Essay on Debt, The First 5000 Years By David Graeber

2494 Words Nov 18th, 2016 10 Pages
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 dawn of man. In doing so, Graeber sustains that claims such as Adam’s “invisible hand” and Barter as the embryo of the economy are only myths without any solid, historical support and that have only been adopted by the growing notion that current economic ideas are the absolute gospel truth.

Graeber has the intention to disprove the common idea how the debt came to be. We mostly think that debts started as barter, with the idea that if an individual wanted something he would exchange something in return. May images come to mind when thinking about this, but the image of ancient markets where one could exchange a piece of fruit for some eggs can be, I suppose, commonly held. In order to facilitate exchange there was an evolution to a good…

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