A Companion To Marx's Capital, Volume 2
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The biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression shows no sign of coming to a close and Marx’s work remains key in understanding the cycles that lead to recession. For nearly forty years, David Harvey has written and lectured on Capital, becoming one of the world’s most foremost Marx scholars.
Based on his recent lectures, and following the success of his companion to the first volume of Capital, Harvey turns his attention to Volume 2, aiming to bring his depth of learning to a broader audience, guiding first-time readers through a fascinating and hitherto neglected text. Whereas Volume 1 focuses on production, Volume 2 looks at how the circuits of capital, the buying and selling of goods, realize value.
This is a must-read for everyone concerned to acquire a fuller understanding of Marx’s political economy.
the materials rather cursorily put together in this chapter are far from being a minor, one-off set of observations. They set out some principles for understanding the spatial dynamics of a capitalist mode of production, and thus call for study and, where necessary, elaboration. The principle that focuses Marx’s attention is that “with the development of the means of transport, the speed of movement in space is accelerated and spatial distance is thus shortened in time” (327). Marx begins
equivalents,” and while “the money that they cast into circulation over and above the total value of their commodities, as a means for exchanging these commodities, returns to each of them from the circulation sphere to the exact amount that each of the two cast into it.… neither has become a farthing richer from all this.” Furthermore, embedded in “all this” is the necessity that workers do their part in consuming their wages in ways that match production in department 2, while the bourgeoisie
on this” (C3, 991). The implication is that Marx thought the schemas had some sort of role to play in the development of rational socialist planning. As they are, the reproduction schemas go nowhere near solving such problems. But they do show in principle how much new means of production might be needed to expand the production of both means of production and wage goods in order to establish balanced growth in a rationally ordered society. In any alternative society, coordinations of this sort
too small a portion of its own product, and that the evil would be remedied if it received a bigger share, i.e., if its wages rose, we need only note that crises are always prepared by a period in which wages generally rise, and the working class actually does receive a greater share in the part of the annual product destined for consumption. From the standpoint of these advocates of sound and “simple” (!) common sense, such periods should rather avert the crisis. It thus appears that capitalist
for productive capital and only within it” (247). During the turnover time of the fixed capital, however, several turnovers of fluid capital are completed. The value of the fixed capital “is advanced all at once in its entirety.… The capitalist thus casts this [monetary] value into the circulation sphere all at once; but it is withdrawn from circulation again only gradually and bit by bit” (247). But during the lifetime of the fixed capital, the capitalist does not usually need to use this money