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Book review: The Enigma of Capital: And the Crises of Capitalism – David Harvey (2011)

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David Harvey examines how capitalism has shaped western society over the last three years and whether it is time for a change in The Enigma of Capital. His knowledge of the subject and clear writing style make the book accessible to everyone, even those that have only a basic understanding of economics.

In this study of capitalism, the text works from the author’s own Marxist perspective. It uses the recent case of the financial crisis that started in 2008 to give an overview on the theory of capital.

This method gives the theories some context and allows readers to easily relate to the subject. It gives a concise account of the events leading up to the financial crisis and explains what went wrong.

Harvey discusses why capitalism is prone to inevitable crises because of the boom and bust cycle. He also looks back over the last few centuries and shows how capitalism has adapted to overcome obstacles. The concluding chapter examines the need for change and the ways in which the change may be bought about, although David does not offer his own solutions.

The book is written in a simple and engaging style allowing readers to understand complex ideas. Overall, The Enigma of Capital: And Crises of Capitalism is an informative and highly recommended read.

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