Notes on The Enigma of Capital by David Harvey

Posted on November 14, 2011 by


Been thinking a lot about money, economic capital, and my lack thereof.

I found the video below on MIT Anthropology’s website, dated March 4, 2011.

Though it had not happened yet, he explains the logic behind an Occupy Wall Street movement.

I just wanted to post it to strengthen my tie to MIT Anthropology. :chin raised, eyes nonplussed and unimpressed:

Key Lines (Times are as if the 4 videos were 1 big video, as they are at MIT’s website):

  • There is a job crisis, and it is really concentrated here.  Now like all good Americans who believe when you play a baseball game, you can call it the “World Series”, everyone thinks there’s a global crisis.  There’s not.  There’s many doing fine…There is no real crisis except in the United States and some parts of Europe.  =:9:02
  • What Rahm Emanuel said is that you should never let a good crisis go to waste, which means if you can prolong the crisis, you do, if you have an agenda.  -11:00
  • One way to get rid of debt is through a politics of austerity…If you go into austerity at a time of difficulty then what you do is you throw people out of work… -12:09
  • The last 2 recessions before this in the United States in 1990 and 2001 were followed by what are called jobless recoveries. This time around it seems to be followed by a joblessness-creating recovery.  Furthermore, there’s something about the joblessness that is unique now compared to those before, that is the number of people who are long-term unemployed.  -14:05
  • David Stockman, [Reagan’s] budget director gave away the game.  He said, “Our plan was to run up the debt to such a point that it became so huge that we could go after all the social programs we didn’t like. -16:03
  • Debt is at a level matter now that they [Republicans] can go after all the social programs.
  • Capital always seeks to maximize certain externalities that is it tries to take certain of its real costs and shove em elsewhere where they dont have to pay for them.  The two big areas are the environment and social reproduction -18:23
  • The externalization of costs adds to the inequality of the country.  -20:42
  • What we need to do is create a party that is “anti-Wall Street.”
  • Accumulation for accumulation’s sake and production for production’s sake is becoming harder to sustain.  -35:05
  • The problem is that the American or European model is not geared toward using resources to develop human capacities and powers;  its simply geared to assembling as much wealth as possible in a very very narrow group of the population who exercise overwhelming political power.  41:09