Will Karl Marx affect house prices? Is Das Kapital going to destroy the 'squeezed middle’s dream of home ownership? Will Anti-Capitalists replace money with berries? These headlines have never made it to a tabloid’s front page but if our latest Distinguished Lecturer has his way, it would only be a matter of time. Professor David Harvey discusses Das Kapital, the failure of the anti-capitalist Left to articulate an alternative and why Marxism: Mark II will make your house a home. Watch the lecture now on the Knowledge Centre website.
Do you own a house or do you have a home? From a purely monetary perspective, most people understand housing or can at least articulate its value. They can make comparisons by finding similar properties in their local classifieds or by searching online and working out where their house sits in comparison to the average UK house price which is, incidentally, around £238,2931
But a home, surely, cannot be measured in pounds and pence. It’s a roof over your head, a place of refuge from the outside world and a place to raise your children or keep your cats. Whilst the economic crisis may have affected the sale price of a house, the question remains has it affected the value of a home?
It is the conflict between these opposing, contradictory ideas, that Professor David Harvey touched upon in his Distinguished Lecture at the University of Warwick. Discussing his work on Karl Marx’s Das Kapital, Harvey focuses on the contradictions within capital that Marx identified. He begins with the contradiction between ‘use’ value and ‘exchange’ value, with a home, or a house, depending on which value you are focusing on, being the ideal example.
About Professor Harvey
David Harvey is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). He is also Director of The Center for Place, Culture and Politics, and author of several books including Rebel Cities, The Enigma of Capital and A Companion to Marx’s Capital. He has been teaching Karl Marx's Capital for over 40 years.
He was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007 and had been elected as a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy in 1998. He received both the Lauréat Prix International de Géographie Vautrin Lud and the Patron’s Medal of the Royal Geographical Society in 1995. A full list of his academic achievements and awards are available by visiting www.davidharvey.org.
You can follow him on Twitter: @profdavidharvey.