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Debt : the first 5,000 years

Author: David Graeber
Publisher: Brooklyn : Melville House, [2014] ©2014
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : English : Updated and expanded editionView all editions and formats
Summary:
"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  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Electronic books
History
Additional Physical Format: Print version:
Graeber, David.
Debt.
(DLC) 2013497354
(OCoLC)894149432
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: David Graeber
ISBN: 9781612194202 1612194206
OCLC Number: 896873054
Description: 1 online resource (542 pages) : illustrations.
Contents: On the experience of moral confusion --
The myth of barter --
Primordial debts --
Cruelty and redemption --
A brief treatise on the moral grounds of economic relations --
Games with sex and death --
Honor and degradation, or, on the foundations of contemporary civilization --
Credit versus bullion and the cycles of history --
The axial age (800 BC --
600 AD) --
The Middle Ages (600AD --
145o AD) --
Age of the great capitalist empires (1450-1971) --
The beginning of something yet to be determined (1971 --
Present).
Responsibility: David Graeber.

Abstract:

"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"--Publisher's description.

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