Debt: The First 5000 Years

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Penguin Books Limited, Oct 8, 2012 - Literary Collections - 540 pages
17 Reviews
A fascinating chronicle of little known history of Debt Must we always repay our debts? Wasnt money invented to replace ancient barter systems? Apparently not, according to Yale-bred anthropologist David Graeber. In a stunning reversal of conventional wisdom, Graeber radically challenges our understanding of debt. He illustrates how, for more than 5000 years long before the invention of coins or bills there existed debtors and creditors who used elaborate credit systems to buy and sell goods. He argues that Madagascar was held to be indebted to France because France invaded it, reminds us that texts from Vedic India included God in credit systems and shows how the dollar changed European society forever in the sixteenth century. He also brilliantly demonstrates how 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. Debt: The First 5,000 Years is a fascinating chronicle of this little known history of how it has defined the evolution of human society, and what it means for the credit crisis of the present day and the future of our economy.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - James.Igoe - LibraryThing

An anthropologist reviews economic history in this wide-ranging exploration of the meaning of debt, guilt, human relationship, war, and slavery. I have read broadly in economics and finance, and I ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - aront - LibraryThing

It's not often that one reads a book on political economy that is as thrilling to read as a detective novel, but Graeber's Debt is just such a book. Perhaps because he is an anthropologist, not an ... Read full review

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