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Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism

DAVID HARVEY is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the City University of New York Graduate School. His course on Marx’s Capital, developed with students over thirty years, has been downloaded by over two million people.

Profile Books (First published, 2015)
338 pages including Bibliography and Index


Out of stock

ISBN: 9781781251614 Product ID: 3431 Subjects: , Sub-subjects: , ,

Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism examines the internal contradictions within the flow of capital that have precipitated recent crises; 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 the 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.

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. 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.

Prologue: The Crisis of Capitalism This Time Around
Introduction: On Contradiction

Part One – The Foundational Contradictions

1. Use Value and Exchange Value
2. The Social Value of Labour and Its Representation by Money
3. Private Property and the Capitalist State
4. Private Appropriation and Common Wealth
5. Capital and Labour
6. Capital as Process or Thing?
7. The Contradictory Unity of Production and Realisation

Part Two – The Moving Contradictions

8. Technology, Work and Human Disposability
9. Divisions of Labour
10. Monopoly and Competition: Centralisation and Decentralisation
11. Uneven Geographical Developments and the Production of Space
12. Disparities of Income and Wealth
13. Social Reproduction
14. Freedom and Dominati

Part Three – The Dangerous Contradictions

15. Endless Compound Growth
16. Capital’s Relation to Nature
17. The Revolt of Human Nature: Universal Alienation

Conclusion: Prospects for a Happy but Contested Future: The Promise of Revolutionary Humanism

Epilogue: Ideas for Political Praxis

Bibliography and Further Reading

Weight0.290 kg
Dimensions19.7 × 12.8 × 2 cm




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