[David Harvey] The Enigma of Capital

  • Title: The Enigma of Capital And the crises of Capitalism
  • Author: David Harvey
  • Published: 2010
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; New York
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-19-983684-0

David Harvey explains what the Capitalism is through the non-mainstream view-point.

Capitalism is the political and economic system of the flow of Capital. It is fundamentally based on the “Continuous flow of Capital.” In order for Capitalism to succeed (to make capital flow without stopping), Capitalism requires ever-increasing size of Capital (3% GDP increase is a mantra).

The problem occurs when capitalists seek strategies to achieve goals without legal and moral responsibilities – Privatize Profits and Socialize Risks -.

Capitalists want to maximize their profits, pure and simple. To achieve this goal, they want a continuous supply of cheap labor as well as a bigger consumption.

Here comes the contradiction:

  • How can they achieve this: Lower-income and Higher-consumption at the same time?

Lower-income was done through immigration (until the 1960s and 1970s) and developing countries (later). Higher-consumption was maintained through marketing, debts, and notably credit card industries.

According to Harvey, this fragile balance has been broken many times but saved through the sacrifices of many. This repetitive pattern leads to moral hazard and even bigger crises.

The question is to us. We do not expect any revolution-like new structure will replace the current Capitalis system any time soon. Still, we are responsible for the future actions to make our system more just and equal.

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