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Debt: The first 5000 years

Rs. 2,890.00

or 3 installments of Rs.963.33 with

David Graeber


  • Winner of the Bateson Book Prize
  • Winner of the Bread and Roses Award


“Written in a brash, engaging style, the book is also a philosophical inquiry into the nature of debt — where it came from and how it evolved.” Thomas Meaney, The New York Times Book Review 


“[A] groundbreaking study…opened up a vibrant and ongoing conversation about the evolution of our economic system by challenging conventional accounts of the origins of money and markets; relationships of credit and debt, he showed, preceded the development of coinage and cash.” Astra Taylor, The New Yorker


“The book is more readable and entertaining than I can indicate… It is a meditation on debt, tribute, gifts, religion and the false history of money. Graeber is a scholarly researcher, an activist and a public intellectual. His field is the whole history of social and economic transactions.” Peter Carey, The Observer


The groundbreaking international best-seller that turns everything you think about money, debt, and society on its head—from the “brilliant, deeply original political thinker” David Graeber (Rebecca Solnit, author of Men Explain Things to Me)


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 that we also first encounter a society divided into debtors and creditors—which lives on in full force to this day.


So says anthropologist David Graeber in a stunning reversal of conventional wisdom. He shows that arguments about debt and debt forgiveness have been at the center of political debates from Renaissance Italy to Imperial 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.

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About the Author

David Graeber teaches anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value, Lost People: Magic and the Legacy of Slavery in Madagascar, Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology, Possibilities: Essays on Hierarchy, Rebellion and Desire and Direct Action: An Ethnography. He has written for Harper’s, the Nation, the Baffler, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the New Left Review. In the summer of 2011, he worked with a small group of activists to plan Occupy Wall Street. In Time’s 2012 ‘Person of the Year’ feature on ‘The Protestor’, Kurt Anderson wrote that Graeber nudged the group to a fresh vision, a long-term encampment in a public space, an improvised democratic protest village without pre-appointed leaders, committed to a general critique, the US economy is broken, politics is corrupted by big money but with no immediate call for specific legislative or executive action. It was also Graeber, a lifelong hater of corporate smoke and mirrors, who coined the movement’s ingenious slogan, ‘We are the 99 percent’.


Book Specifications

Binding: Paperback
Pages: 544
Published Year: 2011
Publisher: Penguin India
ISBN: 9780143422716


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