This is basically an application of Marxist dialectic to the present conditions of capitalism. The first part of the book, “Foundational Contradictions”, deals with the contradictions already identified 140 years ago in “Capital”, updated for the present time. That time being one of another transitional period for capitalism, in which rent extraction from developed capitalist countries has (probably) surpassed resource extraction from the third world as the primary engine of capitalist development. “Rent extraction” refers mostly to the activities of the finance, insurance, and real estate sector, such as interest and fees and actual real estate rent.

Harvey’s goal in this book seems to have been to use dialectic as a guide to action for the left: by identifying the crucial “contradictions” (a term of art in Marxist thought, to refer to tensions or opposing tendencies that arise from the logic of capital) he hopes to expose lever points where the left can make some headway. I don’t know whether he succeeded in his goal, but I do think this is a book worth reading if for no other reason then that it shows a manner of analysis and argument more or less unique to Marxist thinkers.



Book cover

Metadata Info

  • Title: Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism
  • Author: David Harvey
  • Published: 2014
  • ISBN: 019936026X
  • Buy: Amazon search
  • Check out: Seattle library
  • Rating: 3.0 stars