on 11 May 2009
"Spaces of Capital" is the title under which David Harvey has collected a series of essays or observations written by him for a variety of geographical and economical journals. The essays span the whole period of Harvey's working life, and therefore trace the development of his view and thoughts closely. This is interesting at a sort of 'meta' level, but it has the downside that the first half of the book is still very much in the orthodox geographical mold and mostly quite vague and noncommittal. Although already in the first essays he proposes a more critical geographical science, and lashes out at the McCarthyism in the field, they still lack the coherent framework that the Marxist point of view would later give to his insights.
Of most interest, for this reason, are the last three or four essays in the book. These are in fact very good and worthwhile, dealing with his theory of rent, the theory of uneven geographical development, and the way capitalist accumulation affects and is affected by geographical structures, mostly in the form of immobile fixed capital. The essay called "The Spatial Fix" is more historical, and goes into the role of space and geography in the works of Marx, Von Thünen and Hegel; this is probably the most interesting part of the book for philosophers and historians.
If you're interested in the later Harvey's insights into Marxist political economy and geographical differences, I would recommend buying "Limits to Capital" instead. This book is mostly of use as an addition to an already well-stocked 'critical theory' shelf, for the specialist. Inhabitants of Baltimore, MD, might also want to buy this for the quite extensive study on the political economy of the city that is included in this book.