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An Analysis of David Graeber's Debt
The First 5,000 Years





ISBN 9781912128792
Published July 19, 2017 by Macat Library
88 Pages

 
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Book Description

Debt is one of the great subjects of our day, and understanding the way that it not only fuels economic growth, but can also be used as a means of generating profit and exerting control, is central to grasping the way in which our society really works.

David Graeber's contribution to this debate is to apply his anthropologists' training to the understanding of a phenomenon often considered purely from an economic point of view. In this respect, the book can be considered a fine example of the critical thinking skill of problem-solving. Graeber's main aim is to undermine the dominant narrative, which sees debt as the natural – and broadly healthy – outcome of the development of a modern economic system. He marshals evidence that supports alternative possibilities, and suggests that the phenomenon of debt emerged not as a result of the introduction of money, but at precisely the same time.

This in turn allows Graeber to argue against the prevailing notion that economy and state are fundamentally separate entities. Rather, he says, "the two were born together and have always been intertwined" – with debt being a means of enforcing elite and state power. For Graeber, this evaluation of the evidence points to a strong potential solution: there should be more readiness to write off debt, and more public involvement in the debate over debt and its moral implications.

Table of Contents

Ways in to the text

 

Who is David Graeber?  

What does Debt: The First 5000 Years Say?  

Why does Debt: The First 5000 Years Matter?  

Section 1: Influences 

Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context 

Module 2: Academic Context 

Module 3: The Problem 

Module 4: The Author's Contribution 

Section 2: Ideas 

Module 5: Main Ideas 

Module 6: Secondary Ideas 

Module 7: Achievement 

Module 8: Place in the Author's Work 

Section 3: Impact 

Module 9: The First Responses 

Module 10: The Evolving Debate 

Module 11: Impact and Influence Today 

Module 12: Where Next? 

Glossary of Terms 

People Mentioned in the Text 

Works Cited

...
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Author(s)

Biography

Sulaiman Hakemy holds a master’s degree in economic history and development from the London School of Economics. A writer and journalist, he has reported on industry, politics, and culture for various publications. His background is in the development, aid and urban planning sectors, specialising in conflict and fragile states. He is based in Istanbul and Toronto, and speaks English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Persian, and some Urdu.