The classic work on debt, now is a special tenth anniversary edition
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.
Debt: The First 5, 000 Years is a fascinating chronicle of this little known history-as well as how it has defined human history. It shows how debt has defined our human past, and what that means for our economic future.
Biografie (David Graeber)
David Graeber, geb. 1961 in den Vereinigten Staaten, unterrichtete bis zu seiner umstrittenen Entlassung 2007 als Anthropologe in Yale und lehrt seither am Goldsmith-College in London. Er ist bekennender Anarchist und Mitglied der "Industrial Workers of the World". Sein Vater hat im Spanischen Bürgerkrieg gekämpft, und er selbst hat fast zwei Jahre in einer direkte Demokratie praktizierenden Gemeinschaft auf Madagaskar gelebt. Graeber ist ein Vordenker der Occupy-Bewegung.
Biografie (Thomas Piketty)
Thomas Piketty, geboren 1971, ist Professor an der Pariser École d'economie. 2013 erhielt er den Yrjö Jahnsson Preis der European Economic Association.