Monday, April 21, 2014

David Harvey: Contradictions have the nasty habit of not being resolved but merely moved around.



By this point, I have read enough David Harvey to know his house style.  Loquacious in person, his prose can feel torturous at times. That’s not a critique per se, but an acknowledgement of Harvy’s desire to be exact in his language.  It also brings about sentences of absolute beauty from time to time.  You just have to be on the alert for them.  I flagged a couple, but I won’t drop them in here without context.  I’ll just point you to pages 91, 125, and 130.

In this new book, Harvey explores 17 different contradictions – not in the sense of opposition, but contradiction where “two seemingly opposed forces are simultaneously present” (1), such as reality and appearance. These contradictions are both points of strengths and weaknesses for Harvey (and others in the Marxian tradition).  He divides up the contradictions he identifies into Foundation, Moving, and Dangerous types.  

Truth be told, I need to reread the book if I really want to get analytical here.  I was just chugging along, and finding Harvey’s points of consonance until I got to the end. My main take-away is that in the face of even 17 contradictions, capital is not going to fall in on itself.  The grave-diggers still need to dig. That is bad news for me because I am normally so passive.  Perhaps I should stop trying to understand the world and maybe go change it. Or Maybe tomorrow.