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    Description

    Now in audio, the updated and expanded edition: David Graeber's "fresh...fascinating...thought-provoking...and exceedingly timely" (Financial Times) history of debt.

    Here, anthropologist David Graeber presents a stunning reversal of conventional wisdom: He shows that before there was money, there was debt. 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.

    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.

    ©2014 David Graeber (P)2015 Gildan Media LLC

    Commentaires

    "Controversial and thought-provoking, an excellent book." (Booklist)

    Ce que les auditeurs disent de Debt - Updated and Expanded

    Notations
    Global
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    Commentaires - Veuillez sélectionner les onglets ci-dessous pour changer la provenance des commentaires.

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    • Global
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    Wannabe deep thinking on the essence of money

    Really bad reading (listening), D. GRAEBER takes never-ending paths to express simple concepts and ideas.. Cheap

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    • Global
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    • Andrew P.
    • 07/08/2018

    Debt

    This book, by David Graeber, has left a deep impression on me. I particularly liked his observation that some things being ‘worth more than money’ was precisely what led to a price on humans. Priceless family members as collateral for a loan (so the debtor is sure to pay) -> hard times prevent repayment, so the creditor takes the human collateral - > the creditors now must write off the debt or create a market for humans to recoup -> the market now decides the value of people through a sick, but obvious, chain of events which requires stripping the surrounding context of the valued community member to turn them into a thing people can buy. The author covers another dozen or so issues with examples to provide color.

    8 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

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    • James C. Samans
    • 14/08/2016

    Transformative to the point of being revolutionary

    What did you love best about Debt - Updated and Expanded?

    As we grow up, even before we study economics as a formal discipline, we're given a series of "truths" about human interaction - first and foremost the depiction of a world without money as a barter economy, as well as the "natural" human inclination to act for self-advantage, and these serve as the baseline for our reasoning. Thus, reasonable people applying their intellects to questions of human interaction and morality reach conclusions that can be supported by the underlying assumptions.

    What David Graeber shows us in "Debt" is that virtually every such assumption is actually incorrect, either outright wrong or misinterpreted as a matter of historical record, so that all of our later reasoning is upended.

    What did you like best about this story?

    Before going back thousands of years to begin his unveiling, the author presents us with a scene from a cocktail party where he interacts with several people - one of them a banker, another working with a non-governmental organization. It's immediately clear from this interaction just how transformative Graeber's perspective is.

    That Graeber is himself "on the left" is well-known - he self-identifies as an anarchist, and is considered to be one of the figures at the center of the early Occupy movement (see another of his books, "The Democracy Project," for details on this) - but this opening scene reveals even before anything else is discussed how the people we regard as "liberal" are really part of the same worldview as those we call "conservative," and that challenging the underlying assumptions is no more welcomed by one than the other.

    What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

    Gardner is an excellent narrator, and his tone is just right for the subject matter.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, but coming in at nearly 18 hours, that's simply not possible. "Debt" is best listened to in substantial chunks, such as while commuting from place to place; I listened to it on the train, in the car, and while walking. There's a lot here, and it takes time to think about it and absorb the implications.

    Any additional comments?

    Some people post reviews calling this book "biased." There are certainly some value judgments made by the author, but what most such reviews really seem to be doing is taking issue with the audacity that an anthropologist would present an historical record - well supported by research, mind you - that shows the conventional wisdom on which our current economic thinking is based are all wrong. The negative reviews most often come down to incredulity that someone would dare to tell us that something "everyone" knows to be true (because we were told it was true) could actually be false.

    What makes this so amusing is that the people writing such reviews, angry that their worldviews might be so completely wrong and unable to countenance such an idea on an intellectual level, rail that Graeber is "promoting his ideology," even though they're the ones left flailing around defending something whose bases have just been discredited.

    You'll get nothing from this book is your intent is to get nothing. If you respond to being presented with very detailed, clearly valid interwoven evidence that much of the world's history just isn't the way that you imagine by saying "Well heck, what does he know?", then your view isn't going to be transformed, because you're taking your current economic beliefs - for whatever reason - purely on faith.

    For those of us who studied economics and accepted its premises on faith but built our later understanding on reason from that starting point, reading "Debt" is a really disruptive experience that calls into question almost everything we think and know. It's a great read the first time and better the second.

    93 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

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    • ProfGolf
    • 09/02/2017

    Great insights but theme is hard to follow

    The beginning and end of the book are absolutely riveting. They present a highly original reexamination of fundamental economic, social and moral tenets that calls into question many near universal assumptions about human relationships and political organizations.

