Debt: The First 5,000 Years (Google eBook)

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Melville House, Jul 12, 2011 - Business & Economics - 534 pages
36 Reviews
Now in paperback: David Graeber’s “fresh . . . fascinating . . . thought-provoking . . . and exceedingly timely” (Financial Times) history of debt
 
Here anthropologist David Graeber presents a stunning reversal of conventional wisdom: he shows that before there was money, there was debt. For more than 5,000 years, since the beginnings of the first agrarian empires, humans have used elaborate credit systems to buy and sell goods—that is, long before the invention of coins or cash. It is in this era, Graeber argues, that we also first encounter a society divided into debtors and creditors.

Graeber shows that arguments about debt and debt forgiveness have been at the center of political debates from Italy to China, as well as sparking innumerable insurrections. He also brilliantly demonstrates that the language of the ancient works of law and religion (words like “guilt,” “sin,” and “redemption”) derive in large part from ancient debates about debt, and shape even our most basic ideas of right and wrong. We are still fighting these battles today without knowing it.
  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Urbandale - LibraryThing

The most informative book I've read in the last few years. It's a very wide-ranging look at the way debt historically interplays with society(and government), and spend large portions of time ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - fundevogel - LibraryThing

Given the breadth and depth of the book's content there is simply no way for me to properly address it my little reveiw. There is just too much. What I can gladly explain is this is an ... Read full review

Contents

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On The Experience of Moral Confusion
Cruelty and Redemption
A Brief Treatise on the Moral Grounds
Games with Sex and Death
Honor and Degradation or On
Credit Versus Bullion And the Cycles
Age of the Great Capitalist Empires 1450
Determined
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

David Graeber teaches anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has written for Harper’s, The Nation, Mute, and The New Left Review. In 2006, he delivered the Malinowski Memorial Lecture at the London School of Economics, an annual talk that honors “outstanding anthropologists who have fundamentally shaped the study of culture.” One of the original organizers of Occupy Wall Street, Graeber has been called an “anti-leader of the movement” by Bloomberg Businessweek. The Atlantic wrote that he “has come to represent the Occupy Wall Street message...expressing the group’s theory, and its founding principles, in a way that truly elucidated some of the things people have questioned about it.”

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