A Companion to Marx's Capital

A Companion to Marx's Capital[PDF / Epub] ✓ A Companion to Marx's Capital ★ David Harvey – Heartforum.co.uk The radical geographer guides us through the classic text of political economyMy aim is to get you to read a book by Karl Marx called Capital Volume 1 and to read it on Marx's own terms The biggest fi The radical to Marx's PDF/EPUB ✓ geographer guides us through the classic text of political economyMy aim is to get you to read a book by Karl Marx called Capital Volume and to read it on Marx's own terms The biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression has generated a surge of interest in Marx's work in the effort to understand the origins of our current predicament For nearly forty years David Harvey has A Companion eBook ì written and lectured on Capital becoming one of the world's most foremost Marx scholars Based on his recent lectures this current volume aims to bring this depth of learning to a broader audience guiding first time readers through a fascinating and deeply rewarding text A Companion to Marx's Capital offers fresh original and sometimes critical interpretations of a book that changed the course of history and as Harvey intimates may do so Companion to Marx's Epub Ú again.

David Harvey to Marx's PDF/EPUB ✓ born is the Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York CUNY A leading social theorist of international standing he graduated from University of Cambridge with a PhD in Geography in He is the worlds most cited academic geographer according to Andrew Bodman see Transactions of the IBG and the author.

A Companion to Marx's Capital PDF/EPUB ´ to Marx's
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  • 752 pages
  • A Companion to Marx's Capital
  • David Harvey
  • 18 January 2016

10 thoughts on “A Companion to Marx's Capital

  1. Trevor says:

    I was recommended to read this by a friend here on goodreads There is an online video course thing that Harvey does too – he has been teaching his course on Capital for 40 years or something – and when he put the course online as a series of video lectures he was asked if he would also write a companion book this book to those lectures The course is available here ’ve written my review of Capital – but this book is obviously better than my review was ever likely to be Not least since Harvey has read hundreds of times about Capital than I’m ever likely to And he has read all of the source material too something else I would do if I had you know six or seven lifetimes ahead of me rather than whatever meagre few years it is I have left of this oneI’m not going to go into lots of detail But I do need to mention some of the things I learnt from this One of the things I tell people I would have put on my headstone if it was up to me which of course it isn't is “He never was all that good with the obvious” If there is one phrase that could or less sum up my life that would probably be it So when Harvey said that part of what Marx was trying to do in the first volume of Capital was to show even if you were to take the most pro Capitalist assumptions as if they were gospel that even then Capitalism would inevitably become trapped in its own contradictions Nope don't think I actually understood that was what he was doing when I read it I got that Capitalism would become entrapped in its own contradictions from my reading but didn’t notice that he was restricting himself so as not to challenge the kinds of assumptions that people like Adam Smith or Ricardo would have felt uite happy supporting This is I think an incredibly interesting and important way to criticise something – that is on its own terms And as important as it is it is also almost never actually done that way People are all too happy to say ‘your’ ideas are rubbish on the basis that they are different from ‘their’ ideas – but while it is easy to point out such differences it is much harder to show why your ideas ought to be given weight than the other person's ideas So starting with ‘their’ ideas as if they were right and true and then letting those ideas play out on their own terms and thus show their internal contradictions is a remarkably interesting and powerful thing to doThis book also gives a really good introduction to what Marx called his ‘dialectical method’ This is very helpful particularly if you are ever going to get over the first few chapters of Capital which even Marx said were ridiculously difficult to read and should perhaps be skipped over and read later The point of his method is to show that you can’t approach a subject as if it was made up of a series of dead statues all standing in a row but rather you can only understand a subject if you can observe it in its ‘life’ that is as the interplay of relationships in lived experience One of the things the author repeatedly discusses is the relationship Marx poses between the apparent and the actual relationships that exist within Capitalism He means that when you first see some feature of capitalism it appears to be working in one way but that Marx wasn’t content with describing this apparent something but rather tried to look beyond appearances to what was going on underneath Now everyone says that they are doing something like that However this was effectively Marx’s method He would talk about some apparent feature of capitalism say that prices are fixed by the laws of supply and demand and then move away from this concrete appearance to see if he could find a universal rule underlying it the labour theory of value say and then come back to the concrete world to show how this new and less apparent underlying feature both made the first concrete view seem obvious but also how this new understanding also gives a richer and deeper understanding of concrete phenomena Look I suspect that is all too hard to really understand – the point is that part of Marx’s method is to present an idea as if it is the whole truth – but then to show how this idea can’t really explain all of the things it set out to explain – so then he has to propose a deeper less obvious truth that underlies this apparent truth and that both explains the old idea but also shows why it was limited why the new idea isn't so limited and how the new truth leads to deeper insights as well insights that the apparent truth simply could not explain This process is followed throughout and Harvey points out when Marx is doing this repeatedly along the wayThe other thing Harvey does is to link Marx’s ideas back or forward I guess to current problems of Capitalism particularly post 2008 Capitalism and how Marx’s ideas predicted these problems These too are very powerful sections of this book and useful as many of the examples Marx himself uses are so old to us now that we can struggle to see what is the point of his examples Which is the other thing this book does very well that is provide some of the historical context to things that are incredibly important to Marx but hardly register at all to us Things like the changes of the Corn Laws or the impact the Chartists made For this alone I would recommend using this book as a companion if you are thinking of reading the first volume of CapitalHarvey has also written a companion to the second volume of Capital – eventually I will get around to reading both that book and the second volume itself But not for a while I’m afraidLook any book on economics is hard going – and Marx is hard work too particularly since he wrote Capital ages ago which means that many of his references literary allusions and historical context itself are often uite obscure to us all this time later So a book like this one that does the work of explaining these in a readable style really is damn helpful

