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David Harvey - Das Kapital PT03 (LEG PT-BR)

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. So housing became a commodity which is brought and sold in the market. But then about a hundred years ago, people recognize that as a commodity it had a long life... And that as an asset its value could be maintained... Could perhaps even increase a little bit. And as a social pacification measure the idea came up amongs the "bourjwazi"(?) Why don't we try to get workers as home owners? Because as it was said a little later, debt income but home owners don't go on a strike. Home ownership is a big defence of capitalism. Get part of the working class to be home owners and they'll not revolt. That was the teses and the theory. And pick it up in 1890's in Britain just a little bit it became very strong in the 1930's. But in order for that to become very strong in the 1930's... You need to create new financial institutions. You need to modify the exchange value system. And that is when the thirty year mortgage came in. Both in the US and Britain. And the thirty year mortgage then allowed afluent elements whitin the working class to become home owners. And as they became home owners they could aspire to becoming full owners of their homes after thirty years. And they could pass on some wealth to their children. This is a great capitalist idea. That segment of the working class, the home owners, tipically didn't vote, in Britain, for the labor party. They voted in conservative. So this was a way of creating a world of a certain sort. And of course, house ownership became the big big item in the US. One of the ways in which the US got out of the great depression of the 1930's... Was through suburbanization. Which meant home ownership for large segments of a white privileged working class... Which therefore had to be paid enough to be able to buy the housing. And this was, if you like, the boom years of the US in the 1950's and the 1960's. Based very much on the spread of home ownership and particularly... The development of the US suburbs. And in many respects that was what saved capitalism from depression. But about thirty years ago the house start to have another kind of exchange value. That is people started to realize... That you could speculate in the housing value. That you could actually get a house now and have a high mortgage on it.... You could then use that high mortgage and then sell your house... At a very large capital gain and then buy another set of houses and so... People were buying like crazy. And after capital lost all of its possibilities of... Finding anywhere profitable to go and started to pool into housing markets you suddenly find housing... Becomes the place where exchange value flows in a speculative boom. And then of course the crash comes. And through the crash we get a way for foreclosures. The result of which is that somewhere between 4 and 6 million people, nobody knows exactely how many... But, between 4 and 6 million people lost their use values. Because of the way the exchange value system is working. In other words, I can give you the beginnings of an explanation of the last crises simple by going back to those categories... On page one of vol. I of Capital. I could take it a little bit further when I get into the money stuff... And start talking about fictitious capital. That is capital which is beeing purchased as capital which is then used... To support housing speculation on values that are not realizable. So again, the monetary system contains a fiction. Not only it is fetishistic but it is also fictitious. So because money is supposed to represent social labor but because of its form... It cannot do so accurately and therefore becomes an instrument of self destruction. So again, simple taking Marx's categories in the first three chapters of Capital you can get a long way... Into explaining where the crisis came from. But you can also get a long way into the idea of a political project... As to what an anti capitalist politics must be about. If we see clearly from the analysis I've given... The problem is that exchange values are supposed to deliver use values and they fail. Then we must actually start to diminish if not ultimately abolish... The exchange value system. That is we move towards a world which deliver use values to everybody. Use values so the people could have, everybody could have a decent standard of life. And to the hell with the exchange value stuff. Get the exchange value out of there. Now, we have been thirty years now... Where we have been told the must efficient and best way to gain all of those use values we desire... Is to the liberate exchange value process. Liberate the market. We've now privatize higher education in the US. It's now all about exchange value not use value. The same is true of health care. We don't provide the health care people need beacuse the exchange value system cannot deliver it. So does Obama do? He proposes a health care universal system which... Solidifies the exchange value dynamic not the use value dynamic. Politically, if you are an anti capitalist as I've become... Then politically you have to commit yourself to