m of care – apr 6

DEBT: THE FIRST 5,000 YEARS BY DAVID GRAEBER. Part 12. Chapters 11-12

debt (book) – david graeber – part 12 – ch 11-12


notes/quotes from mtg (nika traveling):

steven: conclusion of argument graeber makes about debt.. as someone spent life academically studying and living thru ordeals of capitalism.. i was expecting a much bigger.. more thorough robust anal of c.. to say more about what made c in the post 1600 as rapacious as it was and he didn’t.. as i thought more.. good reasons.. his very idea of c is built on an idea of morality .. doesn’t take tech, wage labor, enslavement to create c.. it’s a moral system that requires the belittling of one agent who strives for something.. requires a structural ineq baked into relationship from start.. so moral relationship from start.. i’d never thought of c as 1st/foremost a moral relationship.. moment one thinks in term of debt/salvation/redemption.. submission to this outside redeeming force that gives c its insidious ness.. means whatever is in us isn’t valuable enough.. have to live hoping someone will resolve us of our debt.. nothing more than moral compulsion to realize we can’t pay our debts.. one of last ch’s talks about all gold/silver in liberty place lower manhattan.. and when he grew up learned conspiracy theories about gold there.. then later found it is there.. after 911 conspiracies stories started appearing again.. all conspiracies turn on secret knowledge we aren’t privy too.. so imagination keeps c afloat.. we imagine this is way world has to be.. ie: i have a 401k.. if melts down.. that will mean something.. good luck making people it’s not real.. i’m going to bank on a future.. but we don’t know.. leaves me w passage david used for expanded/updated edition 2017 – man on beach collecting coconuts.. et al.. c is such a silly system.. living for fake dream.. for most of us

zach supina: how do you go about encouraging others to imagine alt systems.. hard to pull people out of matrix to any extent.. failure of communication to present an alt to people

graeber model law (graeber revolution law): ‘you’ll never ever be able to convince a person thru logical argument or even brilliant rhetoric that a free and just society is possible..  you can show them.. you can start doing it‘ – David Graeber

– radical economy – David and Charles Eisenstein and Daniel Pinchbeck

peter kurze: i’ve never believed you can .. rather just talk about it in every day terms.. and making things right..

christian walter: maybe morality and politics.. collapse

michael reinsborough: begin of ch.. return to boullion.. newtonianism say we need gold.. diff between world of interest.. money increases forever.. credit back and forth but usually on small scales.. one new way came in was paper money but tied to gold standard.. why this age and axile age same pieces but arranged in diff way.. now have paper money.. so what is c.. all features of c existed well before industrial rev, agri, wage labor.. before all that c existed.. start using more violence/state to collect money.. paper money state declared based on king’s debt.. bouillon taken up by destroying that (local) credit system

steven: as local credit systems broke down.. entailed breaking down various lines of communities.. social solidarities dry up.. replaced by interest ness.. bouillon system that is about interest.. an authoritarian interest.. only those in authority have opp to recoop money by extending credit.. but diff is interest is now individual market oriented.. for sake of individual.. if individual doesn’t see up side.. that’s all that matters.. but only available to certain people.. not only as credit dries up and replaced with interest/usury.. redefined as dictated ways that privilege interest.. this is a form of state formation.. efficiencies and markets.. et al.. locke providing intellectual scaffolding

michael: locke also on virgina corp.. advised them via purity ness.. ‘land must be developed/improved.. purity ness.. so native people’s haven’t improved land.. (not true but).. then claimed all land.. so locke involved in original property ness.. footnote: ‘i’m not arguing against c starts w land enclosures.. am just writing about this additional thing.. not writing about the typical thing’

christian: pieces came back together differently.. physical coinage to imaginary utopian project.. because so little money.. said have to go back to money and not do imaginary.. but.. all of it was still made up.. daily lives of most people didn’t have stuff we consider basis of c.. adam smith was a utopian.. a kept man.. working for oligarch.. working in house.. paid a lot of money to come up w arguments that didn’t reflect reality.. became real.. but at time.. none of it was there.. morality came in.. on top of it coins.. even though not true for a long long time.. i think this is part of the diff

joseph turner: sharing a timeline he made.. i was curious about pattern he’s describing.. ie: china opp of europe.. on demanding econ that people don’t have at that time.. ie: metal vs labor.. flipped

joanna ingalls: ethics of any accumulation of wealth.. ie: 401k..

