david graeber


intro’d to David while reading Kevin Carson‘s desktop – money revelations, debt, debt (book), et al – ch 5

re-intro here:

oct 2014

Russell Brand And David Graeber Talk ‘Mafia Capitalism’ And Cancelling Debt


19 min – wow.. 1 out of 7 have bailiff order on them?..

drone – debt resistors operational manual

20 min – holding the system up is scare propaganda..

23 min – has to be international.. don’t think it can happen through election – david

30 min – grassroots – but aren’t we on a bit of a time clock? via russell

terrified of people coming together and realizing their neighbors aren’t crazy, no longer needing politicians.. – david

32 min – let’s start experimenting with like – debt cancelation.. money is just a promise – david

ha. furious – that’s the logic of debt

this are things we made up – we can make them up different – david

debt cancellation, basic income, (the rolling jubilee – reset button)

i’m an anarchist – so i believe in solutions that involve the govt doing less – david


46 min – key is to help people realize they are capable.. the moment you realize things aren’t impossible – changes entire coneption – everything else falls into place – david

perhaps prison as service – norden.. ness – 51 min ish

55 min – the word anarchy frightens people in power so they make sure everyone else is frightened too

59 min – talking what kinds of debts to wipe out

1:01 – talking pluralistic ignorance – once we bold up – govt already has a way to cancel all debts et al..

1:04 – we just need to open it up – we don’t have to have it all figured out – then it wouldn’t be democratic – inventors never know what they’re going to invent.. – david

1:12 – banks have to loan – that’s how they get their money

if everybody stopped paying debts tomorrow – that would mean we’re all already connected enough – to have made that happen – the moment we get together and coordinate – games over.. that’s why it’s so important for there to be means to keep us apart

1:14 – a debt – a promise that’s been perverted (because non-changeable) .. society is just a bunch of promises.. so there can be good debt

1:16 – why people don’t care – because this isn’t really a democratic system


and then i dove in..

from laws\ish page:

graeber bi law – graeber and jacobson on bi

graeber can’t know law

graeber care/free law

david on direct action

david on dawn of everything

graeber as a guide law

graeber exchange law

graeber f&b same law

graeber fear of play law

graeber grant law

graeber increase b law

graeber job\less law

graeber make it diff law

graeber man with stick law

graeber measure law

graeber mechs to hear law

graeber min\max law

graeber model law – graeber revolution law

graeber parent/care law

graeber policy law

graeber rethink law

graeber revolution lawgraeber model law

graeber stop at enough law

graeber unpredictability/surprise law

graeber unrealistic law

graeber values law

graeber violence in care law

graeber violence/quantification law

graeber wealth law

infra for graeber anarchism law: 2 convos

wengrow/graeber top down law

radical econ

www (berners-lee, palmer, graeber)

giant puppets

david on science of people

david & david on stupid savage

david on mutual aid

on david dying

museum of care – nika dubrovsky

david on care and freedom

fragments of an anarchist anthropology

david is funny

david on fun

david on consensus

david on boredom

david on mech to hear

david on voting

david on war

dawn of everything:

david on dawn of everything

graeber readingsgraeber and wengrow freedom law

doe as anarchist history (article)

as if already free ness

david on communism – communism of everyday life

david on discovery

david on utopia – huge – let’s do that

david on creative refusal

nika and david on wealth

nika on david

nika and david on wealth

nika and david on infra

david on tenure not tenure

graeber’s possible worlds

david on human economies

david on hate

david on debt slavery freedom

david on consumption

david on B and books

david on radical alterity

david on anarchism ness

david on possibility of pleasure

david on addiction to work

david on value

david on bullying

david on turner’s fire of jag

david on finance

david on globalization

david on beyond power/knowledge – [same piece: david on power, ignorance & stupidity]

david on rethinking resistance

david on magic

david on fight club

david on marshall

[see sub categories of ‘david graeber ons’ on the d-words-people page for more complete list]



debt notes – debt (book)

utopia of rules

utopia of rules backwards

bullshit jobs – bs jobs from birth – managerial feudalism – compensatory consumerism

dead zones of imagination (essay w/writings in utopia of rules)

theory of value

revolution in reverse

caring labor and interpretive labor

as if already free ness

the democracy project

human history – w/David Wengrow (also here – notes from their mar 2018 talk on slavery rejection)

on kings

lost people

another art world

direct action an ethnography

possibilities – ch 11 – there never was a west

beyond the monastic self

nika on david

lse graeber series

graeber and big questions

utopian guide

fragments of an anarchist anthropology

dawn of everything (book)

to have is to owe

graeber tweet archive

nika & noam on pirates – pirate enlightenment

ayça on david’s possibilities

anarchy in manner of speaking – freedom and anarchy

manners, defer, private property

foreword to stone age econ – [stone age econ]

managerial feudalism to revolt of caring classes

why we founded

graeber interview w thwaite

anarchism or rev movement

– – –


from ch 8 in Russell‘s revolution:

i asked him (David) if we could formulate a centralized revolutionary movement to coordinate transition… “well, my own approach is to avoid constituting any sort of new authority, … my dream is to create a thousand autonomous institutions that can gradually take over the business of organizing everyday life, pretty much ignoring the authorities, until gradually the whole apparatus of state comes to seem silly, unnecessary, ...


feb 2012:

Authors@Google: David Graeber, DEBT: The First 5,000 Years

2 min – iwan baan ness in madagascar

4 min – about paying debt back – 12ish responses depending on who you’re talking to.. striking – this common sensical about – you have to pay your debt.. what is it about debt that you can imagine – this moral power – that you wouldn’t otherwise.. perhaps – 1) no one has ever written the history of debt (history of money – turns out to be history of coinage.. or possible credit – not exactly the same thing)

7 min – most of our common sense about debt is wrong – that convo has been happening for about 5000 yrs, ie: treating paying of debt as morality.. or morality as paying of debts

13 min – what’s divine is not paying debts, what’s divine is forgiving debts

when you do think of debt is sin.. the question is – which one is the sinner..

18 min ? – if you’re working on the level of exchange… you only have relations when someone’s done something wrong.. debt becomes basis of sociality.. debt keeps you needing to see each other – to pay it back

i think this is touching on what rubs me wrong about Charles – the obligation piece.

20 min – community means everybody owes everybody else and everybody remembers what they owe

21 min – a debt: something you can phrase in quantifiable terms.. to not transferable..

22 min – pet peeve – w/adam smith story from 1770 – defined the text books – and they’re not true but can’t get it changed.. ie: arrangement for a swap, but can’t make a deal, so settle on something everyone wants, ie: gold. then virtuous circle.. govt gets involved.. barter, money, credit, ….  one big problem, we’ve never found a single community that goes, i’ll give you 40 chickens for that cow..

25 min – problem: reason story wouldn’t happen. assuming people only deal with spot trade.. why would they do that.. they’re neighbors… what would really happen – if you praise someone else’s possession – it’s almost impossible to not give it to the person that praises it. only one way out – to say – it was a gift.

29 min – so how does that turn into a formula/numbers..? when someone gets angry… that association of money and violence is a constant. explains why debt tends to take on this powerful hold.

32 min – if you are in a situation of inequality.. way to make victim seem like the one to blame – is to frame it in debt.

33 min – problem – language is like translation of a business deal – so you should be on equal levels.. so always blows up. .. debt immobilizes people because it says: we are supposed to be equals – but you messed up – and owe me.

36 min – you’re stuck with the language of debt as a way to talk about politics

38 min – actually in history – credit comes first

41 min – virtual money – is the original form, the barter from smith happens when they run out of money and they try to barter as if they had money (ie: with formulas/numbers)

42 min – money in physical sense is actually invented to pay soldiers

44 min – if (adam smith) money came into being to take care of the ease in exchange.. then why did taxes appear. but rather.. this makes perfect sense if you’re trying to feed an army. tax – a way of creating market. they called it moralizing tax – teach people value of a war.

55 min – credit cards 71, … micro credit to save world.. blows up in 2008

56 min – have to have a protection mechanism… ie: period after which you dismiss debts.. we basically did it backwards.. protecting creditors ..  we have all these laws so that we don’t sell ourselves to others.. and yet if historians came to visit – they’d say we’re here.  we do still have time to get it right.

59 min – if democracy means anything now – it means everybody gets to weigh in on what debt, et al, means

1:01 – it’s interesting that our notions of what money should do goes back to medieval thinking, ie: 5% investment rate. i’m a radical – so i’m not going to be stipulating rates of return.. i’d throw it out.. jubilee ish. because that would allow us to re conceptualize what we’re doing and rethink money.

1:04 –  think we should start thinking about completely different systems.. radically different.

1:05 – who’s it all owed to – everyone seems to be in debt. since 70’s – theory: all social problems can be solved through debt

1:19 – paying a debt means you plan to never see the person again

1:21 – commerce gives us this idea that we want to frame everything in commercial terms..  once we all agree to it ..we realize we can’t.


2012 interview on debt and a bit on occupy:


debt (book)

no more waiting (book recommend to library) and reading reviews of reviews (recorded below) … finally got the book. thank you seth.

notes from book moved onto  debt (book)  page



audio? – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItI4pXX5E14

7 min – if a bank were guaranteed to get its money back no matter what it did – the whole system would fall

10 min – loan from citibank.. and 10000 deaths in madagascar

37 min- the intimate link of violence and quantification

50 min – reduce all human relations to exchange

52 min – ch 2 – myth of barter

57 min – agreed upon exchange negates reason for double coincidence of wants

1:40 – money created by bureaucrats – to keep track

1:45 – the story of barter wrong.. actually more in the reverse: first – virtual money came first, coins much later, barter – accidental exchange for money

1:45 – ch 3 – primordial debts

2:13 – what we call money isn’t a thing at all

2:15 – oz

2:44 – everything of us is because of others… there is no way to repay that. imagining repaying a debt to your parents seems odd. do we really want to be a people that owes others.

3:02 – perhaps best to say – we all owe a debt to the universe (or whatever) but no one can tell the individual how to repay it.. individual free to determine that.. as far as i know – noone has followed that thinking

3:04 – all these ideas, that there is a society (nationality), that we owe a debt, …. all from primordial debt peoples…

3:10 – on market (born with zero balance) vs state (begin with debt) – not separate as many say – as state created market and market depends on state

ch 4 – cruelty and redemption

3:22 – german word for debt and guilt are the same – schuld

3:29 – on a people that don’t believe in saying thank you  –

being truly human means refusing to measure

graeber measure law


ch 5 – brief treatise on the moral grounds of economic relations

3:58 – on our basic assumptions.. ie: economic system; reciprocity; if so .. then debt.

4 :06 – defining communism as – from each according to their abilities to each according to their needs

ended like mid sentence4:40ish

– – –

– –

– –

debt via


ch 2 – In fact, our standard account of monetary history is precisely backwards. We did not begin with barter, discover money, and then eventually develop credit systems. It happened precisely the other way around.

ch 3 – In other words, the battle between state and market, between governments and merchants is not inherent to the human condition.

ch 4 – To tell the history of debt, then, is also necessarily to reconstruct how the language of the marketplace has come to pervade every aspect of human life—even to provide the terminology for the moral and religious voices ostensibly raised against it.