  2. Ian "Marvin" Graye says:

    The Value of Time and CapitalThe down time provided by the coronavirus lockdown has been a good opportunity for some reading that would otherwise have been time consuming challenging or intimidating So I finally got around to reading this guide to Karl Marx' most important economic work if not yet “Capital itselfThis is a fairly thorough companion to a reading of volume I of “Capital I haven't consciously tried to assess the extent to which it reflects Marx’s analysis accurately To do that I'd have to read the primary work which I haven't yet However my intuitive response is that it is based on a thorough reading and understanding of the primary workAt the same time it attempts to extrapolate Marx' analysis into the twenty first century as well as determine “what is to be done to achieve a society and economy that remedies the flaws of capitalism as Marx described them in the nineteenth centuryMarx' Theory of ValueMy ultimate aim was to get a critical understanding of the role of labour in Marx' value theory often called the labour theory of value This theory is based on a critiue of the theory of Adam SmithMarx believes that commodities are the material bearers of exchange value in contrast to use valueUse value is subjective personal or idiosyncratic It's the driver of the consumer's desire to acuire commodities In contrast exchange value is social or collective It's a value imposed on commodities from the outside It isn't intrinsic to the specific commodityExchange value is a measure of the relative value of commodities their commensurabilityCommensurability reuires a basis for comparison Although Marx doesn't discuss money until later in the work it is obviously a measure of value that allows people to compare and contrast the relative value of commoditiesProducts of Human LabourIn the absence of money as a measure Marx says “if then we disregard the use value of commodities only one property remains that being that they are products of human labour”Harvey extrapolates “what commodities have in common is that they are all bearers of the human labour embodied in their production”Marx says that “what exclusively determines the magnitude of the value of any article is therefore the amount of labour socially necessary or the labour time socially necessary for its production”Social Value Congealed in the CommodityHuman labour is a process of transformation of raw materials Labour is transformative “Human labour is a tangible process but at the end of the process you get this thing – a commodity – which ‘coagulates' or ‘congeals’ value”Exchange value is not an objective property of the commodity itself It represents the social value of the commodity different from its physical or sensuous uality The system which allows the exchange of commodities at the market and the use of money to measure value disguise the real social relations between the traders the seller and the buyerie the people rather than the things This process of disguise is what Marx calls the fetishism of the commodity The seller and the buyer who come into contact with each other are the bearers or personification of economic relationsSocially Necessary Labour TimeHuman labour is not the actual subjective time taken to manufacture the commodity It refers to “human labour in the abstractThis measure of value refers to “socially necessary labour time which is “the labour time reuired to produce any use value under the conditions of production normal for a given society and with the average degree of skill and intensity of labour prevalent in that society”As an example if a shirt took an average worker one day to make whereas a pair of shoes took the same worker two days then the pair of shoes is worth twice as much as the shirtThis comparison of value is obviously easier once money is used For example the shirt might be worth 150 and the shoes 300 Money is a precise measure than labourThe Origin of MoneyMarx uses the concept of exchange value to explain the origin of the money form Money allows the trade or sale of a commodity to move beyond the barter of two types of commodity Money is the “universal euivalent of exchange value It also replaces precious metals like gold and silver Money appears in the “social relation between commodity and commodity Money becomes a commodity that facilitates the exchange of other commodities Money becomes a money commodity The money commodity is “the measure of value as the social incarnation of human labour”Fluctuations in supply and demand achieve an euilibrium price which is “a convergence on the average social labour necessary to produce a commoditySurplus ValueThe process of exchange or circulation results in an increase or increment in exchange value “the value originally advancednot only remains intact while in circulation but increases its magnitude adds to itself a surplus value or is valorizedAnd this movement converts it into capital”Harvey explains that “Capital is not a thing but a process – a process specifically of the circulation of values These values are congealed in different things at various points in the process in the first instance as money and then as commodity before turning back into the money formM C M”The aim of a capitalist is “the unceasing movement of profit making”Harvey adds “Capital is therefore value in motionit’s valorization is self valorization Itlays golden eggsValue therefore now becomes value in process money in process and as such capital “Money therefore forms the starting point and the conclusion of every valorization process“Capital is a means of making still money out of money”The Value of Labour PowerMarx posits that “in its pure form the circulation process necessitates the exchange of euivalents”This gives rise to a problem for the creation of surplus value “The formation of surplus value cannot be explained by assuming that commodities are sold above their valueor are bought at less than their value” To solve the problem Marx builds on the concept of labour power which he argues is the only commodity with the capacity to create valueThe capitalist buys the worker's labour power for the value of the means of subsistence necessary for the maintenance of the workerWhat Workers Make and GetMarx’s solution is therefore that “surplus value originates from the difference between what labour gets for its labour power as a commodity and what the labourer produces in a labour process under the command of capital”Harvey concludes that capitalists milk “the gap between what labour gets and the value that labour makes”The most obvious example of this gap is where a worker is paid for eight hours per day but works for ten