The Enigma of Capital and the Crises of Capitalism Read ñ 104

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Read ´ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook É David Harvey F capitalism how it works and why sometimes it doesn't He examines the vast flows of money that surge round the world in daily volumes well in excess of the sum of all its economies He looks at the cycles of boom and bust in the world's housing and stock markets and shows that periodic episodes of m. Every now and then I read something that helps make sense of the really big picture; this is one of those books – and it is simply superb For at least the last 25 years or so I have been involved in work with friends and comrades I use the word broadly on ways to make sense of the post Really Existing Communist world of finance capital and in doing so have tried to keep up with developments on the left and in the broad social movements Our early and unsuccessful efforts centred on ideas of ways to integrate the struggles around race gender and class as well as related social antagonisms and identities – but in reality that was little than a souped up version of what used to be called ‘tripod’ theory racegenderclass as the society’s shaping antagonisms where we added a bit of dialectical and historical materialism to get beyond much of the voluntarism and idealism of tripod theory Not surprisingly we didn’t get far and the initial moves just happened to begin to come to fruition with the collapse of the Soviet Union the Chinese attack on protestors in Tiananmen Suare and the growing hegemony of neo liberalism – the organisational base of this work collapsed Since then there has been enormous developments in the theory practice and shape of the left – but little that has effectively rethought what it is that we are dealing with although Marta Harnecker’s Rebuilding the Left is one of the better attempts This book is a profound and essential retheorising and reanalysis of the contemporary world of finance capital that challenges and extends Marx’s and Marxist analyses of our socio political economic world in essential ways The analysis of the current crisis of capitalism is lucid and clear the outline of capital’s development and operation – both industrial and financial is demanding but about as sharp and transparent as that obscure world can be and the spatialisation of capital and capital flows in itself an essential addition to contemporary understandings of global capitalism as would be expected from a geographerImportant as these are the real strengths of the book lie elsewhere The first is Harvey’s model of the co evolution of capitalist development based in the dialectical interaction of seven ‘activity spheres’ the production of new technological and organisational forms; social relations; institutional and administrative arrangements; production and labour processes; relations to nature; the reproduction of daily life and the species; and mental conceptions of the world This is a sophisticated critiue of the crude attribution to Marx of a base superstructure model thanks Joe Stalin and a rejection of the primacy of any sphere while also accepting the basic truth of a materialist mode of analysis Each of these seven spheres interacts dialectically to shape and make the modern world but that interaction varies across space The corollary of this model is that transformative action against capitalism must be co revolutionary attending to all of these spheres but that the ‘way in’ – the dominant contradiction of the moment – is likely to be different in different places This co revolutionary politics centres on several key points development is not the same as growth; developments in each sphere will reuire a sophisticated grasp of the operational form and character of each other sphere that is we need some ‘grand theory’; we need to be aware of and confront feedbacks and impacts from the global economy; and we need some common objectivesIn the contemporary world Harvey sees two broad groups of activists marginalised by the politics of capital the discontented and alienated – including intellectuals cultural workers and others whose material interests may lead them to ally with those in power but whose cultural and political outlooks lead them to see the current path of capitalist development as at best a dead end and at worst a catastrophe meaning that they reject that alliance – and the deprived and dispossessed those whose experience of the conditions of work and life deprive and dispossess them of control over their labour material cultural and natural relations of existence In a shift from the old Leninist model of the role of intellectuals to teach the deprived and dispossessed to teach the workers Harvey sees our role as trying to make sense of the underpinning conditions of deprivation and dispossession and to work with the deprived and dispossessed to make sure those explanations have meaning and are effective contributions to struggle the terms shape and structure of this relationship need further workHaving built this model Harvey finds our existing organisational forms inadeuate but sees great potential emerging from the interwoven action of 1 NGOs at best ameliorative 2 anarchist autonomist and grassroots movements 3 ‘traditional’ his word left parties and the labour movement 4 social movements that are not necessarily philosophically based but are pragmatic responses to and resistance of displacement and dispossession and 5 identity based emancipatory movements race gender class youth children religious minorities and the like It is at this stage that I find Marta Harnecker’s excellent BolivarianChavezesue book Rebuilding the Left so helpful with its pragmatic and challenging ‘what do we do now’ approach and find the inclusive approach to the left of magazines like Red Pepper so useful and inspiring In some ways what Harvey has done here and don’t get me wrong there are flaws but with one exception they are minor and I wouldn’t a good lefty if I didn’t find something to niggle about – but the relations between the discontented and alienated and the deprived and dispossessed needs much work has provided these new developments of the kind Red Pepper and Harnecker represent with a update of Capital for our times Right at the end he reminds us in the words of Shakespeare “The fault is not in the stars but in ourselves that we are underlings” This is not neo liberal self blame for failure but a reminder that no one else is going to change the world for the better if we don’t

