By David Harvey
The unconventional geographer courses us during the vintage textual content of political economy.
“My objective is to get you to learn a ebook by means of Karl Marx known as Capital, quantity 1, and to learn it on Marx’s personal terms…”
The greatest monetary main issue because the nice melancholy has generated a surge of curiosity in Marx’s paintings within the attempt to appreciate the origins of our present drawback. for almost 40 years, David Harvey has written and lectured on Capital, changing into one of many world’s such a lot premiere Marx students.
Based on his fresh lectures, this present quantity goals to carry this intensity of studying to a broader viewers, guiding first-time readers via a desirable and deeply profitable textual content. A better half to Marx’s Capital bargains clean, unique and infrequently serious interpretations of a publication that modified the process background and, as Harvey intimates, might achieve this back.
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Extra info for A Companion To Marx's Capital
Within all the confusions of the marketplace, "the labour-time socially COMMODITIES AND EXCHANGE 43 necessary to produce [commodities] asserts itself as a regulative law of nature. In the same way, the law of gravity asserts itself when a persons house collapses on top of him" (168). This parallel between gravity and value is interesting: both are relations and not things, and both have to be conceptualized as immaterial but objective. This then leads Marx directly into a critique of how bourgeois modes of thought have evolved in relationship to the proliferation of exchange relations and the rise of the money-form: Reflection on the forms of human life, hence also scientific analysis of those forms, takes a course directly opposite to their real development .
This ultimately crystallizes in a "universal equivalent": one commodity that plays the exclusive role of a "money commodity" (§d, 162-3). The money commodity arises out of a trading system and does not precede it, so it is the proliferation and generalization of exchange relations that is the crucial, necessary condition for the crystallization of the money-form. In Marx's time, commodities like gold and silver had emerged to play this crucial role, but it could in principle be cowry shells, cans of tuna or as has sometimes happened in disruptive conditions of war-cigarettes, chocolate or whatever.
Furthermore, I won't have enough money to buy commodities to live. Market forces, which none of us individually control, regulate us. And part of what Marx wants to do in Capital is talk about this regulatory power that occurs even "in the midst of the accidental and ever-fluctuating exchange relations between the products:' Supply and demand fluctuations generate price fluctuations around some norm but cannot explain why a pair of shoes on average trades for four shirts. Within all the confusions of the marketplace, "the labour-time socially COMMODITIES AND EXCHANGE 43 necessary to produce [commodities] asserts itself as a regulative law of nature.