David Graeber: Debt, the first 5,000 years (Tenth Anniversary Ed. Hardback)
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The classic work on debt, now is a special tenth anniversary edition with a new introduction by Thomas Picketty
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.
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.