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Debt: The First 5,000 Years af David Graeber
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Debt: The First 5,000 Years (original 2011; udgave 2012)

af David Graeber

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,862576,701 (4.18)55
Economic history states that money replaced a bartering system, yet there isn't any evidence to support this axiom. Anthropologist Graeber presents a stunning reversal of this conventional wisdom. For more than 5000 years, humans have used elaborate credit systems to buy and sell goods. Since the beginning of the agrarian empires, humans have been divided into debtors and creditors. Through time, virtual credit money was replaced by gold and the system as a whole went into decline. This fascinating history is told for the first time.… (mere)
Medlem:ArjanDeRooy
Titel:Debt: The First 5,000 Years
Forfattere:David Graeber
Info:Melville House (2012), Editie: Reprint, Paperback, 544 pagina's
Samlinger:Untitled collection
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

Detaljer om værket

Debt: The First 5,000 Years af David Graeber (2011)

  1. 40
    Kapitalen i det 21. århundrede af Thomas Piketty (waitingtoderail)
  2. 10
    The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve af G. Edward Griffin (fulner)
    fulner: Is debt a necessity that has helped advance civilization, or a conspiracy to keep the poor man down, the truth may lie somewhere between
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Viser 1-5 af 57 (næste | vis alle)
I had a difficult time slogging through Debt. It shares a similar problem with Niall Fergeson's completely unreadable "the Ascent of Money:" it mixes in the author's politics and political leanings with history to give everything this weird political sheen (in this case left to Fergeson's right.) In this case, Graeber's book covers more facts than political lecturing but it's bumped several stars for being overt.

However, Debt is a worthy read for anyone interested in the span of history from early Sumerian - Middle Ages. The sections on Babylonian debt-based society and the Roman slave society are especially strong; the entire chapter on the Axial Age and the move to coinage over debt to pay for mercenaries is good and solid read full of meaty "stuff." The effect of the fall of the Roman Empire on the coinage left in circulation and how that contributed to the Dark Ages while the smaller communities returned to earlier debt and borrow strategies is also good. I liked the breakdown on how debt goes back to wife trading and wife purchasing with cows as demonstrated in Africa and moving from that to a more generalized market -- the first people to ever price physical objects were, of course, thieves who needed to sell them for other things. And the most precious commodity is a human being.

Debt falls down in the Islam chapter and the China chapter, both which feel thin and full of conjecture. China has a big piece to play in the Cortez-dumping-silver-on-the-European-economy section but otherwise, it's glossed over. The chapter on the rise of Islam and the role it plays is dry and nearly unreadable.

What I want to say about Debt is to skip the boring parts and read the interesting ones. Skipping to halfway through the book to the Axial Age chapter is a good strategy. Skip everything after the Middle Ages -- Graeber hardly has interest in things like 18th century stock bubbles (although mentioned) and the rise of the East India Company. Saying, "Yeah this is a great book on ROME!" is good. Saying, "This is a great book on the history of monetary policy!" is not. It's an okay introduction to the genesis of debt, a great discussion about ancient and near-ancient monetary policy, and a fairly terrible one on the modern day.

Not a waste of time, but not 5 stars either. A good 3.5 star book. ( )
  multiplexer | Jun 20, 2021 |
This was a fabulous book, contained all kinds of new information. Really is about Debt, not Money. Important difference. It's definitely worth a read if you are into economic theory. ( )
  064 | Dec 25, 2020 |
This book is a wild ride. It's in my 2016 reread queue which is tentative high praise. I need to check the sources and read it again but nevertheless it's highly entertaining and surely subversive. Incidentally it has one of the best surveys of peasant life through history that I've read since I listened to the lectures 'The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World' by Robert Garland. A great summer read in any event. ( )
  skroah | Dec 14, 2020 |
A book that set out to challenge the reader's preconceptions; it certainly ended up being extremely thought-provoking. I can't remember the last time I argued along with a book so much. Uncharitably, the book proceeded from speculation (when dealing with ancient history) to polemic (when nearing the current day) as Graeber sharpens his thesis into a fierce critique of capitalism itself. Despite that, the book is genuinely intriguing and has a lot of valuable insight derived by taking an anthropological approach to the study of debt, rather than the more traditional economic approach. Worth reading for anyone interested in the fascinating topic of debt — but I'd recommend pairing it with another book looking at the same topic from a different point of view. ( )
  dhmontgomery | Dec 13, 2020 |
This author passed away over the summer, sadly, but I actually read this before that event. He was a well-known leftist academic and I wanted his take on the topic. The book isn't as hugely ambitious as the title may sound, but that was good as we got only the historical parts of debt systems that were relevant. The real crux is Graeber's theory that popular economists have always assumed--while rarely citing any evidence--that systems to track and pay debt derived from the need for something more efficient than simplistic barter. If nothing else, read the first and last chapters, where the author totally dismantles the laziness at the base of much economic thought as a "science" that I've always thought needed to be called out. ( )
  jonerthon | Oct 10, 2020 |
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debt
noun 1 a sum of money owed. 2 the state of owing money. 3 a feeling of gratitude for a favour or service.
--Oxford English Dictionary
If you owe the bank a hundred thousand dollars, the bank owns you. If you owe the bank a hundred million dollars, you own the bank. --American Proverb
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It's money that had made it possible for us to imagine ourselves in the way economists encourage us to do: as a collection of individuals and nations whose main business is swapping things.
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Economic history states that money replaced a bartering system, yet there isn't any evidence to support this axiom. Anthropologist Graeber presents a stunning reversal of this conventional wisdom. For more than 5000 years, humans have used elaborate credit systems to buy and sell goods. Since the beginning of the agrarian empires, humans have been divided into debtors and creditors. Through time, virtual credit money was replaced by gold and the system as a whole went into decline. This fascinating history is told for the first time.

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