Anti-Capitalist Chronicles: Totality and Capital

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In this episode, Prof. Harvey tackles the question of the relationship between cultural transformations and economic transformations and the roles technology, nature, and daily life play in relationship to each other and our mental conceptions of the world. He emphasizes the importance of tackling societal transformation with an approach that addresses all of these things together.

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Showing 1 comment

  • Edward Dodson
    commented 2020-02-01 10:01:30 -0500
    Professor Harvey,
    I assume that at some point in your studies you read the book “Power and Privilege” by Gerhard Lenski. Reading Lenski as a young man led me to Turgot, Proudhon, Marx and eventually to George. What strikes me as most important about Lenski’s analysis is the idea that all societies evolve in much the same pattern but at quite different rates of change given certain variables (e.g., the rate of population growth in relation to what nature yields to labor without herculean efforts, settlement in one place which then requires the establishment of formal rules regarding the allocation of access and control over basic natural resources, which leads both to accumulation of property and to hierarchical structure resulting in classes functioning as rentiers taking from the class responsible for production.

    It seems to me that Marx gives slight attention to the continuity that exists between the relations that existed during the long period in every society when almost all wealth was produced directly or nearly directly by labor (i.e., when capital goods were primitive and short-lived). It was clear for most of the settled history of human groups that control over nature was the key component to hierarchical privilege. Landed privilege was still quite evident during the time Marx was writing. The landed were turning their rent-derived wealth into the financial resources required to develop commercial agriculture, factories, banking, insurance and real estate. Profits from such enterprise was universally then converted into landed wealth. I see only an accelerated continuum in this process as the 19th century turned over into the 20th century on to today.

    Do I misunderstand Marx that he discounted this continuum?
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