One might even say that it’s one of the scandals of capitalism that most capitalist firms, internally, operate communistically.

ch 5 – In fact, communism is the foundation of all human sociability. It is what makes society possible.

exchange is about equivalence.

If we insist on defining all human interactions as matters of people giving one thing for another, then any ongoing human relations can only take the form of debts.

ch 11 – We could no more have a universal world market than we could have a system in which everyone who wasn’t a capitalist was somehow able to to become a respectable, regularly paid wage laborer with access to adequate dental care. A world like that has never existed and never could exist. What’s more, the moment that even the prospect that this might happen begins to materialize, the whole system starts to come apart.

so does that mean you don’t see a money\less world..?

ch 12 – By the end of World War II, .. working class uprising .. had largely disappeared. This was because class war was suspended by a tacit settlement. To put it crudely: the white working class of the North Atlantic countries, from the United States to West Germany, were offered a deal. If they agreed to set aside any fantasies of fundamentally changing the nature of the system, then they would be allowed to keep their unions, enjoy a wide variety of social benefits (pensions, vacations, health care …), and, perhaps most important, .. know that their children had a reasonable chance of leaving the working class entirely.

What is a debt, anyway? A debt is just the perversion of a promise. It is a promise corrupted by both math and violence.



Charlie Rose – A Conversation With Anarchist David Graeber

protesting – asking for the powers that be to change

6 min – anarchism – acting as if you are already free, democracy w/o the govt. longer version: commitment to the idea that it would be possible to have a society based on principle: self-organization, voluntary association and mutual aide.

8 min – process is a good word for anarchism..  doing it in other ways shows what’s possible..  opposed to international borders

15 min – why it’s so important to put anarchy on our radar – because it means to re imagine the way we do things..  – when asked to speculate – d says – i think we have no idea. we can’t guess. but we can try to create positive examples of alternatives..


Published on Feb 5, 2014

David Graeber from the London School of Economics giving his keynote speech “Anthropology and the rise of the professional managerial class” in the anthropological Knots Symposium. Discussant: Jane Cowan, University of Sussex. Helsinki 15th of January 2014.

how people have come to imagine their class positions

if you think basic political structures are there for you (ie: police) – you are middle class

a couple weeks ago – cops off campus demo – people 2 blocks away – had no idea what was going on – marketization of uni and police tactics..

7 min – there’s a sense that democracy is seen as following these institutional rules – so anyone proceeding outside those rules is seen as violating just for that reason..even if rules are inexplicably set up.. ie: student banned by police from organizing protesting because he hadn’t asked for permission to do a march. the most anti-democratic stuff possible but if it’s legally constituted.. can’t see anything the police do as violated..

the interesting question is how anthropology gets into this

madagascar – knot in your hair vs string around finger – figuring things out by talking to people you might not normally talk to .. solving through talking to others

16 min – acting as if we are already free, ie: we ought to be having a lot more fun.. seeing that sense of play

18 min – peace with yourself that comes with having privilege your entire life

19 min – what would it take to restore that sense of people with ourselves…

21 min – our world is not the only way – how might we reimagine another world.. from one of David’s books


mar 2014:

money is just an iou and banks are rolling in it


What this means is that the real limit on the amount of money in circulation is not how much the central bank is willing to lend, but how much government, firms, and ordinary citizens, are willing to borrow.


Just consider what might happen if mortgage holders realised the money the bank lent them is not, really, the life savings of some thrifty pensioner, but something the bank just whisked into existence through its possession of a magic wand which we, the public, handed over to it.


oct 2014

tweeted during a convo after his short cross-talk with Piketty (mistalk about slavery et al):

money is created by making loans: bankofengland.co.uk/publications/D…

oct 2014
on occupy democracy:


Basic Income and Innovation


Published on Dec 1, 2014

Excerpts from TheBaffer.com’s “Where did the Future Go?” – a discussion with David Graeber and Peter Thiel. This video is a compilation of Basic Income related sentiments from David Graeber expressed during this conversation

any functional society has something to do with brilliant, imaginative, but extremely impractical people.. we don’t know what to do with them anymore.. we used to put them in academia – but not academia is all about self- marketing

to max unexpected breakthroughs: get a bunch of people – give them resources they need.. leave them alone… most will end up with nothing, but a few will come up with something that will even surprise themselves

to min unexpected breakthroughs: take same people – tell them they won’t get any resources at all unless they spend the majority of their time competing with one another to prove to you that they already know what they’re going to create..

graeber min\max law

luxury ness

one thing not scarce

one thing not scarce in the world, is imaginative people with possible solutions to intractable problems.

majority of these people are being told everyday to shut up..

if one could unleash that creativity – i think a lot of those things we think of as problems would seem ridiculous..

exactly. set people free for a year.. let’s just see.. no?

music in england has slowed – because ran out of money..

basic income would leave it up to people on the broad scale – would be a much more effective in creating the conditions where all of us want to see this happen. ..at the moment the system we have is very much about tying people down..

you have to guarantee that people aren’t debt slaves.. before they are going to be free to form those voluntary associations…

full hour video:

Where Did the Future Go?
David Graeber vs. Peter Thiel

happened sept 2014


what happened to the second half of the 20th century

not just the bureaucratization of research – but a shift in the nature of b in the 70s… a corperatization of b..

8 min – min/max stuff

10 min – Peter – heavy on bits low on atoms… we could be doing so much more – like 40 yrs of stagnation – more than – why did this happen – what should be done now

what does it mean to be an anarchist – start thinking as if you are already free

starting paypal – didn’t hire any lawyers for first year because we knew they would tell us we couldn’t do it.. broke alot of rules.. in order to do..

i think – convincing a small # of people that a future could look really different – rather than trying to get a collective move.

we’re not going to get to mars by having endless debates.. an urgency to solving these problems.. not willing to wait for some mass movement.. just want to get going on it right now

how mars?

end of Peter

a cultural revolution w/o a social revolution

16 min – back to David – you don’t need to change people’s minds.. you change people’s minds by doing something..

20 min – – culture of stagnation a result of a culture of power

2o min – Peter – the people nimble in the art of writing for grants are displacing the idiosyncratic thinkers.. so screwed up b… so where should we be applying our energies.. i used to believe – all sorts of lobbying for internal change.. i concluded much more effective encouraging people to leave.. yes there are problems… but they are not where i want to put the focus of change…

22 min – David – to what degree can you work inside existing institutions… central question – what are most people going to do

24 min – Peter – where i disagree – is i get the sense that your idea is always a bigger thing – that will be more complicated in the long run – i think that is always what’s being underestimated

26 min – David – people don’t mostly understand is decentralization

Peter – things i like about that politically, but i’d like get back to the tech.. could you get people to the moon with a radically decentralized chaotic system

David – not exactly chaotic.. frankly.. creating very large scale is that hard. it’s really hard to create tiny structures. i totally agree on doing things now.

Peter – i’m not aware of any tech start up or research project that came about in this style. (radically decentralized) .. i think one’s that work are hierarchical.. start up is really far from democracy – people don’t get to vote on them

David – problem is we grow up being told we are in a democratic society.. a problem both of us.. it remains true that govt is source of most basic research (56%) corporate (16%), rest is unis and non profit. so start up is a nice model for certain things.. but i don’t think we have to assume that’s the only way for break throughs..

Peter – i think there’s very much broken in our society.. i can’t imagine a straight forward way to change these things from within. how do we get to mars? change the nasa funding.. very hard to do.

David – determination – nasa did pretty well getting to the moon. i agree it would be great to have somebody working on these things. but i also like to see a society where everyone is working on it. there has to be somebody who has an idea that neither one of us have thought of. the problem is those people are being told to shut up.. if we could unleash that..

32 min – David – there’s people out there that could solve these problems.. but they’re sitting around trying to figure out how to pay their bills..

or sitting at school.. or… imagine if we just tried something different.

33 min – Peter – all you have to do is go out the front door. i want to push back on the idea that people could do more. there are a lot of ways for people to do things. we’re not going to start by changing b at nasa or govt

35 min – Peter – i would define myself as a political atheist

David – so many know that so much are based on false premises

Peter – i’ll disagree with the money… i do think there is such a thing as an economy .. there is such a thing as scarcity – so you have a very complicated way of allocating things.. and it’s true we could print money – that’s not a solution to scarcity. when you print more money you don’t understand the underlying nature of the real goods.. i think the real problem is the problem of scarcity.. we need all sorts of new tech to enable that to happen. economics was the science of how to economize

David – i’m not saying we should print money – i’m saying we should ask what it means. money isn’t just measuring the value of stuff, it’s measuring action value.. creativity value…

39 min – David – basic income – leave it up to people – to create the conditions that both of us want to see happen.  people think of ed not as creative expression.. but as a means to job.

Peter – scarcity is a major problem

42 min – David – if we don’t consciously act in ways to not reinforce the system.. we actually reinforce it. it’s great that there are pockets of people

Peter – i don’t think this is the most constructive thing to be doing. (the larger picture)

David – this is still largely in the financial sector

Peter – google has displaced goldman sacs.. there are problems in silicon .. but i think it’s the place that is mostly trying to do things..

David – is silicon valley actually posing a solution to that larger structure

Peter – no – but i would argue again.. we’re not going to change the structures.. a lot of things look like they are too small initially… in politics you have to convince too many people..

David –

Peter – i think there are huge problems to solve – spacex – and military


Peter – all the mass movements… didn’t get us to where we want.. there’s something to be said to figure out ways to stop another attack. there was no tech to stop terrorism in 2001

– –

both and – with networked individualism…  art ist ic stigmergy

and.. i think i found your flying cars… in broken feedback loop


[i wish the library had these books.. or i could grab a copy somewhere/how – i’ve recommended democracy project and 5000 yr debt]

from the democracy project (2013):


there’s nothing that scares the rulers of america more than the prospect of democracy breaking out

wondering what else we assume cannot really happen actually can

– – – –

fragments of an anarchist anthropology (2004) (finally got this one.. notes in link)


Everywhere anarchism is on the upswing as a political philosophy—everywhere, that is, except the academy. Anarchists repeatedly appeal to anthropologists for ideas about how society might be reorganized on a more egalitarian, less alienating basis. Anthropologists, terrified of being accused of romanticism, respond with silence . . . . But what if they didn’t?

This pamphlet ponders what that response would be, and explores the implications of linking anthropology to anarchism. Here, David Graeber invites readers to imagine this discipline that currently only exists in the realm of possibility: anarchist anthropology.

– – –

– –

superheroes as non-creative. only playing defense. villains as only creatives. supporting the potential for creativity/freedom-of-arbitrariness to veer toward violence/crime/muck ness.




@FinalOverdrive that’s why I define the practical meaning of deregulation in the book as “changing the regulations in a way that I like”

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davidgraeber/status/571841891295207424

– – –

@omnijack101 usually justifies exploitation. But this actually IS the means of exploitation: profits are from fines for not living up to it.

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davidgraeber/status/572025334205431808


mar 2015:

Capitalism’s secret love affair with bureaucracy


notes via audio:

as the paperwork spreads we securitize..

lucy: i think you’re flattering bureaucracy..  david: experimented with it; used library w/o legit id..

lucy: one of the beauties of it is that it is impersonal


Kevin on utopia of rules:



find/follow David:

link twitter

I’m an anthropologist, sometimes I occupy things & such. I see anarchism as something you do not an identity so don’t call me the anarchist anthropologist

wikipedia small

David Rolfe Graeber (/ˈɡrbər/; born 12 February 1961) is an American anthropologist, author, anarchistand activist who is currently Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics.

