Debt: The First 5,000 Years

David Graeber
Talks at Google, 2012
Level: beginner
Perspectives: Institutionalist Economics, Other
Topic: Capitalism, economic history, history of economic thought, mainstream critique, money & debt, philosophy of economics
Format: Lecture
Duration: 1:21:09
Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZIINXhGDcs

This lecture of the anthropologist David Graeber gives a brief introduction to the thoughts of his 2011 published book Debt: The First 5000 Years. In contradiction to standard economic texts, where money and debt supposedly developed out of barter, Graeber claims that debt and credit historically appeared before money and barter. To support this, he cites numerous historical, ethnographic and archaeological studies. Those studies state among other things that debt was mainly a way off arranging or intensifying social relations among societies. Based on that, Graeber furthermore explains how currencies and markets where later created by goverments as a way to finance and solidify their power.


Comment from our editors:

As an anthropologist David Graeber disagrees with some of the basic arguments and assumptions of mainstream economics. Have a look at his book in our e-library here.

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