Anti-Capitalist Chronicles: Dumping Surplus Capital

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In this episode of ACC, Prof. Harvey talks about the changing dynamics of capital accumulation since Marx's analysis in the Grundrisse. The disempowerment of workers as part of the Neoliberal strategy of the 1980s to the present day, led to declining wages and standard of living for workers, but an increase in surplus capital and wealth for corporation and wealthy elites. Military expenditures (military Keynesianism) and fixed capital - what Harvey calls "mindless urbanization"- become sinks for disposing overaccumulating capital.

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Showing 2 comments

  • Avery Colter
    commented 2021-07-29 02:51:25 -0400
    Interesting insight. I am left, however, with one semantic question. It sounds like “mindless urbanization” includes every means ever built for socialization, artistic, or cultural activities. Entertaining activities. Titillating activities. In so many words, FUN activities. For all this to be lumped under the term of Mr. Harvey’s choice, might this not lend itself to the barb at times levelled by capitalists suggesting, in so many words, that “Marxists think fun is mindless”?
  • Edward Dodson
    commented 2021-06-23 12:10:30 -0400
    As was the case for almost everyone who took college level economics courses in the late 1960s, my Samuelson’s was my text. I did not begin to question what had been taught until I became involved in real estate as a bank officer with responsibilities for developing public/private initiatives targeting distressed urban communities. An urban planner gave me several papers to read that helped me to understand the economics of taxation. Economists such as C. Lowell Harriss (Columbia), Dick Netzer (NYU) and Mason Gaffney (Univ. of California) all wrote similarly that the conventional property tax was a primary cause of urban blight. Their writings pointed me to study the political economy of Henry George and, eventually, to a formal study of George’s works at the Henry George School of Social Science. Much as with Marx, there was no mention of Henry George in any of the courses I took as an undergraduate. Only during my graduate work (in liberal arts rather than economics) was I able to focus at least some of my research and writing on an analysis of political economy from the perspective of the political economists, including George, Marx and others.

    Later this fall, I will be delivering a series of lectures over Zoom hosted by the Henry George School of Social Science in New York. The theme of these lectures will be: “Henry George, Karl Marx and Their Follows: A Century of Sometimes Intense Debate.” There is much to this story that is useful to us today as those of use who are critical of existing socio-political arrangements and institutions and argue for a just balance between rights to property and the protection of fundamental human rights.

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