2020 – rip

Specialising in theories of value and social theory, he was an assistant professor and associate professorof anthropology at Yale University from 1998 to 2007, although Yale controversially declined to rehire him. From Yale, he went on to become a Reader in Social Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London from Fall 2007 to Summer 2013.

Graeber has been involved in social and political activism, including the protests against the 3rd Summit of the Americas in Quebec City in 2001 and the World Economic Forum in New York City in 2002. He is also a leading figure in the Occupy Wall Street movement.

His book on the Occupy movement and related issues was released as The Democracy Project in 2013. One of the points he raises in this book is the increase in what he calls bullshit jobs, referring to meaningless employment. He sees such jobs as being “concentrated in professional, managerial, clerical sales, and service workers”. As he explained also in an article in STRIKE! magazine:

In the year 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that, by century’s end, technology would have advanced sufficiently that countries like Great Britain or the United States would have achieved a 15-hour work week. There’s every reason to believe he was right. In technological terms, we are quite capable of this. And yet it didn’t happen. Instead, technology has been marshaled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more. In order to achieve this, jobs have had to be created that are, effectively, pointless. Huge swathes of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed.The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.

married to nika dubrovsky

buckminster ness

earn a living ness


dec 2014 – after 10 day visit to Rojava:

this is a genuine revolution..


I’ve spent my life thinking about how we might be able to do things like this in some remote time in the future and most people think I’m crazy to imagine it will ever be. These people are doing it now. If they prove that it can be done, that a genuinely egalitarian and democratic society is possible, it will completely transform people’s sense of human possibility. Myself, I feel ten years younger just having spent 10 days there.


It seems to me for that very reason it’s our responsibility, as intellectuals, or just as thoughtful human beings, to try to at least think about what something better might look like. And if there are people actually trying to create that better thing, it’s our responsibility to help them out.


bullshit jobs ness

jan 2015 – pointless jobs – 200 tube posters:


I remember being very struck by Dostoyevsky, who was in a Russian prison camp, and he said if you really want to destroy someone psychologically, much worse than through physical torture, just make up a completely meaningless form of work. You know, have them take water from some giant vat and then move it back to the first vat again. Have them do that all day and before long even the most hardened criminal will be utterly despairing of life, because there’s nothing more horrible than devoting one’s life to something completely meaningless. I mean, you know, sure, there will be some freeloaders, but we’ve got more freeloaders right now.

..work is valuable if it makes other people’s lives better.


mar 2015:

reality of bureaucratic life..


that experience of wandering around and feeling like an idiot and incompetent in life, is the necessary clunkiness of living under a bureaucratic regime.

Basically, we assume that market relations are natural, but you need a huge institutional structure to make people behave the way that economists say they are “supposed” to behave. So, for example, think about the way the consumer market works. The market is supposed to work on grounds of pure competition. Nobody has moral ties to each other other than to obey the rules. But, on the other hand, people are supposed to do anything they can to get as much as possible off the other guy — but won’t simply steal the stuff or shoot the person.

Historically, that’s just silly; if you don’t care at all about a guy, you might as well steal his stuff. In fact, they’re encouraging people to act essentially how most human societies, historically, treated their enemies — but to still never resort to violence, trickery or theft. Obviously that’s not going to happen. You can only do that if you set up a very strictly enforced police force. That’s just one example.

this is why I called the book what I did. The phrase “Utopia of Rules” actually applied, when I first coined it, to games. Why do we enjoy games? Well, one reason we enjoy games is because it’s one of the only situations we ever experience in life, perhaps the only experience, where we know exactly what the rules are.

There’s always rules [in life], but usually they’re not spelled out; everyone has a slightly different idea of what they are, there’s all these ambiguities, it’s sort of complicated and then people break them all the time anyway. Life is this endless game of trying to figure out what the rules are and nobody quite understands. Then, [with bureaucracy], you create this imaginary situation, totally bounded in time and space, where everybody knows exactly what the rules are, people actually do follow the rules, and even people who follow the rules can win — which is very unusual in real life.

So there’s two fantasies or freedoms you can imagine: one based on play and one based on games. Play is like pure creativity; in fact, it sort of generates rules. It’s like the ultimate power. But pure creativity is scary on a certain level. On the other hand, pure rule-bound game is a stifle and boring.


“Life is this endless game of trying to figure out what the rules are and nobody quite understands.” – David Graeber @davidgraeber

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/lixilamb/status/573812867201245185


Produced this podcast: capitalism’s love affair with bureaucracy featuring @davidgraeber @MESandbu @lucykellaway http://t.co/cqxmkK2kbZ

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/johnsunyer/status/573813755433381888


promises promises – a history of debt on bbc radio:

episode 1 of 10 – moral power of debt:


gangsters, businessmen, who base their trade on violence..

on developing a network of people that owe them favors.. debts…

2 min – that there’s something deeply moral about debt.. but also deeply unjust..

morality in paying debts, and lenders as evil

4 min – debt so focused on finance.. and so political.. sense that we are trapped in something w/little control..

6 min – debt informs everything we do.. yet no one really understands it..

7 min – in writing about debt – even our most basic assumptions about money – are wrong.. debt actually precedes money and is based on war – undergirded by deep and moral power

8 min – is society really about certain promises we make to one another..

9 min – on sacred notions of covenants.and indebtedness – look at any serious bank bldg – looks like a temple

10 min – paradox of debt – why is it when politicians make promises.. we assume they’ll be broken.. but broken debts seem immoral

12 min – for most of history – most people have been referred to as debtors..

most great revolutionary movements of history began as debt revolts..

episode 2 of 10 – what is debt:


a promise by one person to pay another person a certain amt

also.. debt of gratitude/honor – seems they’re not really debts… but not that simple..

2 min – on debt being the basis of all morality – all comes down to tit for tat – and that all morality based on – reciprocity

5 min – on w/o reciprocity – communism (in terms of commons) – no one keeps track – from each according to ability to each according to needs..

11 min – debt as symbol for guilt/sin – gives it remarkable power

debt is obligation that can be quantified.. now impersonal and transferable.. only when parties are unequal.. that power can be enforced.. and money transaction required

episode 3 of 10 – origin of money:


4 min – for barter to work – easily exchangeable and universally desired – nothing like this (barter) has ever happened, never been found/discovered. barter never has precede money

6 min – economists suppose a spot trade or nothing

9 min – barter, when it does occur – occurs between strangers.. in order for money to occur.. would have to be a regularity – so exchanges set up.. but still no money needed

11 min – so where does money come from…? for fines/compensation..

12 min – to pay comes from – to pacify.. to compensate… as a way to measure debt.. need to provide an exact equivalent for what someone might otherwise kill you..


2012 – radical economy – David and Charles Eisenstein and Daniel Pinchbeck

1:19 – D: you’ll never ever be able to convince a person through logical argument or even brilliant rhetoric that a free and just society is possible. you can show them. you can start doing it. all of a sudden, when people’s horizons change.. conversations will change.



mar 2015 – Paris on David:

Stop fighting for bullshit jobs // Paris Marx: Propaganda [003]

bullshit jobs – dg

bullshit ness


march 2015 – talk at general assembly – occupied uni of amsterdam – on demo-ing ed:

Resistance In A Time Of Total Bureaucratization / Maagdenhuis Amsterdam

4 min – i’m really hopeful that this is the start of something big. it’s remarkable the attention you’ve got the success you’ve had. to me it just shows how powerful direct action is. ..that’s what direct action is – acting as if we were already free, what direct democracy is – the defiant insistence on acting as you can only act in a free society

on realizing.. if that’s possible.. what else is…

14 min – jp morgan got 85% of profits from fees and penalties… rules designed to extract money from you. also – ed – student loans..

20 min – create laws that will guarantee debt.. . make people feel bad about themselves.. the apparatus is criminalizing the population… making population feel as though they have messed up

32 min – education in general – uk – forcing student loans – getting students to have to think like entrepreneurs… in the terms that discredit themselves any other way.. so in terms of ed – uni was supposed to be a place of self-organizing.. 20-30 yrs ago when said uni – meant staff.. now mean admin… you don’t want knowledge to make money..

38 min – we’re defending what they used to call civilization. who are the barbarians here.

40 min – fear – that’s what loans/debt are about. the monsters that are the most scary aren’t the ones that kill you.. but the ones you turn into … you get to be a capitalist without the capital.

41 min – revolution in reverse


49 min – realizing we can’t democratized w/in the system. we had this great movement.. then people wanted to become political leaders.. get them to run campaigns…

51 min – done diff on occupy – realize we were under a tiny window.. that wasn’t going to last

53 min – not so much worried if capitalism will be here in 50 yrs..  as i am about something worse. we need to create something better.

54 min – on dire consequences when robots steal our jobs.. if there’s ever a sign that a society is designed stupidly – is that the prospect of manual labor being eliminated is a problem. if we don’t know what to do with freedom and liberty.. that’s pretty messed up.

57 min – basic income – give everyone means to live and let them decide for selves

58 min – telling kings how to mess up people’s self-organizing… figure out ways to make people think it will never work.

cops in occupy figured out they didn’t have to disrupt a meeting.. just had to wait till crazy person disrupted and then jump to their defense..

1:02 – there’s a lot of experiments we don’t know about.. ie: madagascar – state had actually left.. but didn’t want anyone to know… last thing they wanted to say was – look – we’re autonomous.. because then state would have to come back

we like to think of capitalism of this total system…. there is no giant totality.. there are thousands giant totalities

1:03 – uk.. 50% of work isn’t directed to economy..  these examples exist.. (ie: communism, anarchism, …. ) … we just don’t have any experience with democracy.. oddly enough

1:06 – there’s nothing more important than doing what we’re doing.. sitting in a room.

1:07 – a lot of what happens with power – is not having to think a lot.. you don’t have to use imagination.. so way to get people to get imaginative is to take away their power

1:13 – on falling in love with the formality..

1:15 – on addressing the board: don’t become part of the system – ie: system will want you to elect leaders – and will perpetuate that – in order to communicate

1:18 – making education not a way of stifling minds but of opening them up… children have a natural desire to ask questions.. follow ups… higher ed puts it half way back in… how to get us back to how we were as children to begin with..

detox ness


jan 2012

On Bureaucratic Technologies & the Future as Dream-Time @ SVA

the guy that intro’d David – talked about the importance of occupy spurring questions and us having people that can bring history into it…

5 min – on all the stuff we thought we’d have by 2000

19 min – right around alvin tofler writes this stuff.. the exponential increase stops  71ish

21 min – becoming intrigued with George Gilder –  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Gilder

31 min – reason we don’t have robots to do laundry – is because 95% of robotics is funneled through the pentagon.. then why don’t we have gigantic killer robots.. only way to explain that is – bureaucracy… not a marketization.. but a fusion of ed/govt bureaucracies.. that they thought everyone should spend time selling things to each other – most spend time selling proposals.. et al… ie: apply for grants et al.. paper work.. americans don’t like to confront that we are an intensely bureaucratic society


jan (?) 2015 – the gun has no trigger

convo on resistance in the 21st cent

7 min – feeling of hopelessness essential to their design

8 min – car story for dan – rules/regulations enforced by violence

12 min – even the phrase – structural violence – forms of inequality that are displacements of structural violence… these things exist becomes they are forms of violence with bad effects… when actually – it’s the violence that holds the whole thing together.. ie: if there wasn’t a structure of violence – underlying it all – none of it would matter

14 min – true that violence is communicative – but it’s also true that violence is unique – because it’s the only form of action that has a systematic effect w/o communication.. so you can have effects on others that you know nothing about

16 min – everyday life based on the labor of imagination..

a lot of stuff from revolution in reverse..

