Michael Sean Strickland

Books I’ve Read


1359 — Harvey, D. (1982, 1999, 2006). The limits to capital. New and fully updated edition. London and New York: Verso. 30 January 2023, Tokyo.

« Marxists, ever since Luxemburg first wrote on the subject, have long been attracted to the idea of military expenditures as a convenient means to absorb surpluses of capital and labour power. The instantaneous obsolescence of military hardware, and the easy manipulation of international tensions into a political demand for the increase in defence expenditures, adds lustre to the idea. Capitalism, it is sometimes held, is stabilized through the defence budget, albeit in ways that rob society of more humane and socially worthwhile programmes. This line of thinking is cast, unfortunately, in the underconsumptionist mould. I say ‘unfortunately’ not so much because that interpretation is wrong, but because the present theory suggests a rather more sinister and terrifying interpretation of military expenditures: not only must weapons be bought and paid for out of surpluses of capital and labour, but they must also be put to use. For this is the only means that capitalism has at its disposal to achieve the levels of devaluation now required. The idea is dreadful in its implications. What better reason could there be to declare that it is time for capitalism to be gone, to give way to some saner mode of production? » (pp. 444–445).

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