hours surplus labour for no additional wages or overtime In effect the worker contributes two additional hours of value to the capitalist per dayhttpswwwrimini protokolldewebsiUsurpation of the Worker's TimeValue is socially necessary labour time which means that the capitalist gets the value of the additional labour time without having to pay for it “Capital usurps the time for the worker's growth development and healthy maintenance of the body” In other words the capitalist converts some or all of the worker's leisure time into unpaid labour time and therefore into surplus value for the capitalist The worker's life time is transformed into working time Multiple Contributors of ValueDespite Marx' views it doesn't necessarily follow from this analysis that labour is the only contributor to value surplus value or profit The exchange value of a commodity might derive from a number of value contributors or inputs eg labour raw materials land power intellectual property This is a premise of modern cost accounting Thus profit derived from the sale of the commodity by an employer is not necessarily an expropriation of the labour value of an employee's contribution to the exchange value of the commodityWhere there are other value contributors or inputs eg raw materials it doesn't seem to be appropriate to compare the exchange value of two commodities solely on the basis of labour timeFor example a diamond ring will reflect the value of both the jeweller’s labour and skill and the value of the underlying diamond which partly reflects the scarcity of diamonds Marx would say that at least part of the value of the diamond reflects the labour cost of mining it as well as the value of the historical labour reuired to generate the profit to fund its purchaseMultiple Contributors of Surplus ValueMarx appears to have argued that only labour could generate surplus value that in effect none of the other inputs into the commodity were responsible for the surplus value or profitThis argument seems to be a scientific conclusion justified by a political bias or persuasionOn the other hand it could eually be reached by arguing that the other inputs are ultimately funded by historical past or “dead labour that is stored in capital the capital that already exists and funds the acuisition of the other inputs as well as labour powerMarx argues that “living labour awakens or reanimates “dead labour from the dead Dead labour is “bathed in the fire of labour” Labour transforms raw materials and past labour “the lifeless constituents of a product into a commodity because it is a “form giving fire Capital is dead labourWhich vampire likeLives only by suckingLiving labourAnd lives the The labour it sucksHowever if the capitalist paid the worker for all of the time worked it could be argued that the historical surplus value legitimately belonged to the capitalistMarx the PolemicistUltimately Marx' conclusion promotes the political objectives of the working class by suggesting that they have not been adeuately remunerated for the labour they contribute to the process of creating a commodity On a best case basis labour should be entitled to the whole of the surplus value which would deprive the capitalist of the commercial purpose of their enterprise the desire to make a profit on their capital capital accumulation which would or could have been re invested in the enterprise This would also reduce the ability of the capitalist to pay interest on borrowed capital as well as the ability to reward the assumption of enterprise risk with respect to their capital Alternatively labour should at least be entitled to a proportionate share of the surplus value or a share after deduction of interest andor a reasonable return on investment Another solution would be to increase wages proportionately to reflect the value of the additional time worked This would allow the capitalist to retain ownership or property in the surplus valueExploitation and Alienation of the WorkerHarvey explains these arguments by reference to the Lockean principle that property rights accrue to those who create value by mixing their labour with the land The workers are the ones who produced the surplus value and by rights it should belong to them”This would have the result that the golden eggs laid by the capitalist goose belong not to the goose but to the workerIf they belong to the capitalist it means that “’the worker himself constantly produces objective wealth in the form of capital’ and that objective wealth becomes an alien power that now dominates the worker The worker creates the instrument of his or her own domination Through their labour workers reproduce both capital and the labourerThe worker continually transforms his own product into a means by which another man can purchase him”Marx elaborates that “property turns out to be the right on the part of the capitalist to appropriate the unpaid labour of others or its product and the impossibility on the part of the worker of appropriating his own product”In this way the worker is alienated from his own labour and the product of his labourHarvey describes the result as that “bourgeois freedoms and rights mask exploitation and alienation” The worker has been distorted into “a fragment of a man”Against Neoliberal UtopianismHarvey draws a polemical socio economic conclusion that is highly relevant to contemporary politics “All the benefits from the pursuit of relative surplus value have accrued to the capitalist class to produce immense concentrations of wealth and surging ineuality” In Marx' words “Accumulation of wealth at one pole is therefore at the same time accumulation of misery the torment of labour slavery ignorance brutalisation and moral degradation at the opposite pole ie on the side of the class that produces its own product as capital” If this sounds like an exaggeration Harvey responds “What Marx has done in Volume I of Capital is to take the words and theories of the classical political economists seriously and ask what kind of world would emerge if they got to implement their utopian liberal vision of perfectly functioning markets personal liberty private property rights and free trade” Significant Diagnostic PowerTo this extent as Harvey says “we can I think take insight though absolutely no comfort and acuire significant diagnostic power from a careful reading of Marx' text and a deep appreciation of his method” In effect Marx can help us to deconstruct neoliberal utopianismSOUNDTRACKview spoilerThe Rolling Stones I Can't Get No Satisfaction Saints Know Your Product of Four Damaged Goods Reed Set the Twilight Reeling Reed Set the Twilight Reeling Live on Sessions on West 54th hide spoiler