26 min – myth of revolution is that we can take out violence in one punch

27 min – direct action – same sequence in opposite order – rather than starting with violence, then parties in streets, then institutions, then everyday life… other way

29 min – just got back from rojava – sign of the war on the imagination..  that we don’t believe it’s (revolution) happening – they said – we’ve been doing this for 3 yrs now – why aren’t you guys noticing.. experimenting, ie: police training – then abolish police; consensus assemblies – dual power system – they create both sides.. bottom up democratic that are armed.. and then govt with parliament that had no power for foreign consumption.. one reason they did it (like the car) can’t do it unless you’re a govt. so they created a dummy govt.. they just lack access to power.. ie: they can’t shoot anybody..

33 min – yeah – we’re re-constituting society… and nobody knows this.. after editing process – completely changed – nobody seems capable of getting through their heads that this is a revolution…. like it can’t be communicated… that inability that it can’t be noticed.. communicated… is a sign of the war of imagination has worked on many people that call themselves the left

35 min – there you go – that’s why we don’t have flying cars (what he read) then he goes into this…

to min and max david graeber

37 min – never has a labor saving device saved labor time

38 min – poetic tech – use bureaucratic tech to solve someone’s crazy dream.. now bureaucratic tech – and what is it to do..? ie: we’ve created ever better platforms to fill out forms

40 min – somehow this is happened to us – and we don’t even notice it even more – more bureaucratic society ever

so – what happens to the future under this peculiar circumstance…. we don’t know what to do with the future anymore (end of future – benito ?)

45 min – why we focus on catastrophic things happening, nuclear war, climate change…

47 min – neoliberalism is really about destroying any other hope for another system.. even at point of destroying own system itself…

56 min – reasons we don’t have these techs – because rich people don’t need them and we have poor people.. certain tech won’t happen without an egalitarian system

57 min – the invisibility of bureaucracy creates a situation where we don’t talk about it

1:01 – flying cars preferred over cell phones

i don’t know.. we’re not unleashing the cell phones.. but seems that would be better.. if unleashed to 7 billion plus..

1:07 – on madagascar being able to do consensus because they always have

1:11 – the more egalitarian the society – the better route tech will take.. the more the divide.. the more tech goes toward that divide.. how much labor is guard labor.. 20-30% watching others.. then work producing more work

2 needs ness

1:15 – on optimism.. i’m quite optimistic about the death of capitalism… we are at a point in time for reinvention of utopianism… it’s not that utopianism is bad.. it’s that just one is.. what we need is lots and lots of utopians..

utopia ness

1:17 – things like occupy allow us to get into language and call things their proper names

1:19 – we’ve gotten rid of the corruption problem in america by making it legal, ie: bribery to write legislation… huge system of circulating bribes

what we have to do is get back to crazy visions on a smaller scale


feb 2015?:


culture is about what you don’t want to be.. culture is about revolutions that won

12 min – talks about madagascar people

15 min – don’t rise according to merit.. but rise according to your ability to admit/lie that people rise according to merit

25 min – jp morgan chase – 85% from fees/penalties.. so rules you can’t keep so they can sustain capitalism


from april 2012

Rebel Cities: David Harvey in conversation with David Graeber

17 min – how do you organize a city.. DH

31 min – experimenting w/horizontal decision makine – DG

33 min – reconsidering the role of the city – DG

34 min – we’re stuck with an old paradigm about work – DG

48 min – the labor force – on the train – getting by on 10000 a yr – half of nyc on 30000 a year – DH

52 min – what happens when a city stops moving.. – what happened was – Juliani came out and say – everyone get out and start shopping… – DH

56 min – america gets out of crises by building houses and filling them with things – sign in san fran – DH

1:21 – large percentage of proletariat are employed to threaten the rest of the people – DG

1:24 – metabolism of the city  – DH


march 2015



end of meaningless work april 2015:


..in 1930, economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that by the end of the century technology would have advanced sufficiently that in countries such as the UK and the US we’d be on 15-hour weeks. “In technological terms, we are quite capable of this. And yet it didn’t happen. Instead, technology has been marshalled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more.

Huge swaths of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they believe to be unnecessary.

The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.”


In 2011, at New York’s Zuccotti Park, he became involved in Occupy Wall Street, which he describes as an “experiment in a post-bureaucratic society”. He was responsible for the slogan “We are the 99%”.

99 and 1

“We wanted to demonstrate we could do all the services that social service providers do without endless bureaucracy. In fact at one point at Zuccotti Park there was a giant plastic garbage bag that had $800,000 in it. People kept giving us money but we weren’t going to put it in the bank. You have all these rules and regulations. And Occupy Wall Street can’t have a bank account. I always say the principle of direct action is the defiant insistence on acting as if one is already free.”


He is suggesting that, instead of being rule-following economic drones of capitalism, we are essentially playful. The most basic level of being is play rather than economics, fun rather than rules, goofing around rather than filling in forms. Graeber himself certainly seems to be having more fun than seems proper for a respected professor.


@chriscaple I look forward to the day when most of my work is profoundly irrelevant

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davidgraeber/status/600353107302862848


All Economies are Ultimately Human Economies (may – 2015)

strange thing about capitalism.. it’s the only thing that can make us forget that all economies are really human economies

3 min – modern slavery – isolation engineered as a mode of control

now we actually think that isolation is freedom – but opens us up to depression and disease

we always think about production as production of things.. but really production of people.. i wrote about this in anthropological theory of value (his book)

what are the conditions that would create the best friends.. wealth was a less significant factor

from pov of people running countries – how big is your economy… which messes with the convos, ie: bunch of people dying of aides a terrible effect on the economy.. best reason to come up with is that it will effect overall production of goods and services.. how did we get to where that person could make that speech and not be taken away in a straight jacket.. since it is a form of insanity

how did we get to the point where we don’t recognize the insanity (of the focus of our convos)

major for of labor – production of each other

17 min – our old way of talking about labor need to be reformulated

financialization is like commoditization of love/trust

all revolutions are moral transformations – where basic assumptions change


19 min – if we’re all making a world – why aren’t we making a world that we don’t like very much

we wake up everyday and make capitalism.. so why don’t we wake up and make something else.. all social theory is about that..

23 min – probably most insidious notion capitalists have come up with – if you’re not working most of your time – at something that makes you miserable.. you’re not a good person

28 min – we need an overhaul of our perceptions.. we need to redefine all our terms… ie: communism.. any social relation based on from each according to abilities to each according to needs


capitalism is just a bad way to organize communism

in 2011 we had a revolutionary moment

society is a mutual creation of human beings..

free ed movement … one of first things.. we’ve been told purpose of ed is to improve the economy .. this is backwards.. purpose of economy is to improve education… to give people freedom/luxury to understand the world..

primary purpose of life – taking care of each other


Human Economies (2011)

common goods

we need to change the narrative.. haunted by this myth: once upon a time everything owned in common and everyone happy.. somehow – fall – then war and property have emerged alongside each other.. (mythological communism) .. that was the narrative of regimes that called themselves communists..

but if we get rid of that whole thing… and look at when people act on the principal of – from each according to his abilities to each according to their needs… you see everyone works this to some degree… ie: when working on common projects, esp when it’s an emergency… (ie: hand me the mop, what do i get for it.. doesn’t happen)

11 min – sociality has to be founded on the minimum level.. that if need is great enough or cost small enough.. we act in communism ness

hierarchical relations – completely opposite of reciprocity – if i give you something.. expected to give it again (rather than you give it back)


almost finished my piece on atrocities, deserters & bullying – man did it take a lot out of me. Never wrote anything made me so depressed.

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davidgraeber/status/605112045495808001


a few notes from David’s theory of value:

what, then, does one do where there is no market in labor at all, or none that is especially important? …. for anthropologists (or for that matter, those who would like to think about al alternative to capitalism) this is obviously one of the most important questions.

p.62 – bourdieu: a truly artful social actor is almost guaranteed not to be able to offer a clear explanation of the principles underlying her own artistry.

p. 77 – value is not created in that public recognition. rather, what is being recognized is something that was, in a sense, already there.

p. 115 – … these struggles over value are always, in the end, political – if only because the most important political struggles in any society .. will always be over how value itself is to be defined.

p. 136 – 1649 ragueneau writes of the huron: ….. now they believe that our soul makes these natural desires known by means of dreams, which are its language.

p. 137 – to realize such dreams, though, one usually needed the help of others; and jesuit reports make it clear that neighbors or kin felt it was incumbent on them to comply with all such “wishes of the soul,” insofar as they were able to do so.

p. 158 – what mauss set out to do, then, was to try to get at the heart of precisely what it was about the logic of the market that did such violence to ordinary people’s sense of justice and humanity.

more notes here: value


2011 ish? – tweeted july 2015 by bruce k – re: jubilee – day after greece votes no. (also in debt)

p1 video:

2 min – societies that don’t have states generally don’t have markets… seem to be side effect of bureaucracy and military

4 min – debt is when you take a promise and turn it into mathematics – can only quantify debt when you’re in a relationship of potential violence

9 min – in a way – transactions shouldn’t be over.. everyone should be in debt.. owing to the gods/govt.. a whole nother thing

12 min – money not mainly used to buy things.. rather to ie: arrange marriages

p2 video:

5 min – on jubilee

8 min – money is not a thing.. just a bunch of promises.. in a democracy.. we can renegotiate..


another great history lesson for me – of flying cars july 2015:


For the technologies that did emerge proved most conducive to surveillance, work discipline, and social control. Computers have opened up certain spaces of freedom, as we’re constantly reminded, but instead of leading to the workless utopia Abbie Hoffman imagined, they have been employed in such a way as to produce the opposite effect. They have enabled a financialization of capital that has driven workers desperately into debt, and, at the same time, provided the means by which employers have created “flexible” work regimes that have both destroyed traditional job security and increased working hours for almost everyone. Along with the export of factory jobs, the new work regime has routed the union movement and destroyed any possibility of effective working-class politics.

Meanwhile, despite unprecedented investment in research on medicine and life sciences, we await cures for cancer and the common cold, and the most dramatic medical breakthroughs we have seen have taken the form of drugs such as Prozac, Zoloft, or Ritalin—tailor-made to ensure that the new work demands don’t drive us completely, dysfunctionally crazy.


The growth of administrative work has directly resulted from introducing corporate management techniques. Invariably, these are justified as ways of increasing efficiency and introducing competition at every level. What they end up meaning in practice is that everyone winds up spending most of their time trying to sell things: grant proposals; book proposals; assessments of students’ jobs and grant applications; assessments of our colleagues; prospectuses for new interdisciplinary majors; institutes; conference workshops; universities themselves (which have now become brands to be marketed to prospective students or contributors); and so on.


we seem to have decided we have no place for our eccentric, brilliant, and impractical citizens.