say: I'm going to do everything I can to abolish the power of exchange value... In society to dominate over the use value. You then go to the money side. It's clear that money has gone crazy. And Marx talks about this in the third vol. of Capital. When he's talking about the credit system. Where he starts talking about is the height of insanity. He talks about it's the height of crazyness. And when you start to look at how the whole thing is structured, it is indeed... Structured in a way that is conducive to absolute crazy decision making. Marx sets up, in the third vol. of Capital, a very simple kind of model. There's social value which is social labor that is the labor we do... Which is meant to help others live their lives in a decent way. That is what social is. It's not the social labor that I do for myself... So labor I do for others. Not the labor I do within my family but the labor I do for others. So, the social labor. And social labor is value. Value is represented by the money commodities like gold and silver. And then gold and silver are not good when it comes to actually operating as a medium of exchange. I mean if everytime I bought something like this... I have to find a piece of gold to do it. I have to find tinier pieces of gold. Using gold for this sort of thing is unpractical. So out of that came coins and paper moneys and all the rest of it. Which in one time were considered convertible into gold. It still the case that british bank notes say: This bank promises to pay the bearer... And it use to be that promisse that you could redeem that note for gold. Right now you can't redeem it for gold. All you can do is to exchange that note for another note... Issued by the treasury. So, the gold commodity has disappeared and we get then all of these other forms of money which are regulated by banks... And in particular by the central bank. So Marx puts it this way: He says... Commodities... Value is the base of the system. The ....... above it is the gold commodity. And the ....... above that is the central bank. And the ......... above that is the credit system. And Marx then looks at the relationships between these different levels within the financial system... And says the following: He says... These each level is autonomous and independent but subsumed under the requirements of the layer below. Now, when people first read that they say: that's a pretty nonsense statement. What on earth does it mean? I mean how can you interpret that? Now, I have a simple analogy. I say: It's a bit like raising a teenager. Teenagers love to claim they're autonomous and independent. And they act that way untill they get into trouble. When they come running home and say: Please, bail me out. This is exactly what populates the financial system. It's a bunch of irresponsible teenagers at various layers... With the most rambunctious and the most irresponsible at the top... Who considers themselves masters of the universe. Untill they go bankrupt, until the system crashes and then they come running home to mommy and daddy of the State, and say: Mommy, daddy... Please, bail us all out. Which of course is exactly what the central bank does, as a good parent does. So this is the structure but this is a crazy structure. Because the masters of the universe draw immense wealth, out of this system. That is why they are in it. And if you go back to the housing crisis... What we see is that millions of people lost their assets. African americans and hispanics lost nearly 70% of their assets. From 2007 through/to 2008. 70% of their assets has just disappeared. The white population only 28% disappeared. But this is still a hell of a lot of money that is stolen. It's, what I call accumulation by dispossession. It's a form of accumulation based on robbery. And then you look at the quantities involved and you see a paralel between the quantities that were lost there... And the quantity that wall street bankers will pay themselves just as bonuses. Now, I can't say and track the money going from there, say 40 billion dolars going from there and 40 billion dolars appearing here, and say: It's the same money. I can't do that. But when this 40 billion lost here and 40 billion gain there... The inference is the some relation between the two. And it's pretty clear that the robbery, the daylight robbery, that had occurred in the financial system... In the housing market... Played a very important role in giving huge amounts of personal wealth to the wall streeters... Who then found their own financial institutions effectively bankrupt... They had to be bailed out by the treasury which means our money had to bail them out. Again, another form of robbery of the mass of the population.

Video Details

Duration: 15 minutes and 9 seconds
Country: Brazil
Language: English
Views: 61
Posted by: renan.ferreira on Dec 19, 2014

O Geógrafo David Harvey esteve em Salvador para apresentar a conferência "Para entender 'O capital'", por ocasião do lançamento de seu livro homônimo.

O evento integra o projeto "Marx: a criação destruidora", organizado em torno da publicação da edição definitiva de "O capital, Livro 1", pela Boitempo Editorial.

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