Crises of Capitalism – David Harvey – (Video by RSA Animate)

Posted on September 25, 2010 by


In this RSA Animate, renowned academic David Harvey asks if it is time to look beyond capitalism towards a new social order that would allow us to live within a system that really could be responsible, just, and humane?

This is based on a lecture at the RSA (

Key Points:

  • Five genres of explaining the recent crisis:
    • (1) human frailty (greed),
    • (2) institutional failures (regulators didn’t do their job),
    • (3) obsession with false theory (the markets aren’t as efficient as we thought),
    • (4) cultural origins of the crisis (Anglo-Saxons are to blame), and
    • (5) failure of policy (too much regulation of the wrong sort)
  • Harvey has chosen to create his own narrative regarding the recent economic crisis which focuses, instead, on the internal contradictions of capital accumulation. He notes that capitalism doesn’t really solve crises, it merely circumvents them.
  • The current crisis originates with the problem of finance capital (i.e. making money out of money).
  • The recent economic crisis is not really a crisis for the wealthy as it has actually produced more wealth for the wealthy. Everyone else, on the other hand, has suffered.
  • Interesting Factoid: One of the theories behind giving homeowners tax subsidies is that they are less likely to strike. 68% of households in the US owns home compared 22% of households in Switzerland.


If you like this lecture, you can take an entire course with David Harvey for free! Yup, Harvey has a free courseware class on Marx’s Das Capital (Volume 1):

Posted in: Video