Jonathan Katz, has recently warned students pondering a career in the sciences. Even if you do emerge from the usual decade-long period languishing as someone else’s flunky, he says, you can expect your best ideas to be stymied at every point:

You will spend your time writing proposals rather than doing research. Worse, because your proposals are judged by your competitors, you cannot follow your curiosity, but must spend your effort and talents on anticipating and deflecting criticism rather than on solving the important scientific problems. . . . It is proverbial that original ideas are the kiss of death for a proposal, because they have not yet been proved to work.

That pretty much answers the question of why we don’t have teleportation devices or antigravity shoes

graeber min\max law


It is significant, then, that our current technological stagnation seems to have begun after 1945, when the United States replaced Britain as organizer of the world economy.


It’s not that vision, creativity, and mad fantasies are no longer encouraged, but that most remain free-floating; there’s no longer even the pretense that they could ever take form or flesh.


Only by breaking up existing bureaucratic structures can we begin. ….Only then will technology begin to be marshaled toward human needs. And this is the best reason to break free of the dead hand of the hedge fund managers and the CEOs—to free our fantasies from the screens in which such men have imprisoned them, to let our imaginations once again become a material force in human history.


july 2015  – Hostile Intelligence: Reflections from a Visit to the West Bank


I only came to fully understand the agony of the Palestinian situation when I came to understand that the entire point of life, in traditional Palestinian society, is put oneself in a position where you can be generous to strangers. Hospitality is everything.


They saw the Zionists as originally their house-guests. Yet they were the worst house-guests one could possibly imagine. …. In such a situation, what can you possibly do? Stop being generous? But then one is absolutely, existentially defeated. This is what people really meant when they talked about a life of calculated degradation. People were being systematically deprived of the physical, the economic, and the political means to be magnanimous.  And to be deprived of the means to make that kind of magnificent gesture is a kind of living death.


finally my bully piece – this took a LOT out of me, somehow, when I wrote it a couple months ago. Left me depressed.

the bully‘s pulpit


There is a tradition of thought—the Lord of the Flies tradition, we might call it—that interprets schoolyard bullies as a modern incarnation of the ancestral “killer ape,” the primordial alpha male who instantly restores the law of the jungle once no longer restrained by rational adult male authority. But this is clearly false. In fact, books like Lord of the Flies are better read as meditations on the kind of calculated techniques of terror and intimidation that British public schools employed to shape upper-class children into officials capable of running an empire. These techniques did not emerge in the absence of authority; they were techniques designed to create a certain sort of cold-blooded, calculating adult male authority to begin with.


Bullying is more like a refraction of its authority. To begin with an obvious point: children in school can’t leave. Normally, a child’s first instinct upon being tormented or humiliated by someone much larger is to go someplace else. Schoolchildren, however, don’t have that option. If they try persistently to flee to safety, the authorities will bring them back. This is one reason, I suspect, for the stereotype of the bully as teacher’s pet or hall monitor: even when it’s not true, it draws on the tacit knowledge that the bully does depend on the authority of the institution in at least that one way—the school is, effectively, holding the victims in place while their tormentors hit them.


Very little of this focus on the role of institutional authority is reflected in the psychological literature on bullying, which, being largely written for school authorities, assumes that their role is entirely benign.


It’s also possible that audiences of grade schoolers react passively to bullying because they have caught on to how adult authority operates and mistakenly assume the same logic applies to interactions with their peers. If it is, say, a police officer who is pushing around some hapless adult, then yes, it is absolutely true that intervening is likely to land you in serious trouble—quite possibly, at the wrong end of a club. And we all know what happens to “whistleblowers.” (Remember Secretary of State John Kerry calling on Edward Snowden to “man up” and submit himself to a lifetime of sadistic bullying at the hands of the U.S. criminal justice system? What is an innocent child supposed to make of this?) The fates of the Mannings or Snowdens of the world are high-profile advertisements for a cardinal principle of American culture: while abusing authority may be bad, openly pointing out that someone is abusing authority is much worse—and merits the severest punishment.

– – –

He wasn’t really telling Sandra to get out the car. He was talking to Travis who wouldn’t stop taking his lunch

money in 8th grade.

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/WyzeChef/status/623660133411897344



David Graeber (@davidgraeber)
8/20/15 4:39 AM
I think Greece should charge the rest of Europe for it past contributions: you know, 100 billion euros for Aeschylus, 200 bil for Socrates..

or maybe Greece should just declare copyright on all ancient authors & charge for 2500 years of outstanding royalties

a GREAT David Graeber article from 2007: http://t.co/acsO7d8U3M (w/a couple of odd typos that likely come from scanning?) SO GOOD!

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/secretdoor/status/651118180731977730

When we are working for a living, or buying and selling things, we are rewarded with money. But whenever we are not working or buying or selling, when we are motivated by pretty much anything other than the desire to get money, we suddenly find ourselves in the domain of “values.”

At the same time, they are also seen as utterly unique; whereas money makes all things comparable, “values” such as beauty, devotion, or integrity cannot, by definition, be compared. There is no mathematical formula that could possibly allow one to calculate just how much personal integrity it is right to sacrifice in the pursuit of art or how to balance responsibilities to your family with responsibilities to your God.

One might put it this way: if value is simply what one considers important, then money allows importance to take a liquid form, by enabling us to compare precise quantities of importance and trade one off for the other. I

This is, of course, the secret of nobility. To be noble is to be generous, high-minded, altruistic, to pursue higher forms of value. But it is also to be able to do so because one does not really have to think too much about money.


oct 2015 interview:


[thinking as the page translates for me.. about open/jargon ness… and how 7 bill languages could be translated in no time. then as reading.. how translations aren’t exact.. and how that is fractally fitting with how communication is already (never finished).. making us stay connected to the source.. for ongoing clarification ness]

q: how is it that no one reacts.. (to all the B)  a: response/answer is to make more rules

For that we adhere as one man at the bureaucratic project, it must be attractive. The capitalist system has been well understood. Whenever existing rules create a grotesque situation, it promises a solution … by inventing new rules! Whether the problem is never solved and the system becomes a machine for making regulations, “transparency” is safe. On behalf of this new ideal, the effort to break free from the arbitrary power produced even more arbitrary power: regulations stifle us, surveillance cameras are appearing everywhere, science and creativity are strangled and we all spend a growing share of our days filling out forms.

Deregulation does not rid us of the rules: it creates others, different. Say that deregulates is always an ideological promise – the real objective is to issue its own rules and be the first to board.


The Occupy Wall Street movement has indeed immediately understood. The young people who started in 2011 had realized that they had followed the rules – made extensive studies as he had asked, accumulated debts for decades (and promised to repay) earned their degrees … To discover what? That the same institutions they would have to pay interest throughout their lives had not complied with the rules, they; they had destroyed the economy through their speculative schemes and fared without a scratch!


when we knew them within our reach?


when we knew them within our reach?


Watch @davidgraeber show you why balancing the budget is bad for your pocketbook (in about 3 minutes)https://t.co/d4amGAHGR5

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/NickolasMario/status/659459556892766208


David on london real – nov 2015

David Graeber – American Anarchist – PART 1/2 | London Real

graeber min/max law

on no motivation w/o money.. we’ve modeled the opposite.. we don’t reward creatives..

14 min – 98% of people who could be coming up with creative ideas are working 14 hour days.. there’s probably nobody in the world that couldn’t come up with an idea.. problem… vast majority of people are told to shut up everyday… people like peter don’t realize that because it didn’t happen to them.. structural violence.. a distinction between institutions that could exist w/o violence and ones that can’t

17 min – anarchist: last 50 yrs.. never bomb anybody..  annoys govt because act as if irrelevant.. acting as if already free.. direct action – ignoring people in power

20 min – my timing had been off.. then in 2010 – i had the best timing conceivable.. ie: debt book promotions… 16 beaver street meeting… anti-austerity movements.. occupy..

22 min – 2001 – argentina – neighborhood govt’s

25 min – vertical vs horizontal crowds…

28 min – that’s when we came up with the people’s microphone.. mic is illegal.. so people repeat what you say… kept people on point.. if 1000s are going to repeat it

31 min – overwhelming majority of people there were debt refugees… ie: i did what i was told.. i’m 40000 dollars in debt.. because of bankers who didn’t play by rules and got bailed out.. and i’m going to be treated like a dead beat.. and have to pay the banks..

33 min – we didn’t want to have demands.. that’s other people solving your problems.. it’s direct opposite of direct action.. so if that’s the case.. who are we..  99%

36 min – finance is a word for other people’s debts…

38 min – 99% individ posters.. i want to do a job to help people.. but that doesn’t pay enough to take care of my fam

40 min – success – changed focus of debate: inequality .. miss: we thought left would back us more..

46 min – a freedom realizing you’ve never been in a crowd that was self-organized.. but also .. every move there could be violence..

on bullshit jobs:

i did this with my debt book tour.. i decided to do the opposite (of having to tour with a repeated script).. turn all those crazy rants and get them out there…

2 min – you keep meeting people who are embarrassed by what they do… and this is exactly what capitalism isn’t supposed to do… private firms making up jobs.. paying people for things for not doing anything… ie: all these industries.. that if they disappeared .. no one would notice… ie: telemarketing; corp lawyers; armies; middle management who organize meetings, fill out form, create paperwork/reports…. this is why people aren’t working

6 min – you have all these people administering other people... how does this happen… it’s not consumerism.. seems to be the idea that work is a value of itself..


jan 2016


here’s my interview on RT an hour & a half ago about repression of academics who appealed for peace talks in Turkey youtube.com/watch?v=2tmx-R


not sure when interview was.. but post is jan 2016


It’s already happening: Anonymous, WikiLeaks, or to a certain extent 3D printing are the beginning of something. You know, technological developement always follows social trends. Do you think people in renaissance Florence said “let’s create capitalism: it will involve factories, stock exchange, etc.”? Of course not. It was not planned. The same is true for us: once we start with a vision of what we want to achieve as a society, technological innovation will follow.

Imagine if all these people sitting at desks producing securitized derivatives or trading algorithms were instead trying to create a system of resource allocation that would do the same sort of things the Soviets wanted to achieve but were clearly not capable of coming up with. They could probably give birth to something interesting.


We are living in the era of predatory bureaucratization. What percentage of the typical American household revenue is directly extracted by the financial sector?


On living with the paranoia that comes from being unable to see clearly in #Palestine from @DavidGraeber

“My… https://t.co/yU9dasHl15

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/dtbyler/status/696097290700877824

Settlements are, in their own way, giant engines for the production of right-wing consciousness. It is very difficult for someone placed in hostile territory, given training in automatic weapons and warned to be constantly on one’s guard against a local population seething over the fact that your next-door neighbors have been killing their sheep and destroying their olive trees, not to gradually see ethno-nationalism as common sense.


They want a population that is compliant on a day-to-day basis, but that periodically explodes, individually or collectively, in a unstrategic and uncoordinated fashion that can represented to the outside world as irrational demonic madness.