steven: how the ethical dimension burden is always on those who think about it.. if don’t bother to have the thoughts.. then not bothered by the thoughts

michael: how about the various diff types of paper money.. didn’t have to know people w coinage system.. paper money used to tie down credit systems.. then becomes tied to gold standard.. because wanted to say.. it’s scientific.. to maintain c.. et al.. section that said.. 3 diff ways of paper money

christian: last para in this ch.. ‘presented w prospect of own eternity.. c .. explodes.. because no end to it.. credit is future money infinitively’..

michael: saying ‘easier to imagine end of world than end of c’

‘we live in capitalism.. its power seems inescapable.. but so did the divine right of kings’ ursula leguin

peter kurze: on 2 diff money systems.. restricted vs unrestricted

micahel: money enforced by 1\ trust, by 2\ law, by 3\ interest.. p 338.. diff systems.. et al






notes from debt (book)

ch 12 starts 7442

ch 12: the beginning of something yet to be determined (1971-present)

Free your mind of the idea of deserving, of the idea of earning, and you will begin to be able to think. —Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed

earn a living ness.. ursula le guin.. the dispossessed


..modern money is based on government debt, and that governments borrow money in order to finance wars.


the creation of central banks rep’d a permanent institutionalization of that marriage between the interest of warriors and financiers..

the key to U.S. military doctrine has always been a reliance on air power. the us has fought no war in which it did not control the skies..

61 – ugh

The essence of U.S. military predominance in the world is, ultimately, the fact that it can, at will, with only a few hours’ notice, drop bombs at absolutely any point on the surface of the planet. No other government has ever had anything remotely like this sort of capability. In fact, a case could well be made that it is this very cosmic power that holds the entire world monetary system, organized around the dollar, together.

it’s a form of power that works largely insofar as it remains symbolic.


ugh.. ron kovic et al


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, through generously funded and ever-expanding public educational institutions, know that their children had a reasonable chance of leaving the working class entirely.


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..t

need deeper than change nature.. need new/old ecosystem.. sans any form of people telling other people what to do

econs call this keynesian era.. since keynes formed bases of roosevelt’s new deal – the euthanasia of eh rentier.. as in so much of keynesianism.. this was much less radical than it first appeared..

a new deal


we cling to what exists because we can no longer imagine an alt that wouldn’t be even worse


at its root is a veritable obsession on part of rulers of world in response to upheavals of 60s-70s.. w ensuring that social movements cannot be seen to grow, flourish, or propose alts; that those who challenge existing power arrangements can never, under any circumstances be perceived to win.. to do so requires creating a vast apparatus of armies, prisons, police, various forms of private security firms and military intel apparatus and propaganda engines of every conceivable variety, most of which do not attack alts directly so much as create a pervasive climate of fear, jingoistic conformity and simple despair that renders any thought of changing the world seem an idle fantasy..t

huge huge


Finance capital became the buying and selling of chunks of that future, and economic freedom, for most of us, was reduced to the right to buy a small piece of one’s own permanent subordination..t

will it be same this time around? presumably a lot depends on how consciously we set out to ensure that it won’t be.. will a return to virtual money lead to a move away from empires

this is ie of loss of imagination.. why only talking of alts w (embedded in)  money (any form of measuring/accounting)


what i’ve been trying to do in book.. is not propose a vision of what precisely the next age will be like, but to throw open perspective, enlarge out sense of possibilities; to begin to ask what it would mean to start thinking on a breadth and w a grandeur appropriate to the time

ie: perhaps we can have tech w/o judgment ie: tech as it could be

but why not throw things open even more widely

yeah that.. beyond any form of people telling other people what to do

over last 5000 yrs.. at least 2 occasions when major dramatic moral and *financial innovations have emerged from the country we now refer to as iraq… odd to most.. since most americans are used to thinking of iraqis either as victims or fanatics (this is how occupying powers always think about the people they occupy)

*why limiting imagination to financial ness?


