[Reading] ➶ A Companion to Marx's Capital Author David Harvey – Escortkibris724.live

[Reading] ➶ A Companion to Marx's Capital Author David Harvey – Escortkibris724.live
  • Kindle Edition
  • 752 pages
  • A Companion to Marx's Capital
  • David Harvey
  • 10 July 2017

A Companion to Marx's CapitalThe Radical Geographer Guides Us Through The Classic Text Of Political Economy My 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 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 Again


About the Author: David Harvey

David Harvey born 1935 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 1961 He is the world s most cited academic geographer according to Andrew Bodman, see Transactions of the IBG, 1991,1992 , and the author


10 thoughts on “A Companion to Marx's Capital

  1. 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 one.I 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 quite 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 do.This 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 way.The 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 Capital.Harvey 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 afraid.Look, 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 quite 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. 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 request 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 interpretation.I 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.

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  4. 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 inevitable.Before 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 is.Perhaps 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 debit credit 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 oriented.So 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 money.But 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 quarter, 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 time.Here 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 on.Most 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 soon This 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. 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 critique 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. 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. 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. says:

    Very useful book to help demystify some of the stuff in Capital Volume 1 I disagree with quite 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 it.Overall 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 quotes 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

  9. says:

    wish I had gotten the complete edition with all three volumes

  10. says:

    David Harvey says early in the book that his understanding of Marx s Capital has developed over the course of many years of teaching the book He has taught it to economists, philosophers, English students, and even a group of Derrideans, who insisted on checking translations and examining Marx s language so much that the group barely got past the first chapter What came to fascinate me, Harvey says, was that each group saw different things in Capital I found myself learning and about the text from working through it with people from different disciplines His wealth of experience with the text shows.As a good introduction to Capital should, Harvey s Companion deftly goes through some of Marx s difficult arguments Harvey has trod this path many times, and he is aware not only of where the path goes, but also of where readers are likely to stumble, and he is quick to lend a helping hand with short digressions into Marx s methodology, including one longer one on what it means that Marx is trying to think dialectically Harvey explains the reasons behind Marx s sometimes peculiar terminology, why Marx making certain arguments at certain points in the book rather than others he also considers Capital within the context of Marx s entire corpus, and when necessary Harvey links what Marx says in Capital or, what is important, what Marx is NOT saying in Capital to this context.But that the Companion contains a basic outline of Marx s opus is not its most impressive feature What is most impressive, and what will make the book of value not only to those just beginning to study Marx but also, perhaps, to seasoned scholars, is Harvey s attention to the nitty gritty of Marx s text There are some passages every book on Capital should point out for instance, the beginning of the Fetishism of Commodities section and this Harvey does Harvey goes beyond this and brings up passages that are easily missed Harvey s attention to Marx s footnotes is extremely helpful At times Harvey will only draw the reader s attention to a footnotes at times he will show how Marx makes a key argument or answers a particular counter argument in a footnote, and a considerable discussion of the footnote will ensue About 30 pages of the Companion contain some level of discussion of Marx s footnotes In addition, Harvey pays attention to the place of gender in Marx s text, emphasizing both where Marx is strong and where Marx is weak on the issue Harvey s keen eye for the presence of gendered metaphors is much appreciated Harvey also devotes considerable space elaborating some of Marx s ideas regarding the relationship between human society and nature a furtive area of Marx s thought that has only recently begun to be explored And significantly, Harvey even notes the congruence between the work of Michel Foucault and the Marxist project, suggesting that Foucault be read as detailing the development of disciplinary apparatuses and ways of thought regarding mental illness, sexuality, etc without which advanced capitalism would be impossible In other words, he makes Foucualt out to be a Marxist Too many have made the mistake of reading these two thinkers as being fundamentally opposed.Marx s Capital is one of the, if not the, most relevant books for today Harvey knows this, and he is at pains to show how Capital is very much a book for the present We locked Capital up in the basement because we didn t want to hear what it had to say to us It was too traumatic But the trauma of present catastrophes risks being greater than the traumatic truth Capital can help us to see This is why it s time to grow up, go into the basement, and unlock Capital It s time to dust it off That is, it s time, as Harvey says, to read Capital, and to read it on Marx s terms Harvey can help us do this.

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