If bullying is to be defined as, in its essence, a form of aggression designed to produce a reaction that can then be used as retroactive justification for the initial act of aggression itself, then the Israeli Occupation has taken bullying and turned it into a principle of governance. Everything is designed to provoke. The provocations are daily. They are ugly and humiliating. But they are also designed to fly just under the point of flagrant, undeniable aggression, where you can claim they were not even, precisely, an “attack,” but like the schoolyard bully who’s constantly subtly poking and jabbing and kicking his victim, hoping for some outraged burst of ineffective rage that can get the victim hauled before the principal.


I only came to fully understand the agony of the Palestinian situation when I came to understand that the entire point of life, in traditional Palestinian society, is put oneself in a position where you can be generous to strangers. Hospitality is everything.


People were being systematically deprived of the physical, the economic, and the political means to be magnanimous.  And to be deprived of the means to make that kind of magnificent gesture is a kind of living death.


feb 2016 – tweetstream from david:

quote of the day from Yancey Orr: “Perhaps external responsibilities that are not directly related to a primary function of a profession…are part of any job. For instance, society finds it reasonable to ask a surgeon who is required to perform intricate high-stakes surgery… with his hands to also teach students and administer facilities in-between surgeries. Yes, society does do this but the analogy is subtly… inaccurate. Academics are to thoughts as neurosurgeons are to specific controlled hand movements. It would more closely be the equivalent.. the central activity of the profession. To carry this a step further, to ask people whose profession is to have complicated and nuanced… thoughts and then expects them to constantly respond to the minutia of administrative email, would be like asking Herbert von Karajan to… fix the rickety audio systems of arcade pinball machines according to the fickle needs of tone-deaf adolescents in-between conducting… performances at the Berlin Philharmonic.




money ness

money revelations


bullshit jobs – dg


– – –

radical econ

revolution in reverse

revolution of everyday life – lifedo this first

refugee camps

www (berners-lee, palmer, graeber)

graeber min\max law

graeber f&b same law



was wanting to link entropy to bit on jo freeman and structureless\ness… but can’t find any of it just now on this page .. reaffirming to me.. the need for some chip to allow the misc to remain misc.. yet findable..


added to books to read


@davidgraeber if u were teaching writings of david graeber, where would u start?

Lost People…it’s my best book. A little long but raises most issues I’m later to explore

finally got it.. lost people


HAU Journal (@haujournal) tweeted at 3:11 AM – 18 Dec 2016 :

More from the Sherry Ortner debate – David Graeber and his response “Reflections on Reflections” https://t.co/VbacrBFVGl (http://twitter.com/haujournal/status/810427304753106944?s=17)

what is the basis on which to distinguish those who get to name themselves and those who don’t?


if talking political movements, “everyone” never really means literally everyone..why compelled to..prove to self on side of underdog

public consensus always oppresses someone (s) ..


David Graeber (@davidgraeber) tweeted at 5:20 AM – 6 Jan 2017 :

@djohngo oh for god’s sake, he ran as “this place is a mess I’ll bring radical change” & HRC ran as “things are fine I’ll keep it the same’ (http://twitter.com/davidgraeber/status/817345046211166209?s=17)


whole thread:


allow me to take the occasion of Obama’s emotional farewell speech to note he was a terrible, terrible president

ending with this rt:


destitution up, hunger up, debtors prisons re-appeared, occupy gassed & beaten, yet I’m told Obama was *great* for women


via rt by David (video/panel from 2015 with Brian Eno)

小林拓音 TakuneKOBAYASHI (@takunekobayashi) tweeted at 11:17 PM – 10 Dec 2015 :

Basic Income: How do we get there? Brian Eno, David Graeber and Frances Coppola https://t.co/LPuhmPqYDa(http://twitter.com/takunekobayashi/status/675197714653700096?s=17)

5 min – brian: subject that interests me most.. i think about most.. is waste.. of human potential.. how many people are not using themselves well… because they can’t.. circumstances don’t encourage them to do so .. no demand for what they can offer

bi as temp placebo.. fake

6 min – brian: plenty of ayn rand followers in high places.. ie: in silicon valley.. ayn: ‘any group is only a number of individuals.. if any civilization is to survive.. it’s the reality of altruism that men have to reject..’… to me.. this is a kind of naive darwinism that doesn’t allow for the fact that we aren’t unconscious organisms.. we’re conscious.. as soon as consciousness enters the picture.. darwinism doesn’t work any more…even darwin would agree with that .. but people like ayn rand didn’t actually get/read that part of the book

7 min – brian: the randian approach is that there are great individuals who distinguish themselves.. push forward.. and then pull the rest of humanity.. the rest of humanity is a kind of relatively inert working/serving class.. and there are a few people thru willpower and intellect and whatever genes they end up with.. pull the rest of us.. this is almost the opposite of what i think.. that although great new ideas are usually articulated by individuals.. they’re nearly always generated by communities..

8 min – brian: i think what i see as the waste.. is the waste we make of that possibility of cooperative intelligence..

ie: hosting-life-bits via self-talk as data.. as the day..

i made a word for this a long time ago.. genius: process of singling out people in our industry and saying.. those are the important ones.. whenever you look at any of those artists.. you find they lived and drew from a very very active flourishing cultural scene.. and they were only one of the elements in that scene..ie: aware of what others are doing.. picking out.. distilling.. shuffling it..  all these people called genius actually sat in the middle of something i call scenius.. genius is creative intelligence of an individual..  scenius is the creative intelligence of a community.. what i want to see is more attention given to that possibility.. of creative behavior

10 min – brian: so opp of ayn randianism.. the understanding that 1\ all people are born unequal..so everybody has a unique set of gifts/talents.. 2\ intelligence is generated by communities.. by cooperation of some kind..

the biggest obstacle to that at the moment is that people have to earn a living..

earn a living.. making up money..

i’m often asked to give a talk at unis and often not asked back.. because i talk that you shouldn’t have a job.. and profs first task is to smooth you into a job.. that means..

11 min – brian: try to leave yourself in the position where you do the things you want to do and take max advantage of your possibilities.. and most people aren’t in the positions to do that.. i want to do anything to work to future where everybody is in position to do that..

in terms of bi.. i probably know less about subject than anyone else here .. but what i do know is that the concept is the closest thing i’ve heard to achieving the kind of future that i would like to live in

so let’s try it (bi) as temp placebo.. ie: short bp

14 min – frances: a growing waste.. by being forced to earn a living.. impoverishing not only them… but us as a society .. my piece.. the change of nature of work

16 min – frances: if we can automate production of needs.. and make sure proceeds get equally distributed.. so people have means to live

or what if we just say.. bunk.. to proceeds ness

earn a living.. making up money..

22 min – david: most people like anarchist ideas more than the like the word

23 min – david: i realized.. most white collar workers exist to make workers feel bad about themselves.. to feel you’re inadequate.. undeserving..

24 min – david: i finally came to the conclusion that financialization and bureaucratization are the same thing..  ie: the govt is the bank..

25 min – david: this B creating jobs telling you that value comes from paperwork rather than from anything anyone actually does..

26 min – david: increasingly more time assessing what it is you’re doing than doing it.. all forms of paperwork.. value thru paperwork.. and finance is just the peak of it.. people w most elab paperwork… how do we just get rid of these

27 min – david: every single time .. try to get rid of red tape, B, et al.. you end up with more regulation.. more paperwork.. and more bureaucrats.. ie: 25% more bureaucrats in russia right now then there were under soviet union… so that’s what liberal reforms always do… so what would be a left wing position that would be anti bureaucratic.. we need to grab this.. answer is pretty obvious.. fire all those guys and give everyone same amt of money

or… fire money as well

28 min – david: it’s based on a re assessment of the nature of work… comes to this..really look at what it is that is valuable..meaningful about the things we do everyday..

30 min – david: the thing that people in power fear the most is people that have basic security and time

33 min – david: focus on labor intermingled with focus on production.. when in fact most labor is not productive.. most labor isn’t about making things.. it’s about keeping things the same.. ie: an environment where things can grow.. caregiving.. caretaking..

interpretive labor

35 min – david: what makes work valuable.. is a care for other people.. it benefits people.. and nobody can decide how that’s going other than the people doing it


re imagining value report – David Bollier.. David Graeber – value.. et al


telling you value comes from paperwork rather than what anyone does

thing (those on top) fear most.. people that have basic securities and time
have this notion value comes from labor.. but also.. value comes from production.. where.. most labor is not productive.. it’s not about making things .. it’s about keeping things the same.. ie: caregiving..
work is valuable in itself.. valuable even if don’t get anything out of it

what makes work valuable.. it’s a form of care for other people.. and nobody can decide how that happens other than the people doing it

something like bi can help us re evaluate what we value about what we do

bi as temp placebo..



Exactly: “For the rich and powerful, popular cynicism is extraordinarily convenient” @davidgraeber#uspoli#ge2017newstatesman.com/politics/june2…

everyone realised no one really much liked it to begin with

ending pluralistic ignorance

The only remaining question is: has the bubble fully collapsed?

rather.. is there a nother way .. everyone would like


article from mar 2014


Beautiful piece of writing from @davidgraeber calling working classes to unite & stand against the ruling “elite”. theguardian.com/commentisfree/…

this is what being “powerful” is largely about: not having to pay a lot of attention to what those around one are thinking and feeling. The powerful employ others to do that for them

Most of the work we do is on each other. The working classes just do a disproportionate share. They are the caring classes, and always have been.

interpretive labor ness



DAVID GRAEBER on the Human Cost of Economics youtu.be/0RB10fVZxCs

from the artificial production of debt and the human costs of this are enormous

nurses using food banks.. poverty level for people who are working quite hard.. and it’s all completely unnecessary

terrible irony.. not only is it not true might be the opposite..

people don’t want to rethink everything.. esp people who have made so many sacrifices in the name of a false understanding

graeber rethink law


Christine Miller (@ChristineMiller) tweeted at 6:11 AM – 5 Nov 2017 :

Insightful and powerful article in the Guardian David Graeber “My mother was an enormous human stuck in a tiny box.” https://t.co/yvcW3PQuXO(http://twitter.com/ChristineMiller/status/927161341172994048?s=17)

Because just as everyone associated with hotels falls into lockstep to tell chambermaids they are unworthy of protection from rapists, so did everything in my mother’s environment conspire to tell her she had no grounds for complaint if someone told her was unworthy to continue to perform on stage, whatever her attainments, without also performing in private as a part-time sex worker.

As a result, her sense of self collapsed.

All of us are heirs to a thousand forms of violence. Many shape our lives in ways we’ll never know. My mother was an enormous human stuck in a tiny box. Late in her life she was still hilariously funny; but she also collected tea-towels with inscriptions like “don’t expect miracles.”

In endless ways, the violence of powerful men plays havoc with our souls. It makes us complicit in acts of mutual destruction. It’s too late now for my mother. She died ten years ago, taking the details of what happened with her. But if we can do anything for her now, can’t we at least break out of lockstep?

a nother way.. roots of healing


David Graeber (@davidgraeber) tweeted at 5:19 PM on Wed, Nov 08, 2017:
if anyone’s still curious what really happened to me at Yale https://t.co/BjvXR028MH

How could a system ostensibly designed to give scholars the security to be able to say dangerous things have been transformed into a system so harrowing and psychologically destructive that, by the time scholars find themselves in a secure position, 99% of them have forgotten what it would even mean to have a dangerous idea? t

To end with a sociological reflection on silencing, then, I would invite the reader to consider the following. I agreed to write this because I have no intention to apply for an academic position in America in the foreseeable future. There is probably not a single paragraph in this essay that I would not have self-censored had that not been the case.


