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Debt: The First 5,000 Years

Debt: The First 5,000 Years - David Graeber David Graeber is a former professor of Anthropology at Yale and he currently works in the Social Anthropology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London; he is also an outspoken Anarchist. He has most recently been in the news because of his participation in the General Assemblies of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Graeber's anarchism is not an antagonistic rebellion, but one that fits in a certain tradition of Anthropology: a fundamental critique of capitalism. That capitalism sprung from a society based on barter and that its monetary system has only made life easier is the basic assumption of modern economics. Graeber denies that any society was ever based on barter and traces the development of both trade and coinage throughout history. He covers ancient Mesopotamia, India, Egypt and Greece through to the global recession of 2008. Moving from one geographical location to another, Graeber reveals commonalities such as the use of debt as currency, periodic forgiveness of debt, and the links between empire and coinage. Some of his claims may be radical, but he presents a well organized and lengthy base for his arguments. With so many books being published about the current economic situation, Graeber's is unique in its scope. It's worth the read for a fresh perspective on the challenges of our modern economy.