  3. Chelsea Szendi says:

    Rather than watching hours of the videos of David Harvey's class on Capital online we can now pick up this book Harvey is a great guide though Marx especially through the very rough first sections Reading this book without reading Capital itself is better than not reading either but I endorse Harvey's reuest that you really do read Marx in his own words Yes that damned coat gets on the nerves but Marx's writings are literature just irreducible to any interpretationI love that Harvey has been devoting so much of his life to get people to read Marx but hope that those who begin with Harvey also take Marx to new places and read Harvey's interpretations with a mind bent towards a ruthless criticism of everything existing

  4. Billie Pritchett says:

    Before digging into David Harvey's Companion to Marx's Capital I wondered what insight Marx might have into the functioning of the economy I was pleasantly surprised to discover at least on Harvey's account what a seminal and important work Marx's Capital is up there with Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations And in many respects Marx's work complements Smith's work Marx having read Smith extensively According to Harvey the basic idea behind Marx's Capital Volume I is that capitalist economies either left to their own devices or regulated are subject to a host of instabilities that make crises or less inevitableBefore getting into that claim it's helpful to know what a capitalist economy is When you do it is understandable why the crises occur Also it becomes evident that what people tend to think a capitalist economy is is not what it isPerhaps naively I had the view that a capitalist economy was an economy that used some surrogate form of value in our time paper money and debitcredit cards to allow the exchange of goods and services But in fact that's not enough to call an economy capitalist A capitalist economy is about a particular way in which this money to goods process is orientedSo here it is The goal of the capitalist economy is to grow the amount of the initial investment into some business or work into money You can think about it this way by way of comparison to probably how you and I think of money You I and other ordinary people have a product our labor and we're willing to trade this labor for money so that we can buy goods and services for survival or leisure So the orientation of the money process for us is Product to Money to Product our work converted to money by our employers in order to obtain other products But a business owner's orientation and the orientation of an entire capitalist economy is different The money process is oriented like this Money to Product to Money For the ownership workers' labor and the product that comes from the labor of the workers is just the means to an end to produce moneyBut here's the problem A fundamental law of capitalist economies is that the initial money invested must always grow So every year or in most cases every uarter there must be money flowing through the business than there was previously But in actuality growth isn't infinite For an owner after the market is glutted with his or her product when everything is at overcapacity there have to be new creative ways to make money And all of those are used all the timeHere are some of those creative ways One creative way to allow for artificial growth is to cut workers' salaries or to lay them off You do that you don't have to pay them and then your company makes money Another is that if you're an owner of a business and you have to compete with others who produce similar products then you reduce your prices of your products to have a competitive advantage But at some point you just can't get the prices any lower and make a profit So you produce the product at lower than the price that you can make money at and then you borrow from big banks huge sums of money to offset the loss in the weakening of your product until you find some new way to increase your profits again innovate your product produce other products and so onMost of the large companies have in fact glutted the market with their products and are underselling their products and not making a profit But they declare the amount of money borrowed as profit This is all artificial growth Eventually there's distrust in the market and then the owner has to pay back the loans but can't Then a financial collapse occurs And if enough companies are all operating in this way then there could be a national or international crisis Look for another one soonThis is Harvey's explanation of the relevance of Capital Volume I It shows that when a capitalist economy is running according to the basic law of growing money since it can't actually grow indefinitely it creates artificial means to do so Then when the economy collapses we all suffer And in our own time our governments subsidize the failure of these major companies and we have to pay for that failure in taxes Strange setup

  5. Carlo says:

    David Harvey's Companion is a great way to read Marx's Capital Vol 1 The length of Capital may be intimidating but if a reader travels book by book Harvey to Marx Harvey to Marx an appreciation of Marx's great critiue will result Harvey moves the reader along pointing out complexities of interpretation but not bogging down when he differs from other writers Harvey's goal is to read Marx with you not to make a case for a perspective Pick up Harvey's Companion with the Vintage edition of Capital Vol 1 Post 2007 time to understand the world time to change the world Time is now begin here

  6. Quentin says:

    You should read Marx's Capital it's easier funnier and smarter than you think it will be and you can gloss over some of the hard parts the first time through and still get the jist Harvey's companion is another route to go its based on his youtube able lecture series and it works hard to explain some of Marx's arcane arguments point out areas where he's unclear or incorrect and tells you which parts you can skim if you just want to understand the arguments Harvey's tone is conversational and he gives pretty fair time to some of the vociferous debates in Marxist theory

  7. Tyler says:

    A great recapitulation of the first volume of Capital for modern readers written by a professor who taught the book for thirty years and who has his own intriguing ideas to add