David Graeber’s ‘Dead zones of the imaginations’ introduces a very important concept of how to view hierarchy as affecting social imagination: interpretive labor https://t.co/V7oDOwIKgH

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/urbanfriendden/status/960877974429020162

All of these forms of blindness ultimately stem from trying to navigate our way through situations made possible by structural violence. It will take enormous amount of work to begin to clear away these dead zones.

a nother way

as it could be

ie: hlb via 2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]


infra for graeber anarchism law: 2 convos



eithne (@eithne52) tweeted at 5:21 PM – 24 Feb 2018 :

There is a word for such a strategy. It’s called “terrorism” – a calculated effort to cause terror. The question is, why is the rest of the world cooperating?

Why are world leaders backing this brutal attack against #Kurdish #Afrin? | David Graeber https://t.co/M1gBmapxEw (http://twitter.com/eithne52/status/967555136741453825?s=17)

The religious extremists who surround the current Turkish government know perfectly well that Rojava doesn’t threaten them militarily. It threatens them by providing an alternative vision of what life in the region could be like. Above all, they feel it is critical to send the message to women across the Middle East that if they rise up for their rights, let alone rise up in arms, the likely result is that they will be maimed and killed, and none of the major powers will raise an objection. There is a word for such a strategy. It’s called “terrorism” – a calculated effort to cause terror. The question is, why is the rest of the world cooperating?


@davidgraeber lectures at the Collège de France. No tat here. Les Frogs certainly do things in style. Preamble in French with simultaneous translation, then DG in English https://t.co/JYjhFXWhCj #anarchism #anthropology https://t.co/hCMin5kpzD

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/JonangusMackay/status/981561866819395585

1:15 – it seems to me that caring labor is best conceived as labor that is directed ultimately at maintaining or enhancing another’s freedom.

1:17 –  i think we could re conceive value in creating labor not in terms of production/consumption.. but.. in care as freedom and freedom as play .. such a view is already tacitin people’s sense of social value or lack of it in their own labor.

rest of notes on caring labor page


human history:

graeber/wengrow back & forth law

graeber/wengrow never stupid law

graeber/wengrow top down law

on kings

lost people


I wrote an apology to anyone who has been hurt because of their involvement with HAU. I feel very sorry about this.  https://t.co/CTwF6Ofwfu

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davidgraeber/status/1006210431050895362

David Graeber (@davidgraeber) tweeted at 5:23 AM – 17 Jun 2018 :
here’s a thought re #hautalk – why not take the occasion to ask what is going on in our own departments? Are junior scholars being bullied? Are adjuncts & grad students being exploited? Are there people who not only live in fear but are afraid to even say so? (http://twitter.com/davidgraeber/status/1008309270188843008?s=17)

David Graeber (@davidgraeber) tweeted at 5:27 AM – 17 Jun 2018 :
I’m not saying even senior scholars are necessarily in a position to fix the problems – many due to structural changes in Universities & larger political-economic forces which at least in theory we oppose – but the first thing those who suffer usually want is just acknowledgement (http://twitter.com/davidgraeber/status/1008310226347610113?s=17)

On the phenomenon of assholery in academia, and how to defeat it. https://t.co/2GRs79jA5T
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/jasonhickel/status/1014863713294315521

even assumed nice anthros (i’m thinking graeber, wesch, hickel. ..) can’t listen to all the people.. that’s why we need a diff approach/mech/means.. that can.. ie: 2 convos as infra

as it could be


David Graeber (@davidgraeber) tweeted at 5:29 PM on Mon, Jun 11, 2018:
Incidentally when they describe me as “bestselling author” and say Debt was an “international bestseller” what they actually mean is it was #2 in Germany one week and #7 once in France. I’ve never been in the top 50 or even 100 in any English speaking country far as I know.


david on possibility of pleasure

siddiqi border law.. (structural violence et al – rev in reverse):

“There’s all these imaginary lines around the world with not-so-imaginary weapons protecting them.” @davidgraeber
Over 5 years ago and still relevant  https://t.co/JmbdvPBgEk
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/THREADRIOT/status/1009116647242780673

video is his 15 min talk – The possibility of political pleasure: TEDxWhitechapel

on trusting the consensus process – coming up w a creative solution that no one violently objects to

3 min – part of the pleasure is an abandonment of self.. that comes from the trust in others that others (or group as a whole – which doesn’t always happen) are actually smarter than you..

4 min – i could speak but i don’t have to.. sometimes you just let go.. and that’s a lot of where the pleasure comes from

let go ness

so how is that experience reproducible..

5 min – people who created constitution.. hated democracy/diversity..  ie: we need to contain this.. we need to tamp down too much democracy..

stamped from the beginning

7 min – why did they have to do that?.. seems to be a desire.. that people should be able to manage own affairs.. so what would it take to bring that idea to realization..

meadows undisturbed law

9 min – they didn’t imagine equality was possible

equity is

11 min – imaginary lines w/not so imaginary weapons

major thing.. there is no lacking creative interesting ideas.. imagine.. all lines erased..

12 min – the greatest squandered resource is all those people who have got them (creative ideas to solve solutions) have no forum in which to say them.. or literally told to shut up.. question is how to unleash that..

13 min – need to create structures/context .. where that kind of group mind.. actual democracy can take root.. we have to challenge those invisible walls.. look at those structures of power more seriously

as it could be

most people .. i know what we could do.. i wish i could say it

structure of ineq make it impossible.. but.. it would create a society actually capable of solving problems the world faces today..


David Graeber (@davidgraeber) tweeted at 2:53 PM on Sat, Sep 08, 2018:
So I’m getting old now. And capitalism is still here. I mean, yes, okay, it’s not in the best of shape. Definitely showing signs of stress. But so am I. So are you guys going to get your acts together to get rid of it now before i die in 30 years or so? C’mon. Please?

radical econ could do it in way less than 30


yellow vests

David Graeber (@davidgraeber) tweeted at 6:23 PM on Mon, Dec 10, 2018:
the “like” is for the picture, not my own text. Great picture! https://t.co/SVhk3gWTHv

As government and financial bureaucracies become so intimately intertwined it’s increasingly difficult to tell one from the other, wealth and power

graeber f&b same law

particularly, the power to create money (that is, credit)—also become effectively the same thing. (This was what we were drawing attention to in Occupy Wall Street when we talked about the “1%’—those with the ability to turn their wealth into political influence, and political influence back into wealth.) ..t

In France of course these are precisely the Macronists. Members of these classes feel that they are the embodiments of any possible universalism, their conceptions of the universal being firmly rooted in the market, or increasingly, that atrocious fusion of bureaucracy and market which is the reigning ideology of what’s called the “political center.” Working people in this new centrist reality are increasingly denied any possibility of universalism, since they literally cannot afford it..t

About the only class of people who seem unable to grasp this new reality are intellectuals.

Just as during Nuit Debout, many of the movement’s self-appointed “leadership” seemed unable or unwilling to accept the idea that horizontal forms of organization were in fact a form of organization (they simply couldn’t comprehend the difference between a rejection of top-down structures and total chaos)..t, so now intellectuals of left and right insist that the Gilets Jaunes are “anti-ideological”, unable to understand that for horizontal social movements, the unity of theory and practice (which for past radical social movements tended to exist much more in theory than in practice) actually does exist in practice.These new movements do not need an intellectual vanguard to provide them with an ideology because they already have one: the rejection of intellectual vanguards and embrace of multiplicity..t .. and horizontal democracy itself.

There is a role for intellectuals in these new movements, certainly, but it will have to involve a little less talking and a lot more listening..t

all the voices.. always..

as it could be


Tyler McConnell (@tjmac87) tweeted at 10:17 PM on Sun, Jan 20, 2019:
“Work, Aristotle insisted, in no sense makes you a better person; in fact, it makes you a worse one, since it takes up so much time, thus making it difficult to fulfill one’s social and political obligations.”

thinking obligations do the same


another session w james butler – feb 2019

Novara Media (@novaramedia) tweeted at 5:57 AM – 4 Feb 2019 :
. @davidgraeber on last week’s #NovaraFM explaining the surprising origin of the idea of ‘progress’.
Full show: https://t.co/LHj8fOjdBEhttps://t.co/y2ekbhrLWv (http://twitter.com/novaramedia/status/1092406772554444800?s=17)

11:50 min – if people learn more info and change their minds why is that anti democratic..t

bravery to change mind every day

13 min – brief moment in 2008 .. where anything was open to question

26 min – on @aoc.. and her age are the ones that were 20 ish during occupy

36 min – bi provides a good thought experiment.. a way of resetting our brains.. to realize money is this thing we can make appear and disappear.. reset the way we look at livelihood..t

bi as temp placebo.. graeber bi law

47 min – i think we need to talk about freedom – the revolt of the caring classes

49 min – why not instead of production and consumption we substitute caring and freedom.. caring primarily aimed at maintaining another person’s freedom.. what would you do to the world if you reimagined it that way.. t

free dom and caring labor

53 min – origins on social ineq.. at first not about equality .. about freedom.. if don’t have basic needs met can’t be free.. gradually turns into a discourse about equality


David Graeber (@davidgraeber) tweeted at 1:01 AM on Fri, Apr 05, 2019:
According to scientists working on animal play, when two rats play fight or play compete, the bigger rat lets the littler rat win 30% of the time just to keep life more interesting. Learning this made me extremely happy. The universe isn’t as bad as we like to think.


David Graeber (@davidgraeber) tweeted at 2:38 AM on Thu, Apr 25, 2019:
I’ve never been married before. Even though the proper ceremony is later, in London & Berlin, I have never been more moved than that someone who actually knows me would want to be with me forever. https://t.co/AyJieDnuYi


art world with nika


Exceptionally good piece by @DavidGraeber on the apparatus that manufactures social hopelessness and the people’s forgetfulness that they have repeatedly vanquished it. Flimsy indeed is a system that must always subdue imagination to continue. https://t.co/PD0YW9zbS7
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/impermanen_/status/1176881442787184640

sept 7 2019 article – hope in common


David Wengrow (@davidwengrow) tweeted at 6:33 AM on Thu, Nov 14, 2019:
Absolute must-read from @davidgraeber, for so many reasons I can’t even figure out where to begin. https://t.co/hO8EwQkhbi

The problem, as Skidelsky emphasizes, is that if your initial assumptions are absurd, multiplying them a thousandfold will hardly make them less so. . t.. Or, as he puts it, rather less gently, “lunatic premises lead to mad conclusions”:

perhaps our bigger/deeper problem is thinking/assuming that money (any form of measuring/accounting) should be part of the conversation

let’s go with 2 convers as infra

*This demands a different science. The “microfoundations” of current economics are precisely what is standing in the way of this.. t Any new, viable science will either have to draw on the accumulated knowledge of feminism, behavioral economics, psychology, and even anthropology to come up with theories **based on how people actually behave, or once again embrace the notion of emergent levels of complexity—or, most likely, both

*perhaps it’s the science/measuring ness that is standing in the way

**rather.. all current theories are based on how whales in sea world behave

Intellectually, this won’t be easy. Politically, it will be even more difficult. Breaking through neoclassical economics’ lock on major institutions, and its near-theological hold over the media—not to mention all the subtle ways it has come to define our conceptions of human motivations and the horizons of human possibility—is a daunting prospect. *Presumably, some kind of shock would be required..t What might it take? Another 2008-style collapse? Some radical political shift in a major world government? A global youth rebellion? However it will come about, books like this—and quite possibly this book—will play a crucial part.

not books.. rather.. *letting go.. letting entropy .. et al


David Graeber (@davidgraeber) tweeted at 5:39 AM – 23 Nov 2019 :
this guy thinks £80k/year is below average income? (In fact the median is 24k and the mean 37k). Presumably he think he’s just getting by. My question: how did we create a bubble where professional-managerial types simply have no conception how most people live? https://t.co/WwBCwJk60b (http://twitter.com/davidgraeber/status/1198219507979997185?s=17)

BERNERSforYANG (@BERNERSforYANG) tweeted at 5:42 AM – 23 Nov 2019 :
@davidgraeber It’s the same here in USA, people think 24k/year ubi won’t help the vast majority of people.
Cluelessness (http://twitter.com/BERNERSforYANG/status/1198220238980034561?s=17)

let’s try/code money (any form of measuring/accounting) as the planned obsolescence

ie: ubi as temp placebo..


