Before there was money, there was debt....
Every economics textbook says the same thing: Money was invented to replace onerous and complicated barter systems - to relieve ancient people from having to haul their goods to market. The problem with this version of history? There’s not a shred of evidence to support it.
Here anthropologist David Graeber presents a stunning reversal of conventional wisdom. He shows that 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.
Debt: The First 5,000 Years is a fascinating chronicle of this little known history - as well as how it has defined human history, and what it means for the credit crisis of the present day and the future of our economy.
©2011 David Graeber (P)2012 Gildan Media Corp
I was looking for an educational review of trends in debt over time. This is an incredibly biased view delivered as a smug, self satisfied rant. Not worth listening to and wish I hadn't wasted my money.
The author examines economics from the perspectives of politics, sociology and anthropology. There is some interesting history and imaginative thinking along the way. I feel that I better understand capitalism and America's place on the global stage. A worthy - and recommended - listen.
this is a fantastic book with important and useful ideas about debt and the history of human societies. never a dull moment. and read wonderfully.
This was an amazing look at the history of debt. I have a whole new outlook on debt and credit. I don't agree with the conclusions but it is making me look at the subject in a totally different way.
Gives a better account of how money, debt, and currency have evolved and what state they are currently in right now.
Debunks a lot of BS from current economist school of thought.
Seldom has a book so thoroughly undermined a set of assumptions I had, in this case assumptions about the nature of economic exchange and money that were so ingrained that I never questioned them.
More engaging than the title might suggest. A must read/listen! Very, very informative. I highly recommend this book. Thanks.
great as an audio book too. have a listen, enjoy the ride. peace out dudes
I make a point of listening to people I might disagree with. Even if I don't agree with their conclusion, they often provide new perspectives on the subject and arguments I haven't considered yet.
From this book however I come away empty handed. Some of the points he tries to make may have merit, but you won't be able to learn this from his book. What bugs me most is his habit of setting up a premise with one meaning of a word and then using a different meaning of the same word in his conclusion. This is either a carelessness I find hard to excuse or even worse a dishonest attempt to trick the reader.
The only explanation for the many positive reviews I have, is that It is very emotional and may speak to people who have already bought into the theory of the author, but I doubt it will be useful to anybody else.
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