Andrew Gamble in The Independent:
Andrew Mellon, the US Treasury Secretary during the Great Crash of 1929 and one of America's richest men, observed that in a crisis assets return to their rightful owners. Nothing much has changed. As the present crisis has mutated from a banking crisis to a fiscal crisis and a sovereign debt crisis, bonuses continue to be paid, while the people of Greece and Iceland suffer huge cuts in jobs and services.
As the head of Citibank helpfully pointed out, “Countries cannot disappear. You always know where to find them.” Once the bubbles are burst, expectations about asset values are dashed, optimism gives way to despair, and wealth is ruthlessly redistributed. Capitalism survives by purging itself of debt and loading the costs of adjustment on the weak and the poor.
For David Harvey, this is the latest of the great structural crises which have punctuated the development of capitalism and which signify that major limits have been reached to further growth. Crises on this view are inherent in capitalism itself, and the means by which it renews itself. Only a periodic clear-out of debt and unproductive activities creates the basis for a further leap forward.
Harvey is less interested in the detail of how the 2007-8 crisis unfolded than in understanding it as a manifestation of how capitalism works. Over the last two decades, he has become a leading exponent of classical Marxist political economy, his work known for its exceptional clarity and for integrating spatial categories into the theory of capital accumulation.