  8. Domhnall says:

    This book offers a close reading page by page guide to volume I of Marx's Capital I not only followed both books in tandem but also listened to Harvey's 13 lectures on Youtube which are very close to this text but not identical In the end it has been a rich experience and well worth the investment of time and effort It would have been preferable to have used the same edition of Capital by Penuin Classics since Harvey relies on page references and these are entirely different to the edition I used Mine also had a different translation As it happens I was able to keep track anyway because I was following both books in tandem but anything to make cross reference easier would be worthwhile Harvey not only explains Marx's meaning but also engages with it in active ways providing contemporary examples commenting on disputes explaining why he often disagrees with specific aspects of Marx's argument in the light of later history suggesting ways in which Marx's ideas might be revised or extended Most often though Harvey defends Marx against all sorts of lines of attack and demonstrates his continuing relevance and validity Something Harvey does especially well is to demonstrate the dialectical method used by Marx to build his explanation of free market capitalism Indeed for this his YouTube lectures are possibly effective than his book maybe because of the way he draws out the chains of reasoning on a large whiteboard as he speaks It is not at all what I had expected and seems incredibly well justified once it is explained Eventually Harvey is able to depict the main arguments of Capital I in a great mindmap which is surprisingly memorable and very clearly structured For all the seeming complexity and the sheer scale of the argument Marx never loses sight of this skeleton plan However Marx does not always make it easy to spot the links in his chain and without Harvey's intervention they would often have passed me by These really are excellent lectures and it is a wonder that they have been preserved and made so easily available If I were a character in Farenheit 451 I would be very happy to be assigned this book to memorise Harvey has been teaching Capital for over thirty years and one insight he offers is that different groups of students from different disciplines read Capital in many different ways The book is not self contained or dogmatic It is filled with insights speculation and openings that can lead in all sorts of directions It is a book in other words to be engaged with not just to be passively read