The one thing we can be confident of is that history is not over, and that wherever the most exciting new ideas of the next century come from, it will almost certainly be from someplace we don’t expect.t


he one thing that’s clear is that such new ideas cannot emerge w/o our jettisoning of much of our accustomed categories of thought – which have become mostly sheer dead weight if not intrinsic parts of the very apparatus of hopelessness -and formulating new ones..t

graeber rethink law

let’s jettison any form of measuring/accounting/telling people what to do.. and try ie: cure ios city


why i spent so much of book talking about the market, but also about the false *choice between state and market that so monopolized political ideology for last centuries that it made it difficult to argue about anything else..

spinach or rock ness

decision making is unmooring us law

they operated primarily on credit.. cash market arose thru war: again largely thru…

same song.. whole book

how even our conceptions of freedom itself came to be transformed thru roman institution of slavery, from the ability to make friends, to enter into moral relation s w others, into incoherent dreams of absolute power, is only perhaps most dramatic instance, and most insidious, because it leaves it very hard to imagine what meaningful human freedom would even be like..t

black science of people/whales law


if this book has shown anything, it’s exactly how much violence it has taken, over course of human history, to bring us to a situation where it’s even possible to imagine that that’s what life is really about .. esp when one considers how much of our own daily experience flies directly in the face of it..t


these systems of exchange can take an endless variety of forms, many perfectly innocuous.. still, what we are speaking of here is a very particular type of exchange, founded on precise calc

the diff between owing someone a favor and *owing a debt is that the amount of a debt can be **precisely calculated

*diff makes no diff.. if still have this assumption as foundation .. which we do ie: all the red flags

**precise ness matters little. what matters is that we’re still/always calculating..

oh my math.. of math and men

Calculation demands equivalence. And such equivalence—especially when it involves equivalence between human beings (and it always seems to start that way, because at first, human beings are always the ultimate values)—only seems to occur when people have been forcibly *severed from their contexts, so much so that they can be treated as identical to something else,

*st\ripped from context

and continues to be true.. Any system that reduces the world to numbers can only be held in place by weapons,..t whether these are swords and clubs, or, nowadays, “smart bombs” from unmanned drones.

huge ginorm

can also only operate by continually converting love to debt.. (i know more provocative than communism but important to hammer point home.. just as markets when allowed to drift *entirely free from their violent origins

? *can they .. ever? entirely? i don’t think so.. we need to let go of any form of measuring/accounting


such is the state of the conversation in mainstream literature.. it has consistently encouraged us to ask the wrong questions..t

ie: any that assume any form of measuring/accounting/telling people what to do

for me.. this is exactly what’s so pernicious about the morality of debt: the way that fin imperative constantly try to reduce us all, despite ourselves, to the equiv of pillagers, eyeing the world simply for what can be turned into money.. and then tell us that it’s only those who are willing to see world as pillagers who deserve access to the resources required to pursue anything in life other than money..t


the real question now is how to ratchet things down a bit.. toward a society where people can live more by working less.

? or not at all.. (depends on defn of work.. ie: for money or ?) let’s try this – as the day

but all (politics have been) in such a way as never to allow a challenge to the principle of debt itself.. never allowing anyone to question the sacred principle that we must all pay our debts..

part\ial ness is killing us.. for (blank)’s sake


what is debt anyway? a debt is just the perversion of a promise.. a promise corrupted by both math and violence

fgraeber violence/quantification law et al

i’d say thinking we need a promise is a red flag as well

what sorts of *promises might genuinely free men and women make to one another? at this point we can’t even say.. it’s more a question of how we can get to a place that will allow us to **find out.. and the first step in that journey, in turn, is to accept that in the largest scheme of things, just at no one has the ***right to tell us our true value no one has the ***right to tell us what we truly owe..

*why promise at all.. how can we?

**am thinking we’ll find out we need to let go of promising things

***and of rights ness.. not to mention it would be more that no one has the ability (no one knows)



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