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Debt

Debt

The First 5,000 Years

David Graeber
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Must we always repay our debts?
Wasn’t 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 5000 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.

Imprint: India Penguin

Published: Jan/2014

ISBN: 9780143422716

Length : 542 Pages

MRP : ₹399.00

Debt

The First 5,000 Years

David Graeber

Must we always repay our debts?
Wasn’t 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 5000 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.

Select Preferred Format

David Graeber

David Graeber was a professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics. He is the author of Debt: The First 5,000 Years and Bullshit Jobs: A Theory, and was a contributor to Harper's Magazine, The Guardian, and The Baffler. An iconic thinker and renowned activist, his early efforts helped to make Occupy Wall Street an era-defining movement. He died on 2 September 2020.