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Debt: The First Five Thousand Years

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posted on Jun, 1 2009 @ 03:58 AM
This is the beginning of a great essay written by David Graeber.

What follows are a series of brief reflections (part of a much broader work in progress) on debt, credit, and virtual money: topics that are, obviously, of rather pressing concern for many at the current time.

There seems little doubt that history, widely rumored to have come to an end a few years ago, has gone into overdrive of late, and is in the process of spitting us into a new political and economic landscape whose contours no one understands. Everyone agrees something has just ended but no one is quite sure what. Neoliberalism? Postmodernism? American hegemony? The rule of finance capital? Capitalism itself (unlikely for the time being)?

It’s even more difficult to predict what’s about to be thrown at us, let alone what shape the forces of resistance to it are likely to take. Some new form of green capitalism? Knowledge Keynesianism? Chinese-style industrial authoritarianism? ‘Progressive’ imperialism?

David Graeber is an Anthropologist and an Anarchist. I thought this article would resonate with a lot of the people on ATS who are concerned with the effects of debt on our lives and economy.

posted on Jun, 1 2009 @ 09:52 AM
Very cool, am reading it now. Thanks for posting.

I love theories that takeat super-long-term looks at what most people think of in more recent terms. 5,000 years is a pretty wide lens to view anything. I also like the fact that he looks at "debt" in and of itself rather than debt merely as a function of money. Debt is more than just a negative lack. It is a force in its own right. Good to see people starting to think along these lines.

I am not an economist but I have always had a gut distrust of debt and just kind of instinctively "knew" it was bad. People laughed at me in the bubble years because I lived shabbily and concentrated on saving raw cash in a good old fashioned savings account (I've never owned a stock in my life) and buying precious metals. They ain't laughing anymore.


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