revisiting Harvey


This text discusses and explains the relation between the urban crisis today and the antivalue in respect to the conceptual framework by David Harvey, a well-known British geographer. He approaches this theme in many of his books, including ‘Marx, capital and the madness of economic reason’, published in Brazil, in 2018. This text uses this book as a starting point for the discussion of how the contemporary world, which is increasingly urban, is dominated by the Empire of antivalue, especially in the form of a growing debt. The antivalue, in the form of capital holder of interest, plays a crucial role in the accumulation of capital, articulating production, circulation and realization of commodities, promoting and facilitating the geographical movement of capital and the transfer of capital between economic circuits and cycles of production. However, debt is the favorite form of antivalue under capitalism today. In addition to being supported and granted by the State in a variety of ways, including through public debt, debt imprisons all economic agents in perpetual servitude. Debt follows the tendency of continuous production of value and surplus value under capitalism, a movement that Harvey calls bad infinity. Antivalue in its form of debt is also called fetishism of capital, which defines the contradictory situation in which money alone seems to have the magic powers to create more money. The consequences of growing debt to the urban crisis go beyond the necessity of solving fiscal problems of the State. The need to produce value and surplus value, in addition to the service of the debt generates urban spaces marked by gentrification and segregation. In sum, the text discusses the urban crisis today in the context of the domination by the financial-real estate complex, basing the discussion on Marx’s theory of value and the concept of antivalue, as presented by David Harvey.

Author Biography

Márcio Moraes Valença, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Natal (RN), Brasil

Professor Titular do Departamento de Políticas Públicas da Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte. Doutor em Geography/Urban and Regional Studies (Subject Group/CDE - University of Sussex, 1997). Realizou estágio de pós-doutoramento durante dois anos no The London School of Economics and Political Science (1998-2000). Atualmente é membro do conselho editorial da revista Geoforum (0016-7185). É professor do quadro permanente do Programa de Pós-Graduação em Estudos Urbanos e Regionais e no Programa de Pós-Graduação em Arquitetura e Urbanismo da UFRN. É o Editor da revista VIVÊNCIA (0104-3064) desde 2002. É parecerista ad hoc de várias revistas, incluindo Urban Studies, International Development Planning Review e International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. Realiza pesquisa em Planejamento Urbano e Regional, com ênfase em desenvolvimento urbano, política habitacional, estudos da habitação, economia política da urbanização e cidade. Bolsista Produtividade CNPq.


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How to Cite
VALENÇA, Márcio Moraes. URBAN CRISIS AND THE ANTIVALUE IN DAVID HARVEY. Mercator, Fortaleza, v. 19, oct. 2020. ISSN 1984-2201. Available at: <http://www.mercator.ufc.br/mercator/article/view/e19031>. Date accessed: 21 feb. 2024. doi: https://doi.org/10.4215/rm2020.e19031.