Class 12 Reading Marx’s Capital Vol 2 with David Harvey
Generality – laws of motion of capital. Law like.
Particularity – its not law. Its just accidental and conjectural. Distribution. Interest, rent taxes. Wages, profit . Market exchange. Supply and demand. Competition and monopoly.
Singularity – realm of consumption. Its chaotic and unpredictable.
Consumerism is not dealt in marx.
Consumerism is a main driver for any economy. 70% US economy is by consumerism.
Marmalade. 1980S DH went to europe foe 6 years. Interested in making Marmalade. Then after every year he goes to europe to make marmalade.
Once he went to Kodova in spain.
Kent. 1815 to 1875 Newpapers. During 1840s there are suddenly reports on meeting of local agricultural society. Debates, West Indies sugar plantation owners were also invited
they want to reduce Sugar duties.
Manchester interest into corn laws, laws on importing wheat.
Sydney Minks – Sweetness and Power. About west indian sugar plantations. You have to look not only the sugar plantations, you have to look what sugar doing in briton.
Industrial interest – find way to give instant energy to workers in the factory. There come the Tea break. Big mug of tea with full of sugar. Jam
jam industry problem. 6 months they dont have raw materials. In spain lot of orage tree. Spanish like orange blowsom. But they dont like the fruit. Bitter. Dec to Jun jam industry makes bitter marmalade.
Marx said things can be autonomous, independent, but subservient.
Its very important.
We are autonomous and independent. But we cannot ignore the cliff and gravity. Because you are subservient to gravity.
Economy also like that.
Laws of motion of capital is changing over time.
There are clear boundaries and barriers. [Marketing people never tell this.]
Marx never says that the Generality never determines what happens in Singularity. But it has huge impact if you go beyond those conditions.
So this is not a deterministic theory.
Lewi Bernapat suddenly becomes emperor. This is the world of singularity, contingency, accidents.
But history also contains some generality.
Big Difference between vol 1 and vol 2
in vol 1 he comes with an abstract concept like surplus value, absolute surplus value. worker has to work more hours a day than to reproduce the value of their labour power. Relative surplus value because of technological change.
Industrial reserve army
so in vol 1 he gives conceptual things and then gives historical meaning.
In vol 2 he dont do this. Money capital, commodity capital, productive capital. No historical meaning. Same do the reproductive capital.
Interest rate is not set by value money. But it is set by market exchange conditions ie, supply and demand and by state of competition.
Vol 2 explains why we should have a credit system. If capital does not have a functional credit system it probably end in hording.
How many times marx mentioned hording in vol 2. a lot.
In vol1 it is not developed.
From capitalists stand point hording is bad. Thats why credit system came into picture. If it was not there, so much capital had to be horded relative to that which is used. System will jam up and stops.
Marx was very fluid in which he uses his concepts. Eg: fixed capital. It is not a thing. It is defined in the basis of its relation. The production. Eg, a factory abandoned and used as a condominium then it is not a fixed capital. It comes into consumption front. If people uses their house for production, then house becomes fixed capital.
He said there are times when consumption comes into generality. So he is not rigid about his theory.
The relationship between Generalization of capital accumulation and dynamics of credit and finance.
2 things are missing. 1. Consolidated and coherent theory on state intervention, 2. social reproduction. Birth of a working class child. Involve everything. In vol1 he says capitalists paid workers wage, how to survive on it is up to working class ingenuity. Social reproduction sometimes pushed on to capital. Capital has to absorb some of that costs. Neo colonialism actually is trying to avoid those costs.
3. no theory on history
He was creating an alternative political Economic theory.
In vol 2 there is no Hegel. Hegel is in vol1.
In Grundrisse, Hegel is all over place.
Money supply management system of state is completely different from health care, urban development kind of system. That part is fully politicized.
Usually treasury has a veto power on other departments.
Another part of state is regulatory apparatus. Marx deal with this. Factory act. That law id advantage to big capital. So big capital sometimes supports regulations.
So state is not a monolithic thing. Military side, infrastructure side.
Vol 1 is from the stand point of production vol 2 is from the stand point of circulation.
In vol 2 he says lot of places, “if you are in a socialist system that have all these kind of disruption.” there is a plea if you like in vol 2 for an alternative system.
But its not embedded in the idea somehow history is moving inevitably into that direction. so much of this disruption, lets do something different. But that depends on the social force.
Difference between revolution of 1848 and uprising of commune.
