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1 Hawthorne Economics- General

Debt: The First 5,000 Years


Debt: The First 5,000 Years Cover

ISBN13: 9781612191294
ISBN10: 1612191290
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

About the Author

David Graeber teaches anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London. Because of his rokle in the creation of the Occupy movement, Business Week has dubbed him the "Anti-leader" of Occupy Wall Street while the London Financial Times has called Debt "Exceedingly timely." He is the author of Towards an Anthropological Theory of Value, Lost People: Magic and the Legacy of Slavery in Madagascar, Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology, Possibilities: Essays on Hierarchy, Rebellion, and Desire, and Direct Action: An Ethnography. 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.”

In the summer of 2011, he worked with a small group of activists and Adbusters magazine to plan Occupy Wall Street. Bloomberg Businessweek has called him an "anti-leader" of the movement. 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."

From the Hardcover edition.

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Marshall Scott, October 27, 2014 (view all comments by Marshall Scott)
This book is simply amazing. I have read it twice now, and I got a lot out of the second time through.
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Looking for a good book, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by Looking for a good book)
"Debt the First 5000 Years" is a very broad survey of the world and how money has shaped the way humans interact and live. The book is accessible, even to a non academic. It would be of interest to people who are interested in economics or human history.
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Product Details

Graeber, David
Melville House Publishing
Economics - Theory
World History-General
Business-History and Biography
economics;history;anthropology;non-fiction;debt;money;capitalism;finance;politics;economy;economic history;anarchism;political economy;slavery;sociology;barter
economics;history;anthropology;non-fiction;debt;money;capitalism;finance;politics;economy;anarchism;economic history;slavery;sociology;political economy;barter;ethics
Economic History
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
8.37 x 5.62 x 1.4 in 1.1 lb

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Related Subjects

» Business » General
» Business » History and Biographies
» History and Social Science » Anthropology » General
» History and Social Science » Economics » General
» History and Social Science » World History » General

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Product details 544 pages Melville House Publishing - English 9781612191294 Reviews:
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