  9. Kumail Akbar says:

    I read the complete edition of David Harvey’s Companion to Marx’ Capital Previous versions were companions just to the first Volume of Das Capital whereas this one is a companion edition to all Three Volumes of Marx’ magisterial work David Harvey has been teaching students how to read Marx for decades now and his lectures on YouTube are available for anyone to take as they try to waddle through Marx’s writing I tried doing the same but found the lectures to be slow and boring – so chose to pick up this book instead and I must say I cannot say the same about this book Harvey tells us what he intends to do with this book in the introduction itself He does not want this to be a stand alone book he wants to encourage readers to read Marx’s work on Marx’s own terms However Marx’s writing even when its complete Volume One is arcane dry repetitive and simply not laid out for the average twenty first century reader – not to say anything about the works that were left incomplete Volumes Two and Three Harvey says so himself in the introduction ‘half the time you have no idea what he Marx is talking about’ This is where this book comes in handy To use an example which people who’ve been raised with cultural and religious traditions such as those of Islam can automatically relate Harvey is providing here us with the exegeses ta’ashreeh of the entire scriptural corpus chapter by chapter argument by argument idea by idea He does this well because like the scholar of any scripture not only is he well versed in the material found within its text but also its source material other supplementary and preceding texts such as Marx’s Grundrisse as well as other scholars readings and interpretations of the same ideas Further he has supplemented the work with diagrams and modern day examples as much as possible making this an incredibly useful book People say Engels should’ve edited of Marx’s work especially Volume One but if ‘spatial temporal differences’ can be wished away in a future reincarnation of the universe I would much prefer Harvey to be the editor Marx never had I would recommend anyone who wishes to read Das Capital to read this work side by side Unless you are well acuainted with the dense monstrosity of 19th century philosophical writing as well as Marx’s work and what it builds on you are very likely to give up on the text a few chapters into Volume One Even basic notions of argument and reasoning that many readers would likely take for granted in our day and age – that arguments that seek to show how empirical reality behaves are causal – do not hold true for Das Capital Marx’s the method of reasoning is dialectical not causal and that is hard enough to wrap your head around let alone the fact that Marx’s entire argument structure rests on the creation of diametrically opposed relations this is how dialectics proceed for every observed social relation These creations already seem to get out of hand in Volume One – where Marx attempts to delineate the ‘creation of value’ and by the time you reach the second Two Volumes Marx’s work suffers from what I’ve called a massive entropy of terms and constructions and which is easy to find Oneself drowning in Find my review of Das Capital here Harvey’s book is extremely useful here as is he able to explain the method in terms anyone could understand – he describes the method as similar to the peeling of an onion to look at layers beneath the initial observed reality etc This works to understand how Marx wants to go about presenting his argument but unfortunately there is not much even Harvey can do to reduce the entropy of constructions although he has written another book which attempts to break down all of Marx’s ideas and write about them linearly in Limits to Capital In this book however he addresses Volume One in the first section but then jumps between different sections of Volume Two and Volume Three detailing Marx’s arguments and explaining his examples in an order that he thought made sense than simply reading Volume One Two and Three successively Marx tells us that ‘There is no royal road to science and only those who do not dread the fatiguing climb of its steep paths