Saturday, 4 October 2014

An Exeter Pound: What came first: money or debt? ......... David Graeber's "Debt: The First 5000 Years"

In the light of Exeter's launch of its own currency
Futures Forum: An Exeter Pound: launch event reports
... and the showing of a film looking at how money is 'created'
Futures Forum: An Exeter Pound: "97% Owned": Positive Money campaign film: showing Tues 7th October

... perhaps some even deeper background reading might be of use:

Debt: The First 5000 Years is a book by anthropologist David Graeber published in 2011. It is a wide-ranging book, exploring debt's relationship with money, cash, barter, community...

A major argument of the book is that when the imprecise, informal, community-building indebtedness of "human economies" is replaced by mathematically precise, firmly enforced debts, widespread impoverishment and violence are common results which only a few societies have managed to escape.

A second major argument of the book is that, contrary to standard accounts of the history of money, debt is likely the oldest means of trade, with cash and barter transactions being later developments. Debt, the book argues, has typically retained its primacy, with cash and barter usually limited to situations of low trust involving strangers or those not consideredcredit-worthy.

To reduce the risks of rebellion, a Jubilee would be declared. This would cancel all debts but maintain most of the power and social status of existing elites.

Graeber insists that gift economies preceded barter and money, contrary to the popular claims of economists. Gifts incur debts, whose enforcement sometimes led to slavery, which occasionally led to rebellions.

He concludes that, "since Hammurabi, great imperial states have invariably resisted [Jubilees]. Athens and Rome established the paradigm: even when confronted with continual debt crises, they insisted on legislating around the edges, softening the impact, eliminating obvious abuses like debt slavery ... but [never] allow a challenge to the principle of debt itself. The governing classes of theUnited States seem to have taken a remarkably similar approach: eliminating the worst abuses (e.g., debtors' prison), ... but never allowing anyone to question the sacred principle that we must all pay our debts. [But] the principle has been exposed as a flagrant lie. ... [W]e don't "all" have to pay our debts. ...

"A debt is just the perversion of a promise ... corrupted by both math and violence. ... [N]o one has the right to tell us our true value, no one has the right to tell us what we truly owe."[1]

Debt: The First 5000 Years - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Debt: The First 5000 Years 
·         Authors@Google: David Graeber, DEBT: The First 5,000 Years, lecture about the book by David Graeber
·         Interview with Graeber on Debt Part 1 Part 2 (Conversations with Great Minds)
·         Interview with Graeber on Debt at Democracy Now
·         David Graeber interviewed on CNN's Only The Blog about his forthcoming debt book – July 5, 2011.
·         talking with Brian Lehr on NYC, on debt jubilees – July 19, 2011
·         "Are We Slaves to Debt?"Need to Know (PBS) – August 12, 2011
·         Johnson, David V. (February 15, 2012). "What We Owe to Each Other An Interview with David Graeber, Part 1"Boston Review. Retrieved February 20, 2012.

The most interesting interviews:

Conversations w/ Great Minds - Dr. David Graeber Debt: The 1st 5000 years P1 - YouTube

And the second part:

Conversations w/ Great Minds - Dr. David Graeber Debt: The 1st 5000 years P2 - YouTube

1 comment:

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