We are very excited to welcome back David Harvey’s Anti-Capitalist Chronicles after an extended break.
“Prof. David Harvey is the very best of the best academics and modern intellectuals. So glad to see him back!” - M.B., [email protected] YouTube Subscriber
In this longer than usual episode, David Harvey starts off this next phase of Anti-Capitalist Chronicles by asking how we got to this point. The one year anniversary of the start of the Covid-19 pandemic has spurred a lot of reflection and analysis, but Harvey goes farther back than most to start to answer this question. Much farther.
Using the analysis of Karl Marx, Fernand Braudel, and Italian sociologist Giovanni Arrighi, David Harvey looks at the shifting hegemonies, centers and structures of capitalism since its inception in the 13th century. The centers of capital have shifted many times over the centuries, moving wealth and power from the Italian city-states of Venice and Florence to Amsterdam, then to London and finally the United States. Looking at the history, Harvey asks, what is the longue durée? What is the long-term trend that we can see emerging in 2021?
Part of this effort, Harvey says, is knowing how to look at where we're at, knowing what to name it, and recognizing the importance of naming it. He touches on this theme several times through the episode, even citing his own journey into identifying the term "neoliberalism" to appropriately describe what happened from the 1970s until 2010s. But Harvey says we're now in a new phase that still needs to be identified and named. What is the name for this? He isn’t sure yet.
What is critical in this process is to address material conditions rather than simply using theoretical ideas. He turns to a writing of Marx in Grundrisse to argue that one’s analysis has much greater potential for impact if they are rooted in people’s relationships with work, their family, and money: their material relations. Harvey says, "We fall for the fallacy of saying if we want to change the world we have to change people's ideas. Marx's point is you can't change people's ideas unless you exchange the experiences upon which those ideas are based. Those ideas are a material force for change in very significant ways."
Harvey ends the episode by addressing his fears of how capitalism will come in on the trail of disaster and will utilize the chaos and the mess to enrich the very rich. He says if that is the kind of world we live in, then we must name it in order to be able to combat it. “One of the purposes of analysis, like the kinds I'm trying to put forward here, is to try to create an understanding of the world in which we can start to think through opposition, and we can start to think about how to do things differently.”
We couldn’t agree more. Join us in this effort and in this journey. Subscribe to Democracy at Work’s YouTube channel to get notifications of new content including the next episode of David Harvey’s Anti-Capitalist Chronicles.
“This was excellent. Thank you.” - K.T., [email protected] YouTube Subscriber
“As usual, brilliant and edifying, so glad you are back.” - D.O., [email protected] YouTube Viewer