Reading Group - Debt: The First 5000 years

This is a past event

6 people went

Location image of event venue


Link to the online version of the book (english):


1 On The Experience of Moral Confusion (March 28)
2 The Myth of Barter (April 11)
3 Primordial Debts (April 11)
4 Cruelty and Redemption (April 25)
5 A Brief Treatise on the Moral Grounds of Economic Relations (April 25)
6 Games with Sex and Death (May 9)
7 Honor and Degradation, or, On the Foundations of Contemporary Civilization (May 9)
8 Credit Versus Bullion, And the Cycles of History (May 23)
9 The Axial Age (800 BC-600 AD) (May 23)
10 The Middle Ages (600 AD-1450 AD) (June 6)
11 Age of the Great Capitalist Empires [masked]) (June 6)
12 (1971-The Beginning of Something Yet to Be Determined) (June 20)

The purpose of this reading group is to explore the anthropological questions regarding the origins of money as well as the situated changes of morality and debt across different traditions of thought in historical perspective.

This will pave the way to a critical discussion about what money is and to situate ourselves in the present in order find creative strategies of changing the current moral economies of debt/guilt that tie capitalism together.

We will do this through a reading of David Graeber's book, Debt: The First 5000 Years, which explores these topics at length. Through bi-weekly meetings we shall dwell on each of the 12 chapters and critically assess the claims made in the book.

This week we are reading Chapter 2 and 3.

The idea is to rotate around different spaces in the city, who are interested in hosting us and in sharing together the ideas in the book and beyond. We hope to rely on the community for this so If you know any place that might be interested in hosting us, please contact us so we can get in touch.

The discussion will be held in English but participants are encouraged to read this book in any language they like. Entry is of course free.

Telegram group for discussion:

The reading group will be hosted by Julio Linares, an economic anthropologist from Guatemala. He works as social outreach for the Basic Income Earth Network ( and is preparing the pilot program for Circles UBI this summer in Berlin ( He is a student of David Graeber.