    However the long middle of the book is an academic treatise on several historical societies. I'm sure the author has a clear vision of how these meandering surprises connect to the core theme of debt, but I found myself frequently unable to see their relevance. So that part of the book was a tedious slog for me.

    I am going to try rereading it without the middle chapters to see if I can gain a better understanding of the main arguments of how debt relates to violence and social organization. I think there is an important message here.

    21 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

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    • wbiro
    • 19/10/2016

    Far More Interesting than the Title Implies

    After a few very dull and tedious philosophy books, this book was a lively relief.

    There is lot of interesting general and specific history here, and many good stories/accounts.

    Most curious was the theory that the barter system never existed outside of speculative fantasy (still having no evidence of every existing before monetary systems).

    9 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

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    • Kristin
    • 13/12/2015

    Amazing description of debt history

    I will qualify I am not a supporter of his protests or really ideals; however I thought this book was extremely well done with an objective perspective that made it a wonderful history lesson.

    An excellent perspective on human history and the role debt played. Highly recommend, very easy to listen to and understand.

    27 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

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    • mminto
    • 13/01/2017

    This book peeled my eyes open.

    This is one of those rare A+ books. Dense with information and history, it shattered much of what I had thought about money, motivation, and mandkind as a whole. As a former scientist, I was astounded by how many my views of society and culture shifted as the result of reading this book. Truly eye opening.

    17 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

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    • LGJX
    • 20/01/2017

    Required Reading for Living in 2016 Onward

    All of this within is important regardless if you agree with it or not. It gives you a key thing that is often hard to find: Perspective.

    While some may dislike the length of the book, it is it's very length that gives it enough room for impact.

    9 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

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    • christopher
    • 04/01/2019

    Arrant rubbish

    I'll begin by declaring my colors. For several years during the 1980s I worked on Latin American debt rescheduling. It would of course be a miracle if I thought any of what I have been listening to had any substance. Be assured - no miracle has occurred.
    As a communicator Graber leaves much to be desired. But if I understand his position correctly, he is suggesting that borrowing and lending money has a moral dimension and that if a loan does not meet certain moral standards then its repayment should not be enforced. That is nonsense. Whatever may have occurred in ancient Egypt, ancient China, ancient India, ancient Babylon or ancient anywhere else, in today's world a loan is a legal contract governed by the laws of the corresponding jurisdiction. Those laws also prescribe parameters within which the terms and conditions of the loan must fall, and the rights and remedies of lenders and borrowers respectively. Within those parameters lenders are entitled to exercise such rights to their fullest extent, as are borrowers. Whether the lender should (implied moral dimension) have made the loan in the first place or whether the borrower should (again, moral dimension) repay the loan have, in this day and age no relevance. Bankruptcy, of moral importance in our world in the 19thCentury (don't know about other worlds), lost its moral dimension during the 20th Century and today is merely a legal manoever. This is not to say that non-payment of loans has no non-legal longer term consequences . If a lender lends to a borrower and the borrower fails to repay, the lender may at his discretion charge off the loan or modify the terms and conditions. If the lender does so, the probablility is that that borrower will experience some difficulty in finding another lender in the future. It is that factor alone that serves as an incentive to repay. No amount of mumbo jumbo about religion and commerce using the same words to describe moral obligations and business ones is going to change that fact. Nor is the lender going to use that mumbo jumbo to persuade the borrower to repay, and the mumbo jumbo is equally useless to the borrower as a defense against repayment. If we allow moral arguments to hold sway in determining legal cases, then we might as well throw away our lawbooks, close our courts and dismiss our judges. For the moment you admit moral arguments then judgement will depend not on the law but on the moral suasion of the judge. All predictability of legal case outcome will be lost. That is not to say that our laws should not reflect moral values. But it is in the legislature, not in the courtroom that such issues should be determined, with such determinations being reflected in the corresponding legislation.
    OK, so now we've got that out of the way, the rest of the book becomes irrelevant. But I cannot leave without observing that while written by an academic (I assume, since he describes himself as an anthropologist, that he is an academic), the book's arguments lack any vestige of the rigor that one would expect. It contains a series of dubious theories which he announces and then demolishes with all the derring do of a knight in shining armor disposing of a man made out of straw. The whole argument about barter misses one important point - the universally exchangeable asset is work. This I do not recall him mentioning in any part of the book and it makes all his assumptions about barter highly questionable.
    I have always thought anthropology to be the second least demanding academic discipline (the least demanding is of course sociology). Mr. Graeber has brought all his acumen to bear on his subject and I suppose the result is therefore pretty much what we might expect. I certainly wish him the best on his next project but would recommend that he sticks to his own subject, which is presumably one that he knows something about.

