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[Library Edition Audiobook CD in sturdy Vinyl case.]
[Read by Grover Gardner]
David Graeber's ''fresh . . . fascinating . . . . thought-provoking . . . and exceedingly timely'' -- (Financial Times) history of debt.
Anthropologist David Graeber presents a stunning reversal of conventional wisdom: before there was money, there was debt. For more than five thousand 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.
Graeber shows that arguments about debt and debt forgiveness have been at the center of political debates from Italy to China, as well as sparking innumerable insurrections. He also brilliantly demonstrates that the language of the ancient works of law and religion -- 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. We are still fighting these battles today without knowing it.
Debt: The First 5,000 Years is a fascinating chronicle of this little known history -- as well as how it has defined human history and what it means for the credit crisis of the present day and the future of our economy.
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DAVID GRAEBER teaches anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of Towards an Anthropological Theory of Value; Lost People: Magic and the Legacy of Slavery in Madagascar; Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology; Possibilities: Essays on Hierarchy, Rebellion, and Desire; and Direct Action: An Ethnography. He has written for Harper's, Nation, Mute, and the New Left Review.Review:
''One of the year's most influential books.'' --Guardian (London)
''The book is more readable and entertaining than I can indicate.'' --Observer (London)
''An alternate history of the rise of money and markets, a sprawling, erudite, provocative work.'' --Bloomberg Businessweek
''Fresh . . . fascinating...Graeber's book is not just thought provoking but also exceedingly timely.'' --Financial Times (London)
''Terrific . . . In the best anthropological tradition, he helps us reset our everyday ideas by exploring history and other civilizations, then boomeranging back to render our own world strange and more open to change.'' --Globe and Mail (Toronto)
''The world of borrowing needs a little demystification, and David Graeber's Debt is a good start.'' --L magazine
''Controversial and thought provoking, an excellent book.'' --Booklist
''This timely and accessible book would appeal to any reader interested in the past and present culture surrounding debt, as well as broad-minded economists.'' --Library Journal ''Graeber's book has forced me to completely reevaluate my position on human economics, its history, and its branches of thought.'' --Stranger
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