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The Enigma of Capital and the Crises of Capitalism Read ñ 104 ☆ For three centuries the capitalist system has shaped western society informed its rulers and conditioned the lives of its people Has the time come to move beyond itUsing his unrivalled knowledge of the subject Harvey lays bare the follies of the internatio Eltdown are not only inevitable in the capitalist system but essential to its survival The Enigma of Capital is a timely call to arms for the end of the capitalism and makes a compelling case for a new social order that would allow us to live within a system that could be responsible just and humane. David Harvey is a remarkable scholar His work on postmodernity transformed my thinking on the subject The Enigma of Capital is similarly revelatory This is the finest analysis I have read of the financial crisis Most impressively he explores why capitalism is irrational and probes the problematic gap between the reality and representation of capitalism This book is outstanding

David Harvey É 4 Read

The Enigma of Capital and the Crises of CapitalismFor three centuries the capitalist system has shaped western society informed its rulers and conditioned the lives of its people Has the time come to move beyond itUsing his unrivalled knowledge of the subject Harvey lays bare the follies of the international financial system looking at the nature o. I first read this book in 2013 two years after it was written and found it an eye opening critiue of events leading up to the global financial crisisI came across a review of the work in the London Review of Books and this encouraged we to revisit some of the passages I had highlighted when I first read through it After all it's five years since the book was written a long time in economics as well as politics these daysWell uite a few passages have passed the test of time To start off with I see no change here The problem is that the economic theories and orthodoxies which manifestly failed to predict the crisis continue to inform our debates dominate our thinking and underpin political action It looks like our mental conceptions are still being manipulated by the parts of the media that prefer to treat free markets as synonymous with liberty instead of making an objective analysis of the facts Brexit and its taking control are one good recent example of this phenomenon with Fox News or the whole of the State of Texas being another Mental conceptions of the world were reshaped as far as possible by appeal to neoliberal principles of individual liberty as necessarily embedded in free markets and free trade Brexit the rise of right wing governments in Eastern Europe Le Pen Trump threatening to betray NATO promises and default on America's debt do a deal is how he puts it; this passage still seems spot on While there are innumerable parallels now being drawn between the crisis of the 1930s and the current one the one potential parallel that is almost totally ignored is the collapse of international collaboration the descent into geopolitical rivalries This also still sounds about right; post truth politics and politics as reality TV Throughout much of the capitalist world we have lived through an astonishing period in which politics has been depoliticised and commodified This book was written before the Occupy movement Sadly it foresaw the key flaw in Occupy's aspirations even before the first Occupy protests double blockage exists the lack of an alternative vision prevents the formation of an oppositional movement while the absence of such a movement precludes the articulation of an alternative And now we see even than in the past the right encouraging the divisions of identity which are an important bulwark of their position We'll build a wall and you will pay for it The class ineualities upon which capital accumulation rests are freuently defined by identities of race gender ethnicity religion But if only the following passage was still true In the UK we have an unprecedented series of Doctor's strikes opposing a further step in the de facto privatization of the UK national health service Many of the key achievements of distributive socialism in the period after 1945 in Europe and beyond have become so socially embedded as to be immune from neoliberal assault Would Medicare survive Trump I doubt it Might we see a Trump High School every bit as successful as Trump University You bet we mightWell I wish I had something cheerful to say after this trip down memory lane Unfortunately I don't although I would say in fact I hope I have proved this is a book still very well worth reading for a whole new perspective on the factors which lead us to the GFC which are unchanged nearly a decade later