From Capitalism

from the books: Capital, vol. 1, 1867, Ch. 5, Karl Marx and A Companion to Marx’s Capital, 2010, David Harvey

Key: (page numbers for Penguin Classics edition of Capital), [page numbers for David Harvey’s Companion to Capital] Chapter 5: Contradictions in the General Formula (258) What distinguishes the form of circulation relevant to capital production (M-C-M)? An inverted order of succession of the two antithetical processes: sale and purchase This inversion has no existence for 2 of the 3 people involved [92] To answer the question, “Does capital lay its own golden eggs?,” Marx starts with examining the contradictions within M-C-M + ΔM Fundamental question: where does the increment, surplus value, come from? [93] Classical liberal economics holds that M-C must be equivalent to…

from the books: Capital, vol. 1, 1867, Ch. 4, Karl Marx and A Companion to Marx’s Capital, 2010, David Harvey

  Key: (page numbers for Penguin Classics edition of Capital), [page numbers for David Harvey’s Companion to Capital]   Chapter 4: The General Formula for Capital   (247) Capital starts with circulation of commodities Production of commodities and their circulation in developed form: trade World trade begins in 16th century Money (ultimate product of commodity circulation) is the first form of appearance of capital Capital first confronts landed property in the form of money In form of monetary wealth, merchants’ capital and usurers’ capital All new capital steps onto the stage (i.e. onto the market) in the shape of money, money that has to be shaped into capital by definite processes First distinction…

from the books: Capital, vol. 1, 1867, Ch. 3, Karl Marx and A Companion to Marx’s Capital, 2010, David Harvey

Key: (page numbers for Penguin Classics edition of Capital), [page numbers for David Harvey’s Companion to Capital]   Chapter 3   1. The Measure of Values Gold acts as a universal measure of value, and only through performing this function does gold, the specific equivalent commodity, become money Money as the measure of value is the necessary form of appearance of the measure of value inherent to commodities: labor-time (189) The expression of the value of a commodity in gold looks like this: x commodity a = y money commodity This is its money-form, or price This kind of equation (with gold as the equivalent form)…

from the books: Capital, vol. 1, 1867, Ch. 2, Karl Marx and A Companion to Marx’s Capital, 2010, David Harvey

Key: (page numbers for Penguin Classics edition of Capital), [page numbers for David Harvey’s Companion to Capital]   Chapter 2 [47] Marx’s purpose: define socially necessary conditions of capitalist commodity exchange and create a firmer ground to consider the money-form in chapter 3 (178) The “guardians” of commodities must place themselves in relation to each other as persons whose will resides in those objects in order for those objects to enter into relations as commodities The guardians must therefore recognize each other as owners of private property (a juridical relation) The content of this juridical relation (or relation of two wills) is determined…

from the airwaves: Entitled Opinions, Quinn Slobodian on “Neoliberalism”

  Neoliberalism Term is used in different contexts for different purposes: A period of global capitalism; beginning in 1970s with oil crisis and break down of Bretton Woods system Move from manufacturing to services, and especially the rise of finance as a dominant force in the “global North” the introduction of deregulation, privatization, and liberalization in policy in both the “North” and global “South” after the debt crisis in 1982 Finally, a general move to a post-Fordist, or immaterial rather than material economy Policy package: (e.g. deregulation, privatization) replace preexisting principles of the welfare state and redistribution with principles of constant risk Emphasize importance of…

from the books: Capital, vol. 1, 1867, Ch. 1, Karl Marx and A Companion to Marx’s Capital, 2010, David Harvey

  Key: (page numbers for Penguin Classics edition of Capital), [page numbers for David Harvey’s Companion to Capital]   Chapter 1, section 1   (126) It is the commodities’ physical bodies that are the useful things, or use-values Commercial knowledge of commodities: special branch of knowledge grounded in use-value of commodities Use-values are only realized in use or consumption Use-value is material content of wealth Also, in capitalist mode of production, use-values are the material bearers of exchange-value (127) From the fact that a quarter of wheat is exchanged for x polish, y silk, and z gold the valid exchange…

Truth and the Individual in Robert Musil’s Blackbird

In The Analysis of Sensations, physicist Ernst Mach at once shatters the realist’s conception of the world and the self. Polemicizing against Rene Descartes’ dualism, and classical rationalism in general, Mach reduces all of reality to localized, yet fully relativized complexes of sense data.[1] His universe is one in which the permanent is illusory and “facts” are mere descriptions of the relations between dynamic connections of sensations. There is no “I”, no ego, no Truth—at least not in any tangible sense. Robert Musil and his Austrian contemporaries warily absorbed Mach’s theory. It ripped the stable metaphysical rug from beneath their…

Fast Trip, Long Drop as Video Support Group

You have to tell your own history to make it advance. And so the point, I think, of remembering is to reinvent ourselves. –Jean Carlomusto in Fast Trip, Long Drop   Video never blossomed into humanity’s emancipator. It did not connect people by their nervous systems, eclipsing modern woes with a collective “global village.” Instead, video in its “guerilla” form fell victim to the machinery of the capitalist system—the very monolith it vowed to tackle. At least, that’s the narrative underlying many writers’ works on the subject in the 1980s.[1] These authors, though varying in degree of pessimism, maintain a…

Surpassing the Impasse of Racism in Derrick Bell’s And We Are Not Saved

Derrick Bell argues in And We Are Not Saved that racism courses thickly through America’s blood. Majoritarian at its core, the country’s democratic capitalist society precludes equality in any true sense of the word. Indeed, Bell guides his readers through a bleak, sobering tour of the undergirding subjugation of black Americans—the dominant system’s very sustenance. Unraveling these depressing details throughout the book’s Chronicles, Bell concludes with a chapter titled, “Salvation for All: The Ultimate Civil Rights Strategy.” Here, Bell capitalizes on his literary methodology, guiding his readers to an aporetic state in order to point towards a potential light at…

Individualism as Illness and Antidote in Guinier’s The Tyranny of the Majority

In The Tyranny of the Majority, Lani Guinier lays a foundation for bottom-up empowerment in electoral and legislative systems. Rigid adherence to winner-take-all majority rule contorts and rips at the seams of an intrinsically organic and fluid structure. That is, humans comprise the body politic; not only is forcing amorphous interests, identities, and experiences into a rectilinear mold absurd, it is dangerous and oppressive, especially for historically marginalized minorities. Implicit in the majority’s electoral strategy is wholesale attachment to individualism that reigns over group- and community-based interests. Righting the wrongs of the current “I win, you lose” system requires a…