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Limits to Capital Hardcover – 13 Oct 1999

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 13 Oct 1999
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Verso Books; 2nd Revised edition edition (13 Oct. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859847145
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859847145
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16 x 3.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,827,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"A unique and insightful theory of capital."--"Monthly Review"

"[A] magnificent achievement, [one of] the most complete, readable, lucid and least partisan exegesis, critique and extension of Marx's mature political economy available."--"Environment and Planning"

"A magisterial work."--Fredric Jameson

"Monumental."--Benjamin Kunkel, "London Review of Books"

About the Author

David Harvey teaches at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and is the author of many books, including "Social Justice and the City," "The Condition of Postmodernity," "The Limits to Capital," "A Brief History of Neoliberalism," "Spaces of Global Capitalism," and "A Companion to Marx's Capital." His website is

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a very good, comprehensive book - that aims to 'bring together' the main theories originally advanced by Marx, in "Capital" (vol. 1-3), and at the same time develop this critique of capitalist political economy by situating it in a more contemporary context.

It is today considered unfashionable by orthodox social scientists to engage in 'political economy' - rather, the field has divided into the 'political' and 'economic' sciences. This, however, means that broader social questions are left altogether unaddressed - ignored or treated as taken for granted. David Harvey counters this orthodoxy with this detailed and timely book.

He advances a Marxist critique of the political economy of capitalism - engaging with the subject in a manner that is reminiscent of Marx's work itself: examining commodities, value, production, distribution, consumption, surplus value, accumulation, money, and the dynamics resulting from the contradictions inherent in the relations of capital. The title refers, therefore, to the parameters of capital as a social relation - to the limits of this relation, resulting from these inherent contradictions.

Harvey skillfully makes use of the developments in knowledge since Marx's time - and thus aims to bring the Marxist critique up to date. For anyone interested in understanding the political economy of capitalism, this book is an excellent source. For someone just starting one, the text can at times be a little difficult to follow - but this is, unfortunately, one of the features of Marxist analysis. Nonetheless, perseverance pays off - and much can be learnt from this enjoyable book.

I recommend it, especially for students of economics and sociology.
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Format: Paperback
David Harvey is actually a geographer, but from reading this book, one would think him one of the great political economists. Based on this work alone, he should be in the popular range of Stiglitz, Schumpeter, Milton Friedman etc., but it is not likely that such 'honor' will ever befall a Marxist theorist. Nevertheless everyone interested in Marxist economics, for whatever reasons, simply must read this book.

Harvey's discussion of capitalism from a Marxist perspective is extraordinary clear, sharp and thorough. So much in fact that it is probably the most consistently in-depth exposition of capitalism from every aspect since "Capital" itself. This also makes it hard to review it, since one hardly knows where to begin.

Fortunately for political economy newbies (and this book is definitely the best kind of "introductory overview" you could give to an intellectual person), Harvey starts at the same point "Capital" starts, then works his way through. First he gives a clear exposition of the general framework of Marxist theory: the law of value, the differences between value, use value and exchange value, the mode of production etc. All this is done quite well, though there are of course many many such general descriptions available in print. Harvey does seem to skip over the "transformation problem" somewhat, which may annoy those who consider it a major hurdle. Harvey, in my view with good reason, does not.

The next two chapters discuss production, distribution, surplus value and its realization and the relation to supply and demand.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Unless David Harvey publishes a book of the same magnitude in the next few years The Limits to Capital will be seen as his masterwork. First published in 1982, and reissued by Verso with a new ‘Introduction’ in 2006, the book explores all of Harvey’s theoretical preoccupations: Marx and Capital, the spatial configurations of the capitalist mode of production, dialectics, crises, and so on. In fact, most of the works Harvey’s published since 1982 have been deeper investigations of the same complex themes covered here. Anyhow, in his 2006 ‘Introduction’, Harvey contextualises his drive to reinterpret Marx, for it was necessary to ‘make Marx’s political-economic thought more accessible and more relevant to the specific problems of the time’ (p.ix). Fundamentally, though, and despite the intervening years, those times are still with us and Harvey’s book allows us to ‘extend, revise and adapt’ (p.xiv) Marx’s ideas to analyse our own current and seemingly endless predicament.

The Limits to Capital delivers a cogent and persuasively argued interpretation of Marx’s work. The text itself is almost encyclopaedic in its treatment of the labour theory of value, merchants’ capital, rent, fixed capital, rate of profit, rate of surplus value, the reproduction schemas, overaccumulation, devaluation, fictitious capital, the organisation of capitalist production, the differing compositions of capital, primitive accumulation, imperialism, etc, etc. Harvey is a lucid writer and the examples and diagrams he uses help explain a difficult subject.
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