Debt: The First 5,000 Years Paperback – November 27, 2012
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“One of the year’s most influential books. Graeber situates the emergence of credit within the rise of class society, the destruction of societies based on ‘webs of mutual commitment’ and the constantly implied threat of physical violence that lies behind all social relations based on money.” —Paul Mason, THE GUARDIAN
“The book is more readable and entertaining than I can indicate... It is a meditation on debt, tribute, gifts, religion and the false history of money. Graeber is a scholarly researcher, an activist and a public intellectual. His field is the whole history of social and economic transactions.” —Peter Carey, THE OBSERVER
"An alternate history of the rise of money and markets, a sprawling, erudite, provocative work."
—Drake Bennett, BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK
"[A]n engaging book. Part anthropological history and part provocative political argument, it's a useful corrective to what passes for contemporary conversation about debt and the economy."
—Jesse Singal, BOSTON GLOBE
"Fresh... fascinating... Graeber’s book is not just thought-provoking, but also exceedingly timely."
—Gillian Tett, FINANCIAL TIMES (London)
—Giles Fraser, BBC RADIO 4
"Terrific... In the best anthropological tradition, he helps us reset our everyday ideas by exploring history and other civilizations, then boomeranging back to render our own world strange, and more open to change."
—Raj Patel, THE GLOBE AND MAIL
"An amazing debut – conversational, pugnacious, propulsive"
—TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION (UK)
"Graeber's book has forced me to completely reevaluate my position on human economics, its history, and its branches of thought. A Marxism without Graeber's anthropology is beginning to feel meaningless to me."
—Charles Mudede, THE STRANGER
"The world of borrowing needs a little demystification, and David Graeber's Debt is a good start."
—THE L MAGAZINE
"Controversial and thought-provoking, an excellent book."
"This timely and accessible book would appeal to any reader interested in the past and present culture surrounding debt, as well as broad-minded economists."
Praise for David Graeber
“I consider him the best anthropological theorist of his generation from anywhere in the world.”
—Maurice Bloch, Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics
"A brilliant, deeply original political thinker."
—Rebecca Solnit, author of A Paradise Built in Hell
“If anthropology consists of making the apparently wild thought of others logically compelling in their own cultural settings and intellectually revealing of the human condition, then David Graeber is the consummate anthropologist. Not only does he accomplish this profound feat, he redoubles it by the critical task—now more urgent than ever—of making the possibilities of other people’s worlds the basis for understanding our own.”
—Marshall Sahlins, Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and of Social Sciences at the University of Chicago
About the Author
- Publisher : Melville House; Reprint edition (November 27, 2012)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 544 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1612191290
- ISBN-13 : 978-1612191294
- Item Weight : 1.17 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.63 x 1.48 x 8.36 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #511,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Many things that I had questioned in our current age were demonstrated as being "nothing new under the sun." The patterns of debt were/are foundational in the development of the modern world. And this not necessarily for the ultimate good if taken to the extremes which are the norm, unfortunately.
Banking and debt can help tremendously in creating a prosperous and broadly-people-benefitting economy. But as time goes on in the end the debt becomes extreme and the resultant predation have proved to ultimately destroy.
As pictured in the book the problem seems not to be in the process but in the time. The author advocates a Jubilee every 50 years, or some similar event, to permit the positive side of debt usage and reduce the negative. It seems that much of the negative aspects of debt seem to typically come at the end of such a period. Unfortunately, the process of unlimited debt creation occurs heavily at the end of a such a cycle. The debt becomes more artificial (hedge funds anyone) and onerous for all.
Graeber's examination of the history of debt and its role in civilization has forced me to re-examine everything I thought I knew about human history.
I won't claim this book is a quick read, but the prose is engaging and conversational, even when discussing difficult and heady concepts. It's the ideas that forced me to take my time, and allow this book to change my view of things.
Is capitalism a form of debt slavery? Maybe. Is it worth asking that question? Definitely.
Even when I don't fully agree with some of the author's conclusions, I am thinking about familiar topics in ways that are entirely new to me.
In short, read it. In my opinion, this and "The Master and his Emissary" are required reading for anyone who wants to understand our world.
Top reviews from other countries
Not true....and if you want to find out why is this remarkably well researched book then this is the book for you.