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Print Story Creditology
Diary
By AmericanVirgo (Mon Oct 17, 2011 at 06:39:52 PM EST) anarchism, economics, history (all tags)
A review of Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber.

I found out about this book while reading Marginal Revolution. Tyler Cowen's short comment is the best summation:

Do you seek an overly verbose, sometimes fascinating synthesis of economic anthropology, early 20th century credit theories of money, and the history of debt?  The book overinterprets early historical evidence and falls apart as it approaches contemporary times, still it has a vitality which many other tracts lack.
The first few chapters function as Graeber's prolegomenon to the history starting out with some critique of the unquestioned assumption that debt is somehow a sacred obligation. It is followed by a satisfying refutation of the barter myth of the origin of currency. This of course enraged doctrinaire Austrians who believe that Mises' regression theorem, which presupposes a barter economy and insists that money must have originally been a commodity, is necessarily true. They subsequently bashed the book in reviews on Amazon.

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