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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 13 May 2016
David Harvey’s “Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism” is an excellent social science critique of contemporary society. It’s written in a popularly understandable manner, in an effort to allow quite complex issues to be readily understandable. The primary focus is the economics of capital – i.e. the inner workings and logic of the relations and processes of capital. Harvey has previously written extensively on this subject (see, for example, his ‘The Limits to Capital’). The argument is advanced that the very nature of capital is inherently contradictory, and causes crises within capitalism.

This book identifies and outlines 17 key ‘contradictions’ of capital, all of which impact upon the capitalist economy (and society more widely). In so doing, Harley seeks to explore the most recent crisis (as is still ongoing), which began in c.2008. Developing a Marxist approach, Harvey proposes that there are certain ‘dangerous contradictions’ which present the real possibility for the ultimate end of capitalism. He argues – quite convincingly – that, if we are to survive as a species, if we are to live worthwhile lives, if democracy and freedom are to have genuine meaning, the capitalist system must be overcome.

I thoroughly recommend this book to students of social science – especially those studying sociology, politics, and economics. And, of course, I additionally recommend the book to as wider an audience as possible …
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on 2 May 2014
I am taking my time reading this extensive analysis of the state of capitalism in the 21st century post 2007 slump. David Harvey succeeds in presenting the complexity of the subject in clear understandable prose. Consequently, whilst the situation being described and analysed is dire, paradoxically, the reading is enjoyable. The pleasure comes from learning really useful knowledge and David Harvey deomonstrates in this book that he is a superb teacher.
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on 4 July 2014
This is not an easy book to read. David Harvey clearly sees the end of capitalism either completely or the form we have now. That we are in a mess is obvious, that governments are not finding an alternative is true, no one is thinking about solutions beyond the vicious cycle of austerity, which cuts jobs and makes people have less money or no money at all, which leads to no spending, so demand goes down and that leads to job losses. I see pitchforks and burning torches for both the mega-rich and politicians if we do not get off this road we are on. The complete collapse of economies looms. What will come out of that is up to those in change now. But i am not holding my breath on any of them doing the right thing.This book confirmed my worse fears and offered a solution in Socialism, not the extreme Communism but a way out of this mess.
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on 7 December 2016
I've always thought it ironic that, whilst Marx himself was a crisp and vigorous stylist, his followers have often seemed incapable of writing a comprehensible sentence. As Marx's ideas have deservedly come back into fashion since 2008, most of the books and articles expounding them seem to have been machine-translated from the German. Perhaps some have. So David Harvey's book is especially welcome: it's clearly and elegantly written, largely eschews jargon, and is firmly grounded in everyday reality. It also avoids taking swipes at other authors. Others have described the contents of the book already, so I won't repeat that, but I'd just add that anyone looking for an explanation of the allegedly "populist" election results of 2016 will find it here, especially in the chapter on alienation.
Two quibbles, perhaps. The author does seem to share Marx's own rather, dare one say, idealized vision of Capital (not capitalism, a distinction that some readers may not grasp at first) as a powerful, inventive, almost irresistible force, almost to be admired for its adaptivity. In addition, although the author is enormously knowledgeable about many different areas, there are times when his grasp of history or current events is a bit imprecise. But one can't be an expert on everything, and that doesn't really spoil an excellent book.
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on 30 July 2014
Valuable, but not quite what I was expecting...

I was looking for an interesting book on the mechanics and workings of finance at its most fundamental level. This book appeared to fit that description quite well with the added bonus of being right up to date and anchored in recent world events which I experienced and even felt in day to day life. Also, it was on offer...!

Without doubt, it is a lengthy tome, so value for money is covered. The beginning of the book seemed to be exactly what I wanted - a discussion of various financial theories in some depth, without becoming too dry hand using real-world examples to illustrate. The basics of capitalism and how it works were covered nicely and all seemed to be set for an interesting and insightful look at the present and future, from an intellectual starting point.

To some extent, this is indeed what is delivered. However, the further I went from the first two or three chapters, the more I felt I was being not just taught, but canvassed. The style of the prose became much more 'first person', much less dispassionate and at times, heavily political and emotional. Without doubt, these views (for this is what they are) are strongly-held and cogent. They are also, I am sure, representative of a great many people who have been affected badly by the Crisis and who are still trying to get back to where they were before it all began, at the same time as the 'rich get richer'. However, this is not what I was looking to read and it ultimately became rather tiresome to read what is essentially a (gently moderate) anti-capitalist manifesto, when I was actually hoping for a more neutral, intellectual and 'scientific' (or as close as is possible in these areas of human activity) look at the fundamentals of our financial systems and then, what went wrong with them.

I have chosen a 3 star rating, because there is certainly plenty of information and knowledge, coupled with analysis and comment, to be had here. The problem is that I would have liked much less comment, and to have been given the facts I needed to reach my own conclusions with perhaps some observations from the experience and undoubted knowledge of the author. This is certainly a difficult balance to achieve, but it has been done successfully elsewhere.
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on 19 July 2014
really gives you food for thought.! things I have never really considered before, but have always been suspicious about begin to come clear, Can the ordinary person ever win over self interested politicians and investment people ? The motive of greed needs to be really examined Now
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on 15 May 2016
David Harvey provides a forensic account of the conditions of capitalism today by exploring their inherent contradictions, informed by his Marxist perspective. I recommend this book to anyone trying to make sense of recent economic event and understand the current system. It is very well written, rendering these ideas accessible to a wide audience (not for economics or social science specialists)
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on 12 April 2015
Another great book from David Harvey. A must read for anyone opposed to the politics of austerity.
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on 19 April 2015
Love this author and his book, haven't read it all yet but David Harvey knows his stuff.
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on 20 September 2014
A thorough examination of the contradictions of Capital. I'm a Lefty, so I may well be biased but students of economics of all hues would do well to read this.

Now, the point is to change it.
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