David Graeber (@davidgraeber) tweeted at 0:44 PM on Tue, Dec 03, 2019:
this video is going up in a bunch of places but here’s mine: my take on the AS controversy and why intentionally fanning the flames, as so many are doing, endangers Jewish people https://t.co/yXgKrRBKvT

2 min video


Wendy L Schultz (@wendyinfutures) tweeted at 3:22 AM – 18 Dec 2019 :
Insightful thread on new class divisions and politics. https://t.co/9oFW2okN80 (http://twitter.com/wendyinfutures/status/1207244629348962304?s=17)

threaded here:


it seems to me there is a massive shift in class structures and class identities, & one reason right wing populism works is because they’re exploiting it more effectively – but I don’t have the real data & I’m curious what’s out there 1/

“working class” no longer means factory work, but largely construction, & above all maintenance, and care work. “Middle class” means administrative & professional (including a lot of bullshit job territory.) So class resentment is increasingly vs professional-managerial 2/

the prof-mans are seen as obsessed with rules, laws, regulation… they are stuffy bureaucrats, whether in the public or private sector, who get in the way of you doing your job. The Parliamentary struggle over Brexit became a perfect metaphor for this. 3/

I actually saw this happening at the time & tweeted about it, that BJ/Cumming’s trick was to win by losing, to force Corbyn to ally with the legalistic Remainers trying to block the popular will, the guys who are about form v content & who thus stack the system in their favour 4/

when I wrote this, I got a private message from a higher-up in the Corbyn camp saying “yes this is exactly what they are trying to do to us. Identify us with the legalistic establishment so they’ll seem the popular insurgents. Please write about this.” But no media’d touch it 5/

this is why Trump, BJ with his phoney chaotic persona, have popular appeal: they’re the exact opposite of the legalistic rule bound administrator upstairs who drives you crazy at your job,& they managed to manoeuvre Corbyn into seeming like he could be that guy 6/

what I’m interested in is the class basis. Obv nurses, teachers, the front-line workers in the new care economy, didn’t vote for BJ but remain LP. What about school or hospital administrators? The higher ups no doubt Tory but the mid-range ones who actually drive you crazy? 7/

what are the core class constituents of each party in terms of the fundamental class opposition emerging in the care-giving economy & what class segments are up for grabs? I’m not a sociologist. I don’t have the data.


Nika Dubrovsky (@nikadubrovsky) tweeted at 11:57 AM on Fri, Feb 21, 2020:
The book about kings with.⁦@davidgraeber⁩ https://t.co/ruGvGG89ui


David Graeber (@davidgraeber) tweeted at 8:56 AM on Wed, Feb 26, 2020:
leaving aside the silly malicious interpretations, I do find this global panic over what is basically a bad flu to be a significant. There’s a racist element, def, but also I wonder if there’s some kind of indirect unconscious climate panic involved.


5 min video

“There really seems to be this idea that people who are putting their lives on the line for the sake of all of us, shouldn’t be compensated with money because they’re not doing it for money.” @davidgraeberhttps://t.co/Oxii7cfaWH
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/brutamerica/status/1255535954561044483

we have a unique opp to realize just how silly all that is and just cut it out.. we need to focus on what’s really important to us.. and that would mean.. not going back to sleep.. can we do that.. i don’t know.. there’s going to be huge pressure on us to ‘get back to work’


david on to (virus) leap ness

e.g., “we knew the administrators running hospitals etc were useless, but now we see them as murderers.” So all the pieces seem to be there for a revolutionary situation, except the normal role of intellectuals, providing a means of communication between struggles, is stymied 11/
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davidgraeber/status/1257276705716174850

rest of thread:

@davidgraeber: I think if I start writing something it will focus on what was shaping up before the pandemic, & how it might influence what will happen after. I mean, aside from obvious stuff like the breakneck destruction of the planet 1/

@davidgraeber: first of all, all economists agreed that some sort of economic blow-out was coming, based on unsupportable levels of personal debt & the normal workings of the business cycle. A crash was due & Central Banks were pumping money furiously to slow or soften it 2/

@davidgraeber: 2nd of all, there was an unprecedented wave of popular unrest over late 2019-e2020, much unreported, everywhere from Haiti to Hong Kong to the Gilets Jaunes to Sudan to… someone listed like 40 uprisings, non-violent or otherwise. This was extraordinary 3/

@davidgraeber: it’s perhaps not entirely shocking as it seems to happen every ten years. 1999-2001 was the height of the Alterglobalization movement, worldwide uprising, 2011 of course saw Arab Spring, Squares, OWS… So we were due. But each time, disturbingly, there’s less articulation 4/

articulation? or listening?

both?.. but which would help more.. ie: graeber model law et al

what we need is a means to listen to all the voices/articulations//idio-jargons.. as they are detoxing

ie: focus on self-talk as data via tech as it could be..

@davidgraeber: Global Justice Movement had no top-down org but it had Indymedia, People’s Global Action, a host of planet-wide institutions to connect struggles; the 2011 movements at least shared ideas and people moved back and forth between them 5/

@davidgraeber: this time half the people involved didn’t even know about most of the others, or have any way to follow them closely (as the mainstream media largely ignored them). The other really significant movement was the #RevoltoftheCaringClasses (forgive the shameless branding attempt) 6/

@davidgraeber: that is, as productivity of the health, education, caring sectors decline owing to administrative bloat, digitisation encourages #bullshitization, more people are hired in these sectors under worse conditions, compensation, so all the strikes are teachers, nurses, care workers 7/

@davidgraeber: now of course those very people who had been rebelling or on the brink of it are the “first line workers” still on the job as the administrators who are their immediate class antagonists hide at home, & most of their potential allies are in lockdown 8/

@davidgraeber: in the UK, after World Wars, the left is swept into power. Why? Because working class people 1. suddenly have experience in socialist organisation & see it works, 2. since upper class people are automatically made officers, they have direct experience of what idiots they are, 9/

@davidgraeber: and of course 3. they come home trained in the use of weapons so the political class can’t just entirely ignore their demands. This is being treated as analogous to a war mobilisation & there are some similarities, especially #2 applies & I keep hearing that 10/

@davidgraeber: e.g., “we knew the administrators running hospitals etc were useless, but now we see them as murderers.” So all the pieces seem to be there for a revolutionary situation, except the normal role of intellectuals, providing a means of communication between struggles, is stymied 11/

perhaps ‘normal role of intellectuals’ providing a means of communication is part of what’s been keeping us from any real revolution.. that listening hierarchy ness

d’s response to this tweet:

@davidgraeber: well I was trying to be generous and say “provide means of communication” to imply we could actually *listen & convey, rather come up with the “correct strategic analysis” and all that sort of disastrous stuff

perhaps we try.. *listen & connect..

and perhaps to do that w/o judgment/commentary/bias/whatever/conveyance.. we could repurpose tech/algos.. so that they do what they do best.. (rather than trying to mech them human like).. input/output.. ie: input: self-talk as data; output: augmenting interconnectedness.. use data to connect locals using their daily curiosities as labels/input to make matches

@davidgraeber: we need something like indymedia again. All our means of communication are now corporate – twitter included.

[The Independent Media Center (also known as Indymedia or IMC) is an open publishing network of activist journalist collectives that report on political and social issues.]

or maybe we need to (and now have a chance to) revolutionize communication itself.. ie: less reporting/publishing.. more listening to 8b voices.. everyday.. using that data to augment our interconnectedness

d’s response to this tweet:

@davidgraeber: well that was the idea of Indymedia; it was huge during the Global Justice Movement, and then suddenly everyone switched to facebook and twitter etc and I for one was horrified

the switching to fb/twitter.. perhaps attempts to hear more voices as well.. but if we just hear more and not all.. then we get ie: tragedy of the non common ness

@davidgraeber: how can the working classes recompose (to use the Post-Workerist terminology) around caring labour, what is the role of the communicative classes (if we can call them that) if they’re all confined to their houses? 12/

@davidgraeber: I keep getting back to the poll last week that said only 9% of Brits want to go back to “normal” – but for 50 years not only our imaginations but our ability to talk to each other across class lines has been brutally attacked. How to undo this? 13/

undo the listening hierarchy.. ie: 2 convers as infra

listen & connect


David Graeber (@davidgraeber) tweeted at 8:11 AM on Tue, May 12, 2020:
What if we defined “the economy” as “the way we take care of one another”?
Since that’s what it ultimately is.
What would economic indicators then look like?

indicator: a gauge or meter of a specified kind

that we no longer need indicators.. any form of measuring/accounting

thinking that if we think we need indicators is a red flag we’re doing it wrong


Roosevelt T Hawkins III (GOD) (@rth3rdgod) tweeted at 4:31 PM on Sat, Jul 25, 2020:
“A revolution on a world scale will take a very long time. But it is also possible to recognize that it is already starting to happen.” – David Graeber

i think we’re seeing.. a revolution could happen in no time..

but we’d have to be deeply focused.. (maté basic needs)

we’d have to let go of irrelevants..




Yesterday the best person in a world, my husband and my friend .@davidgraeber died in a hospital in Venice.
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/nikadubrovsky/status/1301504647769792512

how i hope this is a dream


so glad i spent yesterday (as so many days).. with his words (d&d)


much love to nika

and david

David Wengrow (@davidwengrow) tweeted at 5:47 PM on Thu, Sep 03, 2020:
Thank you to everyone who wrote today, for your kind words. @davidgraeber was my intellectual soulmate, and more than a dear friend – a “substitute brother” as he liked to say. I will finish what we started. I know it’s what he expects of me. It’s beginning. #TheDawnOfEverything

on david dying


@davidwengrow This gave me joy when I first saw it. Finally, someone of stature taking Veblen seriously! https://t.co/pjet1P4QNu
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/Micoed/status/1376956101292392449

just because of their useless ness.. crazy consumption.. versions of conspicuous waste.. intentionally throwing stuff away.. ultimate gesture of superiority.. the ultimate poisonous gift.. on C