Since the moment the deeply unsettling financial disaster erupted in September 2008, a crisis of confidence has gripped the economic mind. Experts of all stripes, from Alan Greenspan on down, were at a loss to explain what had happened.
A legendary scholar and critic of capitalism, Davis Harvey has been warning of problems for decades. Now, in The Enigma of Capital, Harvey provides a sweeping and brilliantly clear explanation of how the disaster happened, and how we can avoid another like it. Unlike other commentators, Harvey does not focus on subprime loans or mortgage securitization as the root cause of the calamity. Instead, he looks at something that reaches far deeper into the heart of capitalism--the flow of money through society. He shows how falling profit margins in the 1970s generated a deep transformation. With government assistance, capital was freed to flow across borders, and production moved to cheaper labor markets, depressing workers' incomes in the West. But as more and more money moved out of the laboring classes and into the pockets of the wealthy, a problem arose--how could the workers afford to buy the products which fueled the now-global economy? To solve this problem, a new kind of finance capitalism arose, pouring rivers of credit to increasingly strapped consumers. Moreover, these financial institutions loaned money to both real-estate developers as well as home buyers--in effect, controlling both the supply and demand for housing. But when the real-estate market collapsed, so did this financial edifice, an edifice that dominated our economy.
We cannot afford to simply shore up this financial system, Harvey writes; we need to undertake a radical overhaul. With this landmark account, he offers a richly informed discussion of how we can turn our economy in a new direction--fairer, healthier, more just, and truly sustainable.
"The narrative delineates with admirable clarity the arcane details of the current financial crisis, while rehearsing the rise of capitalism as a historically specific 'process' plagued by fundamental dilemmas."--Publishers Weekly "A lucid and penetrating account of how the power of capital shapes our world."--Andrew Gamble, Independent "Elegant... entertainingly swashbuckling... Harvey's analysis is interesting not only for the breadth of his scholarship but his recognition of the system's strengths."--John Gapper, Financial Times "Brisk and persuasive... Looking at the Unites States, it is hard to see anything as Benign as the New Deal coming out of the present situation. If it does, it will probably owe a good deal to David Harvey's students."--The Literary Review "[T]he recent near-collapse of the global economic system has added new plausibility to Marxist analysis, and David Harvey is certainly its most elegant and persuasive spokesperson . . . Harvey's [The Enigma of Capital] reminds us of the fundamental instability of the capitalist system, despite its remarkable innovations."--Tikkun
|The Disruption||p. 1|
|Capital Assembled||p. 40|
|Capital Goes to Work||p. 58|
|Capital Goes to Market||p. 106|
|Capital Evolves||p. 119|
|The Geography of It All||p. 140|
|Creative Destruction on the Land||p. 184|
|What is to be Done? And Who is Going to Do It?||p. 215|
|Sources and Further Reading||p. 263|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|
Number Of Pages: 296
Published: 9th September 2010
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 16.51 x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.57
Edition Number: 1