    7 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

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    • Buyer
    • 16/03/2017

    Engaging & Thought provoking

    Well worth the price. I see the examples Graeber set out all over our world. Gardener gives a great performance.

    A little academic at times but seriously worth it.

    4 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

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    • Toast
    • 01/10/2016

    Goes off the deep end halfway through

    Any additional comments?

    The premise introduced in the beginning of the book--that the history of money consisted of a progression from credit to currency to barter, rather than the other way around, was interesting and compelling. There's a passing mention of how refusing to allow nations to default on debt amounts to moral hazard (true enough), but unfortunately after that things went downhill. Midway through the book the author switches to a strange view of the world where he insists that because we don't charge a coworker money for passing them a hammer when working together, we're all really communists (actual example from the book). All of which is part of an elaborate straw man version of traditional economics where all human interactions must be self-interested exchange, which the author constructs, then attacks for distorting reality to make all interactions fit that model. All of which seems like projecting on the author's part, since he immediately follows that with examples where he twists all kinds human interactions so that he can try to portray them as communism.

    14 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

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    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
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    • Marion Krauss-Warner
    • 11/01/2021

    Astonished how fascinating!!

    A book about debt and money systems should be a heavy narcotic.. not so here.. this was fascinating!! In actuality it’s a story of humanity and human interaction.. highly recommended to all!!!

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

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    • Amazon Customer
    • 12/12/2020

    Great historical perspective

    After the introduction I was afraid that the whole book will have a political overtone, but I was pleased to find that not to be the case (except for the last chapter and introduction).

    David Graeber provides the great historical arc of debt and money all the way back to Mesopotamia 3000 BCE. It is shown how these concepts are deeply intertwined with cultural, religious and moral beliefs, as well as war.

    Great book for anyone, there is no particular background knowledge required.

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    • Leo B
    • 24/08/2020

    Marvelous explanation of fundaments of economy

    Inspired work to better understand economy, its history and a path to a better future

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    • Kalle Grabowski
    • 06/09/2019

    very interesting and unique

    the books presents some very new insights about money and debt, that i was absolutely unaware of. Definately a must read/hear for anyone interested in the history of money and economy.

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    • Anonymer Hörer
    • 15/06/2019

    Unexpectedly great

    Different mind changing perspective on debt. Much appreciated book that will give you a new view on how debt originated and links to war, slavery, freedom and love and this connects to modern live.

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    • Pandora
    • 05/01/2019

    Re-imagine...

    "There is a shape to the past, and it is only by understanding it that we can begin to have a sense of the historical opportunities that exist in the present." - David Gaeber

    After "the collapse of our collective imagination", the author has undertaken the bold enterprise to unleash our visions: setting the 2008 historical break into perspective by composing a history of money and economy - on the broadest historical scale, as a history of credit and debt across 5 millennia. While economists get caught up in mathematical models, "arranging data around equations", and historians - due to lack of evidence - often treat institutions of social life in ancient times as non-existent, the anthropologist is less shy to develop a grand narrative with large rhythms and long durée.

    The history of money is more than "a history of coinage" - credit arrangements simply do not leave physical traces. Nonetheless, they were prevailing, as Graeber demonstrates by diving deep into the earliest written records. He puts the "myth of barter" to final rest. The assumption that barter came before coins was the pillar of liberal and neoliberal thought and has for a century been contested against by ethnologists, while being copy-pasted in all introductions to economy.

    Market and Economy, though, are not the same thing, and markets do not spring up by divine providence. Graeber raises big questions and dismantles moral discourses about debt and credit to put them into a wider context - the entanglement of military-coinage-power complexes, the role of administration, bureaucracy and religion in various different cultures and regions of the world; equality versus inequality, and the unsettling parallels of wage labour to slavery.

    Indeed, a general history of economy can only be a history of morality. Graeber is not the first to combine historical insight with ethnology, but the level, depth and broadth of discussion is outstanding. How are debt, work, money, growth and the economy really linked together? Is economy really separable from other spheres of social life? What's the impact of money on social life? How come we have arrived at the point where we are? This book offers a moral reassessment which nourishes our mutilated sense of possibilities. It is extremeley refreshing and empowering to begin to understand the context of conditions today and to perceive of oneself as a historical actor, since yes: history isn't over...

    The most thorough book I have ever read about the origins of money, extremely thought-provoking.
    I have enjoyed this mental journey. Coming from the ancient history department, I fully embrace David Graeber's approach of a grand narrative, his work highlights the impact of history for understanding the PRESENT.

    Grover Gardner's performance is engaging and helped me to better grasp the contents by his vivid interpretation, his voice puts the text to life.