Saturday, August 27, 2011

Seven Spheres Conceptualize a New Jerusalem

I'm putting David Harvey's blog on the blogroll.  I've just finished the book, The Enigma of Capital and the Crises of Capitalism. It's an analysis of the current crisis which owes a lot to, but is not uncritical of, classic Marxism.  Made a lot of sense, though I want to chase up some of what's said.  The model he puts forward of "different but interrelated 'activity spheres'" is interesting.  They are:
  •  techs and organizational forms
  • "social relations"
  • admin and institutional arrangements
  • labour/production processes
  • relations with the Earth.
  • "reproductions of daily life and the species"
  • "mental conceptions of the world" 
The central thesis is that we can't understand capitalistic processes, including the ones that led us to this current crisis, without understanding its operations across the activity spheres.  It follows that any revolutionary movement intent upon expropriating capital must work across all seven.  Which is to simplify it somewhat, because this all takes place against a background he likens to watching, by satellite, worldwide weather systems playing out across the globe, with storms here and calm spells there, just as capital moves around the globe. 

And the activity-spheres is a great conceptual model to take out for a drive when you're reading the news and thinking WTF?