Capital represents itself in the form of a

29 May

Capital represents itself in the form of a physical landscape created in its own image, created as use values to enhance the progressive accumulation of capital. The geographical landscape which results is the crowning glory of past capitalist development. But at the same time it expresses the power of dead labour over living labour ad as such it imprisons and inhibits the accumulation process within a set of physical constraints…Capitalist development has therefore to negotiate a knife-edge path between preserving the exchange values of past capitalist investments in the built environemnt and destroying the value of these investments in order to open up fresh room for accumulation. Under capitalism, there is then a perpetual struggle in which capital builds a physical landscape appropriate to its own condition at a particular moment in time, only to have to destroy it, usually in the course of crises, at a subsequent point in time. The temporal and geographical ebb and flow of investment in the built environment can be understood only in terms of such a process. David Harvey, “The Urban Process Under Capitalism,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 2, 1978: 101-31; 124


And Polo said: “The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of the inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space. 

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities, tr. William Weaver, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1974: 165


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