Working class is sent out of the cities to the peripheries
1820-30s wall around paris. Things are regulated inside paris. Outside of the barriers not regulated. Liquor etc. working class will go there for crazy festival, do all stuff and then return back to city. Then lot of working class people had to live beyond barriers because of land rent by 1860s.
They want to re appropriate the city that they built.
By 1848 workers are within the city.
By 1871 workers are expelled from the city. It was a re occupation of the city.
DH teaches in Union Theological Seminary too.
A priest who was part of the Sandinista movement. A US journalist asked him, “What made you marxist?” He said, “I read the Gospels”.
Marx made some -ve remarks about religion. But nature of organized religion at that time made him to say that.
Q. Once capitalistic mode of production get installed, it removes all other modes of production. Capital dominates everything.
DH: But its not. Plenty of room for individual initiatives, all kinds of form of association, there are multiple forms. With in the dynamics of capitalism great deal of diversity is possible. In global economy you have authoritarian dictators like in chili which coexists very social democratic left leaning Sweden. Marx never say that cant happen. Thats particularity, all kind of forms are possible.
If you say it dominates everything then there is only one answer.
But everything going on is going on a context on which capital accumulation going on. You cannot step outside of that. [my deposit dilemma.]
non capital social relations. It is there for all time.
All goods and services are coming from capitalistically organized system. How to organize production of goods and services in a noncapitalistic system.
Fetishism of organizational form. Certain form of organization is accepted and others are not. You have to takeover the state. Immediately people say you are a Leninist. You should not touch the state!
Lot of capitalism is about organization.
Organization is constructed someway or other something like a state. Or state apparatus or regulatory organization.
You cannot say, “i dont like air traffic control in hierarchical condition. So we dont need air traffic. ”
how aggregate decisions are put together in such a way that its totality makes some sense. People dont like to talk about totality.
Capital, a system with all of its issues, is still the basic means by which the world is fed, housed, clothed etc. getting out of that means.
Capital does not cover everything.
Marx is writing an alternative political economy. Not a theory of history, or theory of historical transformation. You can get some ideas of them. But its not a theory of that.
As far as you create surplus value, you can exist in this system.
Capital accumulation occurs in space. A firm where to locate. Then suppliers comes around it. It becomes a collective space. Conglomeration. City concentrated space for productive activity. Capitalism is about creation of that space.
If there was no state, then capital has to create something like a state. A region.
Competition with other regions. Political fight, military intervention.
British done to india. They destroyed local industry. And made india as huge market for cotton produced from manchester.
Political institution surrounds the productive apparatus and then dominate some other region.
Geopolitical rivalry and geographical competition
Imperialism is not separate from the dynamics of capital. British state formed in a historical moment.
State financed nexus formed in briton under Henry 8th. State financed nexus became a military financed state. Used its power for political purposes.
Woodrow wilson, great liberal said “the job of the state is to follow where the merchant capital goes and support where they go. Use military if they needed.”
marx’s theory of accumulation is temporal. Lenin’s theory of imperialism is spacial. Relationship between.
There are time when capitalistic society was under the influence of working class interest. Also environmental influence.
Scandinavian socialism is distributed socialism, not about production. They never socialize means of production. Tremendous concentration of wealth in production there, but there is near equitable kind of distribution, social service. Capitalistic system never automatically goes there. There should be political forces to work. That social democracy which is sometimes in capitalist class interest. Educated, healthy work force. Ch on working day.
Control on the length of the working day
where is the extra money come from to buy the surplus. Marx in vol 2 said since workers cant do it, the only other class can do it capitalists.
Other ways – Residual wealth of feudal classes who are consumers and other is imperialism (rosa luxumburg)
these 2 gone then who?
Marx said its capitalists consumption. DH- this is too restrictive
other possibility – Bourgeoisie organizes productive consumption, ie, expansion of the system. That is surplus of yesterday is consumed by the expansion of the system tomorrow. Which is reinvestment. That is the expansion of the system that is necessary.
There is a time gap between production of value yesterday and beginning of production tomorrow. Which is where the credit system comes in again. So speculative capital has to come in and buy out as it yesterday’s surplus value.
Its not about the capitalists class simply consuming their surplus. But its about constant expansion of their wealth and power.
Coercive law of competition also push you to expand. (vol1) and necessity to finding a market for what you produced yesterday by expanding tomorrow. (vol2)
If this system never expands, its finished.