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The Limits to Capital, New Edition [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   478
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.2" Width: 6.2" Height: 1.44"
Weight:   1.58 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 19, 2007
Publisher   Verso
ISBN  1844670953  
EAN  9781844670956  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
"The Limits to Capital" provides one of the best theoretical guides to the history and geography of capitalist development. In this new edition, Harvey updates his classic text with a substantial discussion of the turmoil in world markets today.
In his analyses of 'fictitious capital' and 'uneven geographical development' Harvey takes the reader step by step through layers of crisis formation, beginning with Marx's controversial argument concerning the falling rate of profit, moving through crises of credit and finance, and closing with a timely analysis geopolitical and geographical considerations.

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More About David Harvey

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! David Harvey teaches at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and is the author of many books, including Social Justice and the City, The Condition of Postmodernity, The Limits to Capital, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, Spaces of Global Capitalism, and A Companion to Marx's Capital. His website is

David Harvey has an academic affiliation as follows - Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Queen Charlotte's Hospital, U.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
classic book  Jun 7, 2007
In my opinion, Limits to Capital is the best path to Marx's political economy, and in a sense it's an update of Capital. Harvey explains Marx, and introduces some new concepts such as 'spatial fix', 'socially necessary turnover time of capital' etc. Together with Mandel's Late Capitalism, Limits to Capital is the most significant contribution to Marx by a contemporary writer. (The radical geography journal Antipode had a special issue for the 20th year of Limits to Capital.)

However, Harvey revisioned some of his thought later, with 'The New Imperialism'. He introduced the notion of 'accumulation by dispossession', I don't know why, limiting the 'reproduction on an enlarged scale', and thereby limiting the validity of class conflict. This imperialism issue blurs all the contemporary accounts of capital accumulation. He is now an Arendtian. Good luck with that, but we miss the Harvey of Limits to Capital.
The most thorough exposition of Marxist political economy in print  Jul 23, 2006
David Harvey is actually a geographer, but from reading this book, one would think him one of the great political economists. Based on this work alone, he should be in the popular range of Stiglitz, Schumpeter, Milton Friedman etc., but it is not likely that such 'honor' will ever befall a Marxist theorist. Nevertheless everyone interested in Marxist economics, for whatever reasons, simply must read this book.

Harvey's discussion of capitalism from a Marxist perspective is extraordinary clear, sharp and thorough. So much in fact that it is probably the most consistently in-depth exposition of capitalism from every aspect since "Capital" itself. This also makes it hard to review it, since one hardly knows where to begin.

Fortunately for political economy newbies (and this book is definitely the best kind of "introductory overview" you could give to an intellectual person), Harvey starts at the same point "Capital" starts, then works his way through. First he gives a clear exposition of the general framework of Marxist theory: the law of value, the differences between value, use value and exchange value, the mode of production etc. All this is done quite well, though there are of course many many such general descriptions available in print. Harvey does seem to skip over the "transformation problem" somewhat, which may annoy those who consider it a major hurdle. Harvey, in my view with good reason, does not.

The next two chapters discuss production, distribution, surplus value and its realization and the relation to supply and demand. Particularly useful here are his explanations of the importance of the concept of value composition of capital, and the reduction of skilled to simple labour, where he addresses one of Von Böhm-Bawerk's better critiques of Marxism.

The next part of the book is perhaps the core of the book. Here, Harvey delves into the organization of capital, the various forms which it can take and how these interrelate, and the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. He shows how the various manifestations of capital can interfere with each other's functioning and how this creates the tendency towards crises. He then posits the problem of overaccumulation (rather than underdevelopment) as the first 'layer' or 'cut' of crisis theory.

After the reader has grasped all this, the second crucial part of the book follows in a rapid manner, introducing first the problematic of fixed capital and its relation to the law of value, and then the role of credit in capitalism. The first is not very satisfactorily resolved and is in my view probably the weakest part of his theory. Alan Freeman has since given a quite different solution to the same issue, but that does not seem to really solve the problem either. Perhaps this is one of the things Marxist political economy has yet to fully solve.

Harvey's demonstration of the role of credit is however masterful and extremely enlightening for the many who are confused by the vast array of forms in which credit appears in modern society. His emphasis on the importance of understanding the so-called "fictitious capital", that is advanced capital not yet backed by actual value through production, allows him to show the second major appearance of crises in capitalism as well as explaining the theory of rent in Marxism, which forms the subject of the chapter thereafter. He corrects Marx' somewhat excessively anti-distributive theory of rent and explains the role of agricultural technology. Harvey is in many parts of this chapter rather confusing in his terminology, but a careful reader can certainly grasp the issue.

At the end of the book Harvey can finally follow up on his own area of expertise. By explaining the role of spatial and temporal relations in the flow of capital and the necessity of 'exporting' the internal contradictions of capitalist social relations, he is able to form a theory of imperialism that is largely in accordance with that of Lenin, but without the theory of underdevelopment. It also puts a good perspective on Marx & Engels' many journalistic articles about India and colonialism. Finally he combines this with the earlier two aspects to form the third 'cut' of capitalist crisis theory, which takes every aspect of capitalism in its modern appearance into account.

On the whole, Harvey has done an unparallelled and magisterial work in creating an exposition of capitalism that is at once as in-depth as "Capital" and much clearer (and shorter!) than that, although of course without Marx no such thing could ever have been made.
There are a few things nevertheless not covered (fully) in the book. Harvey pays surprisingly little attention to urban geography and (sub)urbanization as a factor in capitalism. Furthermore his theory of the state is a hodgepodge of different roles, which he never unites into one whole. Finally, people experienced in handling Marxist theory might have problems with Harvey's generally structuralist approach, which leaves relatively very little room for the autonomous significance of class struggle. Harvey mostly relegates that to the fields of production processes and labour mobility. Because of this, Lebowitz' "Beyond Capital" should probably be read alongside it as a complementary contribution, analyzing the same from the side of wage-labour.
A great book to get started on understanding Marx's Captial  Aug 23, 2000
I was attracted to this work becaues i'm interested in Marx and have read another of Harvey's books "The Condition of Postmodernity." Harvey is an erudite scholar who's formal education is in georgraphy, but his research has produced accessable and powerful studies beyond his origins. "Limits to Captial" is a complete and balanced account of Marx's economic work centering upon his major text "Das Kaptial." Harvey has does a intense study of Marx and Marxist scholarship (Lenin, Rose Luxingberg, and others) to produce a systematic and dialetical account of Marx's critique of Captialism. Even though harevy pays attention to the importance of Hegelian dialetics this book is accessable to to readers who do not have strong philosophic of economic backgrounds. If your are interested in Marx and/or captialism this is an excelent inroad to begin your studies. A detaled biblography of cited sources is a gem for continuted research. His book on postmodernity is also excelent.

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