Harvey on “seven moments”

Harvey uses this footnote, along with some comments in Chapter 2, to talk about a framework of “seven moments”

All of the seven moments – technologies, the relation to nature, social relations, mode of material production, daily life, mental conceptions and institutional frameworks – [that] relate within the totality of capitalism in a process of continuous evolution powered by the continuous circulation of capital that functions, as it were, as the engine of the totality. Developments across all seven moments, each of which is autonomous and independent but overlapping and relationally bound to the others, can move the totality in one direction or another. By the same token, recalcitrance or immovability around any one moment can stymie transformations in processes occurring elsewhere. Technological innovations in the money form lead nowhere, as we earlier saw, without at the very minimum parallel transformations in social relations, mental conceptions and institutional arrangements. New technologies (like the internet and social media) promise a utopian socialist future but get co-opted by capital into new forms and modes of exploitation and accumulation in the absence of other forms of action. But by the same token, autonomous changes on the part of one moment may impel dramatic changes everywhere else. The sudden emergence of new pathogens like HIV/ AIDS, the Ebola virus or Zika requires rapid adaptation across all seven moments if they are to be controlled. The difficulty of organising to deal with climate change is that it will require drastic shifts across all seven moments. The fact that some people either deny the problem (mental conceptions) or naively believe that there is a single bullet technological solution (green capitalism) that can be implemented without changing anything else (like dominant social relations and daily life) dooms initiatives to failure.

Harvey (2017) “Marx, Capital, and the Madness of Economic Reason,” London: Profile Books, pp. 113 -114

This image is adapted from Harvey’s A Companion to Marx’s Capital (Complete Edition, p. 197):

More from Harvey on the “seven moments” here.

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Marx on the history of technology
(External) Organizing for the Anti-Capitalist Transition
Last updated:2nd August 2020

Author: repurposingmachines

Marxist engineer

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