebel Cities From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution Verso 2012 More books Podcasts Subscribe to a course as a video or audio podcast with iTunes Choose M4V for

    Original URL path: http://davidharvey.org/2014/05/audio-seventeen-contradictions-end-capitalism-bristol-festival-ideas/ (2016-02-18)
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  • Interviews, Book Reviews, and Book Excerpts - April 2014 - Reading Marx's Capital with David Harvey
    com April 19 2014 INTERVIEW The End of Capitalism BBC Radio 4 Thinking Allowed April 14 2014 INTERVIEW The contradictions of capitalism an interview with David Harvey by Jonathan Derbyshire Prospect Magazine April 11 2014 INTERVIEW Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism David Harvey and Owen Jones London Review Bookshop April 10 2014 EXCERPT Prospects for a Happy but Contested Future The Promise of Revolutionary Humanism The White Review April 7 2014 INTERVIEW Professor David Harvey Q A By Valentina Zanca Profile Books April 3 2014 EXCERPT David Harvey the crisis of capitalism this time around Roar Magazine March 24 2014 Share this Facebook Twitter Google Reddit Tumblr Email books interviews reviews Previous post Video Audio Contradictions of Capitalism Interviews with David Harvey by NovaraMedia Next post Audio Seventeen Contradictions the End of Capitalism at the Bristol Festival of Ideas Comments are closed About the Course A close reading of the text of Karl Marx s Capital in free video lectures by David Harvey Start here David Harvey is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology Geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York CUNY and the author of numerous books He has been teaching Karl Marx s Capital for over 40 years Read his CV Help keep these open courses online donate Help make the course accessible in other languages translation project Web hosting by Reclaim Hosting Questions or comments about this site contact webmaster credits Twitter My Tweets Recent Books The Ways of the World Profile Books UK 2016 The Ways of the World Oxford University Press US 2016 Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism Profile Books UK 2014 Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism Oxford University Press US 2014 A Companion to Marx s Capital Volume 2 Verso 2013 Rebel Cities From

    Original URL path: http://davidharvey.org/2014/05/interviews-book-reviews-book-excerpts-april-2014/ (2016-02-18)
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  • Video & Audio: Contradictions of Capitalism: Interviews with David Harvey by NovaraMedia - Reading Marx's Capital with David Harvey
    Email books interviews audio video Previous post Interview on the Majority Report with Sam Seder Next post Interviews Book Reviews and Book Excerpts April 2014 Comments are closed About the Course A close reading of the text of Karl Marx s Capital in free video lectures by David Harvey Start here David Harvey is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology Geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York CUNY and the author of numerous books He has been teaching Karl Marx s Capital for over 40 years Read his CV Help keep these open courses online donate Help make the course accessible in other languages translation project Web hosting by Reclaim Hosting Questions or comments about this site contact webmaster credits Twitter My Tweets Recent Books The Ways of the World Profile Books UK 2016 The Ways of the World Oxford University Press US 2016 Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism Profile Books UK 2014 Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism Oxford University Press US 2014 A Companion to Marx s Capital Volume 2 Verso 2013 Rebel Cities From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution Verso 2012 More books Podcasts Subscribe to

    Original URL path: http://davidharvey.org/2014/05/video-audio-contradictions-capitalism-interviews-david-harvey-novaramedia/ (2016-02-18)
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