have a chance of gaining its luminous summits’ too bad he left the modern reader without oxygen or basic climbing gear and asked him to climb the not particularly bright summit of Mount Olympus but we have Harvey here to thank for giving us the Pegasus that might just help us do the job Harvey’s tone throughout the book is not that of a priest explaining a dense text but a scholar who is fluidly engaging with the text himself as he tries to make it digestible for us There are several instances where Harvey does not hesitate to uestion some of Marx’s claims or arguments explicitly calling out Marx on at least One instance where Harvey thought he was wrong and other instances where he presents other scholars reading of the same text and his own opinion on their interpretations You can find instances where Harvey would even differentiate between the ‘logic of an argument’ as well as its ‘historical validity’ and even cases such as in Volume Two where accounting tautologies presented by Marx do not seem to be observable as calculable ratios in the real world He even wrestles with our experience of socialist governments and their choices drawing connections explicitly with what Marx had written – for eg when discusses the adoption of capitalist technological relations by a socialist state – even if he did not take these arguments to what seemed to be their logical conclusion then and there This makes the intellectual engagement worth participating in even if by the end of the book you are left feeling that Harvey never uestioned some of the most fundamental uestions with Das Capital – such as the labor theory of value itself or whether or not the dialectical method which does away with causal arguments is a meaningful way to explain lived reality whether some arguments presented by Marx necessarily flow into what is considered Marxist politics and what the point of such constructions is such as capital being a social relation or a circulation of values or even some of the less critical ideas – such as the idea that ‘machines cannot produce value’ However I real that that might just be beyond the scope of a book written to make you want to read Marx’s Capital Harvey cites Marx in the introduction with ‘Hic Rhodus hic salta Here is the ball now run with it’ to suggest what Marx would have wanted readers of his ideas to do with his work after they were done What would Harvey want us to do other than also read Das Capital – I do not know But what I do know is once you’re done with this book and Das Capital you would have a much thorough understanding of Marxist ideas on political economy and would be much better positioned to engage with such if you choose to Rating 5 out 5 stars unlike Das Capital which I rated much lower Ironic I know

  10. tom bomp says:

    Very useful book to help demystify some of the stuff in Capital Volume 1 I disagree with uite a bit of what he says when he goes beyond Capital particularly the focus on neoliberalism but he connects it to Marx's work and seeing someone explicitly draw from it and developing it is useful Most helpful early on at parts it's limited to reiterating what Marx has said; understandable because the first couple of parts are definitely the toughest so it's not too big a deal I do think he sometimes misses chances to argue a bit further The main example is the labour theory of value Marx didn't feel the need to justify it because it was commonly accepted at the time and Harvey only spends about a page I think doing so Given that it's such an important part of what follows it would have been nice to have a bit time spent on itOverall though very handy guide and I recommend it as a guide to your own understanding and interpretation Couple of things David Harvey recommends the Penguin edition which is probably the best available if you're planning on following along and it's the one he uotes from with page numbers However the Penguin version comes with an appendix which is another chapter Marx wrote but didn't publish yet Harvey doesn't mention it at all It's no big deal but it would have been nice just to say I'm not covering the appendix somewhere

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