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Turns Out Debt is Primary to Money?

‘Debt: The First 5,000 Years’: Mankind’s millenialong obligation

Four years after the mortgage meltdown capsized the market economy, leaving millions of Americans stuck in unthinkable debt, the U.S. government gridlocked over how to bring the nation’s mounting debt under control, and Europe wrestling with how to deal with its various sovereign-debt crisis, it takes not an economist or a politician but an anthropologist to ask, “Just what do we mean by ‘debt,’ anyway?”

“That’s the question David Graeber, a self-described anarchist and activist as well as academic (Yale notoriously declined to consider him for tenure in 2005, and he now teaches at the University of London), has set himself to answer in “Debt: The First 5,000 Years.” And the answers he comes up with will, it’s safe to say, set orthodox economic minds spinning.”  Debt, he argues convincingly, predates not only money but also the more primitive barter, saying that there’s “virtually no evidence” that ancient societies relied on barter in anything like the way our economics textbook assumes they did.”

Is debt is primary to money?

In “Debt: The First 5,000 Years,” anarchist, academic and author David Graeber writes about debt, and how humans have both benefited from and been burdened by owing others for several millennia.

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