David Graeber gave an hour and 20 minute talk at Google on the subject of his book: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=.... Although he is a bit neurotic, his command of the material is impressive, his presentation is compelling, and the subject is extraordinarily relevant. After Jeannie and I watched this video, I immediately ordered the book.
Both of Graeber's theses are covered in this video: his thesis about the anthropological bases of our economic relations (the focus of this Saturday's discussion) and his thesis about the cycles in the history of debt oscillating between credit and bullion (the focus of next Sunday's discussion):
0 · April 4
Here is a preview of what you are going to hear from me. Exchange may be important for the morality of reciprocity. It definitely creates incentives for economic growth when organized in the form of competitive markets. But it also is logically and morally subservient to a determinate division of labor and the property rights that enforce any given allocation of resources. When exchanges among more or less equally endowed resource owners take place, exchange becomes a method for efficient resource allocation and for moral reciprocity. But when the distribution of assets is radically unequal, then exchange takes on additional, morally questionable characteristics. Namely, it becomes a mechanism for coercion and for the reproduction of inequality -- all lurking behind the facade of equal and reciprocal exchange. This is not just theory. Consider the plight of newly freed American slaves in the nineteenth century or today's so-called "99%".
0 · April 1