You have to read this book. Not only is it the most timely book of 2011, but also probably the most groundbreaking and fascinating. Debt is such a huge part of everyone's life— has debt always worked like this? Where does it come from? Why do I feel morally obligated to my debt? Anarchist anthropologist and former Yale professor, David Graeber, tackles these questions and comes up with answers that will scare, infuriate, or free you. —Kyle— Kyle
Now in paperback, the updated and expanded edition: 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.
About the Author
David Graeber teaches anthropology at the London School of Economics. 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."