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David Harvey - Das Kapital PT02 (LEG PT-BR)

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. The second thing I found was that I had to write a lot about the finance. And the financial system. And this was a complicated thing even back then, in 1970-71. But in writing about it I was aware that I have to answer very very simple but... And even this seemly silly question: What is money? Now, I'm teaching a class on money this semester... And I ask all the students at the beginning: What is money? And nobody knew what to say. And I suspect a lot of you don't know, what money is or how to think about it. So here is this strange situation... In which we use something everyday, called money... We spent much of our lives driven to get it... Much of the rest of our lives is trying to dispose of it... And getting something else with it. We are obsess about it... We last after it... We get greedy about it... But we don't know what it is! Isn't this a strange situation!? So, how is money created? Who creates it? Where is it come from? And why does it flow around the way it does? And in order to get that, I decided: well, I have to go a little further than page one of Capital. I have to go to the first three chapters. And then you learn something very interesting. What comes up is the idea that money is a claim upon social labor. That is it's a claim upon social labor directly or the product of social labor. It's a claim. You get it and then you claim your right by spending it. So, it's a claim on social labor. Which means that it is also a representation of social labor. Exchange value can't exist without a measure. You need something to measure it. And what you measure with is money. Now, money is a peculiar kind of measure. In some respects is a bit like kilos, seconds and all other measures we have. But in other respects there's something very odd about it. Because one it is like kilos, meters and so on... And it gives you a measure so that you can say: this is measured as so many units of the measuring rod which is money. But at the same time... The peculiarity is: you can actually buy the measure. You can't buy meters and you can't buy kilos... You can only buy kilos os potatoes or... Meters of cloth... You can't buy meters and you can't buy kilos. And you can't buy seconds. You can buy seconds of labor but not seconds. But you can buy a hundred dolars. And you pay for it with interest. So you actually can buy the measure of value. So there is a trading going on over the measure of value. Which is very strange. So that the measure of value has a value which is the interest rate. And you then have to ask the question: Who sets the interest rates? And where does it come from? And why does it moves the way it does. Thus again, a complicated answer to that so I'm not gonna try to give you the answer here right now. I may get into it later. But the point here is that money has these features... And as a representation - it's also a measure - so it's a representative measure of social labor. Now, the thing that is absolutely critical to understand... Is about representation. Is that representations represent accurately in somethings but... Invariable lie and mislead in others. I can say that to you because... Beeing a geographer I know about maps. Maps are famous for beeing very accurate in some respects but totally false in others. There's the whole problem of map projections: How do you take a globe and projects it onto a flat surface? There's no one answer. And if your answer is accurate in terms of directions, it lies about areas... And it lies about shapes. And so on... And if it is accurate in terms of areas it lies about directions. So we all got this idea that, when we look at the map, the Greenland is some huge huge space. In fact it is not anywhere near as huge as that in reality. It's just it looks that way because of the map projection. In other words the map lies at the same time as it tells a certain truth. Money is exactly like that. It tells a certain truth but it also lies. And one of the things that happens in the act of representation... Is that you represent the generality of social labor usually and initially... In one particular commodity: gold. Very often accompanied by silver. So, sometimes by metalic. So what you're saying is that social labor is represented by gold. But the thing about gold which is different from social labor is this: Social labor is a social relation and therefore is immaterial. And it cannot easily be appropriated in a material way. But you can steal gold. You can mine gold. You could do all kinds of things with gold. So that the measure of value is a representation which has material qualities... Which can be appropriated by private persons. Which I think is the crucial thing... That money is a measure... Which has a value, which can be appropriated by private persons. Money is therefore the primary form of wealth. It is therefore the foundation of capitalist class wealth. And no wonder we last for it. No wonder we struggle for it. No wonder we want always more of it. Because it's a form of social power... Which can be appropriated by private persons. At the same time it can only be a form of social power appropriated by private persons... Because it lies, because it's false. That's what you learn from Marx's Capital. And it actually leads your straight into the other things you learn from chapter one. Which is the idea of fetishism. Fetishism is about the disguise. What it is that hides a reality. Marx argued: The commodity is hiding their history. Therefore the market hides what is beeing happening to people. We go into the supermarket, we take some money - which is a representation of social value... And as a private act we appropriate the potatoes, or the peppers or whatever. And we gain the commodity, we take it back home and we make dinner... We know nothing about the social labor... That the money represents. We know nothing about the social labor incorporated in the commodity we have purchased. We know nothing about the social relations of that labor. So, in fact, the transaction in the supermarket is a fetishistic transaction. Because it hides the reality that exists behind it. Now I use to love to teach beginning geography class because... In the beginning geography class I always start with the question: Where did your breakfast come from? And it's very interesting. You should think about it. And it start watching any kinf of goal. You know, students say: well, you know... I got it from the (?) or something. And you say: Well, come on... Where did the sugar come from? Well, I don't know. Well, let's find out where the suggar came from. And pretty soon you find yourself back down the chain in the Dominican Republic... In the suggar cane fields with workers who were been paid a pittance... With actually direct producers who are paid not very much and then the middle get something... You just sadly see behind what is in your breakfast table: A whole chain of... Activities, people... Sometimes working in unreasonably pleasant circumstances in all of those cases. Appalling circumstances... So I use to like to persist with this question: Where did your breakfast come from? And I always get somebody in the third week or second week of this who would say: I did not have breakfast this morning. In which case I would then ask the question: Oh, let's talk about dinner last night... And this is of course precisely the point. That we would die if we did not actually rest upon this whole world of commodity production and commodity exchange. A world we know nothing about... A world in which we make transactions with the aid of this misterious thing called money. And with the aid of these misterious things called commodities. And what Marx tries to say is: It's the task of the analyst to defetishize... What we are encountering. To get behind the surface appearance... To really think about what it is that's going on behind the market, beyond the supermarket. And really then ask youselves: Is this the kind of world we want to live in? And if we don't think this is the kind of world we want to live in... Then maybe we should set about changing it. Changing it so... Changing it so that the exchange value system does not have the power that it has. Now, you may think this is all kind of bit abstract. But if you look at the recent crisis... Which broke out in 2008 and say: Where did it break out? And how... The crisis broke out in housing markets. So you ask yourself the question: Let's think about the use value of housing and the exchange value of housing. And what was happened to that relationship between the use values and exchange values, historically. 400 years ago, exchange values were scarcely present in housing construction. People were building their own housing or having neighbours to help them. Only a few commodities, maybe a saw, an axe, nails, hammers... But that was about it. Then what happens... Is that around something in the eighteen centuries, housing starts to be built... As a speculative commodity. That is people build large tracks of house and then sell them after they have been built. If you go to London you'll see Georgian terraces... You'll see, you know, which were built this way. Back to back housing for the working class: built this way.

Video Details

Duration: 15 minutes and 13 seconds
Country: Brazil
Language: English
Views: 48
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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