David Graeber Debt Summary

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In his book “Debt, the first 5000 years”, David Graeber introduces us to a novel theory about the development of human relationships, money, commerce, and markets. The author himself has direct experience in Anthropology, although limited in comparison to other great ones in the field such as Claude Lévi-Strauss, he did study tribes in Madagascar and had other relevant first-hand encounters with the science. By making use of his past mentioned knowledge, but also by drawing parallel ideas and arguments encompassing the fields of Psychology, History and Economy, the author tries to prove the reader that debt, going by the meaning of a measurable obligation, is at the core of every human group, a phenomenon that appears naturally since the …show more content…
Money became a sort of standard used to measure or compare debts but also a mean settle them. This is how I 'd like to introduce the so-called Axial Age. Graeber uses this name given by the German philosopher Karl Jaspers to the period between 800 BC and 600 AD that was marked by strong changes in most societies.

Coinage became an enduring and efficient method until war times, money as coinage became a very useful and widespread tool to pay soldiers on far away campaigns, thus eliminating the need for an additional army to feed and supply them thus Bullion arose as an article of war, not as a more effective way to settle
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The main characteristic of the Middle Ages, according to Graeber is the decrease in the importance of money as an exchange tool, being substituted by other practices of social trust, as it was also in China with the creation of Paper Money that was not the creation of the state but of individuals as a credit instrument that allowed the expansion of commerce and as result, the well-being of the society so much that China enjoyed the highest standard of living for centuries, being surpassed by, lets say, England, only until the 18th century

The main contribution, a very important one, of the Middle Ages towards modern economy is the creation of the notion of a working Free Market and credit based mostly on good faith and trust, not controlled by the

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