Review-The Limits to Capital: Harvey’s classic remains as relevant as ever in this new edition

The Limits to Capital, David Harvey, Verso, 2018 (1982)

Harvey’s classic was written in a time when the neoliberal “revolution” of the Reagen-Thatcher years was only beginning to get underway and the disastrous outcome of this shift was not yet fully apparent. Yet Harvey clearly diagnoses the clear underlying problems that led to the neoliberal shift and why this shift failed to solve the underlying contradictions of the system.

In particular, his focus on a crisis of overaccumulation and the conflict between the drive to accumulate and the subsequent creation of an extremely wealthy ruling class, and the inability of the system to provide enough opportunities for that class to invest its capital in order to grow it. Harvey was, at the time, writing mostly about the unfolding Latin American debt crisis however the many subsequent economic bubbles have only served to only further cement this as truth.

Whilst much of the subject matter could fast become dry but Harvey manages to keep the subject engaging throughout and is able to explain clearly how different aspects of Marxist thought relate together into a cohesive understanding of the nature of political economy under capitalism. it is this ability to demonstrate clearly and engagingly how the challenges of our time are, primarily, a result of a crisis of overaccumulation which makes Harvey’s work so timeless.