m of care – jan 5

debt (book)david graeber – part 6 – ch 7

https://museum.care/events/debt-readinggroup-part6/

notes/quotes from 1 hour video:

steve: ch 7 on honor and degradation.. on history and now have structures of violence built around exposes debt et al.. rooted in the violence of estate.. starts with honor as lynchpin of structure of violence.. enslavement and markets.. today called global capitalism .. so he begins honor to show how system came to be.. he shows patriarchy has a history and if we want to understand system os social obligation that is disguise by money.. have to go back to patriarchy.. ie: patriarchal/fatherly honor.. that markets have produced over time a moral dilemma in fathers.. because creation of money/value .. how to prevent someone w money from seizing or luring away my daughter/sister/wife.. who i’ve come to believe are mine.. markets/violence/enslavement not nature.. but when 3 come together form impersonalization that allow for legacy, private properties, armies.. etc..

steve: p177 – quote.. if someone does have money.. how to prevent them from turning my female subjects on side of enemy.. show transactions that create naturalized ways of thinking.. love to hear your thoughts on this very provocative ch

7 min – christian: he says honor is surplus dignity.. dignity in labor always struck me as a stupid notion.. serving people in power.. could say dignity is the poor man’s version of honor.. if stop working.. cast out of society.. in our society.. violence being done to everybody.. because ie: if you don’t work

9 min – steve: yeah.. vagrancy laws passed.. criminal to not have a job.. and the punishment was to have a job.. and these systems are still with us.. the timing of this book was not coincidental.. came out of his activism and the debates about austerity.. ways of preserving wealth for those at the top

11 min – christian: but when say dignity in labor

steve: i think there’s a reason why calvinism and capitalism overlapped in that way.. based on a polarity between work and play.. a false construct.. one we’re naturally accustomed to believe in.. when not working.. playing.. if it’s loyal/consumptive play.. you’re buying into the system.. so operating w/in the structure of violence.. so graeber says better to look at it between care and freedom.. work and play is like sin and redemption

graeber care/free law et al

13 min – michael: this question of how does a money system arise out of honor.. talking about prices of all these honor issues.. prices of solving problems.. not buying/selling objects.. but buying/selling peace between people.. yet women still at 1/2 price.. p 172 – authors didn’t even know how to put a price on those of ordinary use.. no one seems to have paid money for them.. only thing people paid money for was a slave girl.. is it true that when expanding commercial econ in ireland.. basis is slave girl price.. even though not paying in slave girls.. a money system starts with an honor system.. because honor system allows someone to take over someone else’s life

18 min – steve: that’s my read (money comes from honor system).. on creative refusal having to do with heroicism which means again able to control/conquer another.. i see question in chat about question between honor and respect.. i don’t know how to answer that.. to me honor has a stronger analytical power.. or maybe they are just synonyms.. when i hear word honor.. it’s something i already have.. where respect is earned.. respect seems a weaker.. doesn’t require someone else to give me authority or adoration..

21 min – steven greenspan: doesn’t david use term honor in a way that includes hierarchy.. where respect can be between individuals and a more egalitarian framework

steve: that’s what i was trying to get at.. i think he means honor as something that requires an audience.. where respect doesn’t require audience

23 min – steven greenspan: but also w honor he’s creating a value system.. diff degrees of honor.. seems to be used in a very diff way..

steve: yeah.. honor as surplus dignity.. to a value added.. where respect .. ie: only thing that distinguishes a king.. it’s because someone believes it.. so that is the surplus ness of honor

24 min – michael: that’s what he said in defn.. on one hand integrity and on the other violence .. ie: use violence to take another’s dignity away.. that means honor means for a certain set of people the ability to fight.. so see phrases like blood and honor.. your status in society has to do if whether you can defend yourself..

26 min – nika: respect has more relationship w social currency.. and honor more with money.. interesting to talk about law being a fetish.. so money and law.. something you can change.. social relationship can be re arranged.. but honor via muscle guys.. diff story.. same w money/law.. out of human reach.. we cannot change it by ourself.. not allowed to renegotiate it.. that’s how we come up with bureaucratic societies.. bound by law

28 min – kelig: also an interesting way to look at the word freedom there.. ie: honorable person.. then toward someone able to use violence against somebody.. and how defn of freedom changed over time.. freedom as capacity to take/keep your engagement.. ie: stop being a slave you get this back.. then 2nd cent.. freedom seen only as power.. maybe there can be link between double defn of honor/freedom.. based on roman law.. german theorist quote: ‘rome conquered world 3 times: armies, religion, law.. ‘.. david adds.. the 3rd was much more powerful and went much further.. and back to adam smith.. freedom to do anything w what we own

31 min – christian : maybe going back to my original question.. that the meaning of freedom in society changed over time.. that was a way to hide the violence.. and unable to step out of it.. because so hidden.. that’s with dignity of labor.. poor seek value in eyes of society.. via rules everyone adheres to.. once so naturalized/hidden.. all this violence distorting .. but don’t realize where it’s coming from because it’s become so normal

myth of normal ness et al

33 min – joseph: i was fascinated by how our rights are conceived as property.. means we can do whatever we want w our property.. including destroy.. at end of ch.. jefferson .. owner of many slaves.. constitution all men created equal.. just kept old with word ‘not’ inserted here and there.. what would it look like to have a genuinely new synthesis.. that didn’t deny roman concept of dominio as it applies to our rights.. but intrinsic value.. something like inalienable that doesn’t have the word not in it

36 min – steve: tough because our culture is defined more by what we don’t do .. difficult to measure/manifest that.. what we don’t see is all the things that are not happening.. it means to start w an idea of chaos/anarchy/uncertainty that is critical realism.. and then just start with first principles and see where those refusals are..

? if start over.. uncertainty.. chaos.. how would you have refusals?

38 min – mark: the way our rights are defined are by negation.. ie: for property .. it’s all the possible infringements i’m protecting.. can’t really use a positive.. has to be a negation

39 min – steve: property (individual as we understand it today).. requires a negation that it is the commons.. systems are created to draw lines.. and doing so in the name of creating freedom.. real ambiguity going on

40 min – nika: on property.. david was saying.. when driving car.. have to go by rules.. but can keep others from driving your car.. fascinated on how prostitution changed from being sacred done in ancient churches.. then became horrifying things that could happen .. looks like 1000 yrs of trauma before males lost females to torture..

50 min – nika: the legal system is a set of rules.. who’s setting the rules and how the rules could be changed.. w/o very easy way of changing them it becomes the trump.. in play.. can leave or change rules.. but in society not like that.. because of legal system

51 min – joseph: so need alt to legal system diff for everyone

nika: so try to develop rules for everyone.. very bad for humans.. should get rid of this if we can

52 min – steve: any legal system has legal structure around it.. there are other.. moral/ethical systems that operate in non capitalist ways.. c allows for human body to be priced.. so other systems that deliberately prevent the accumulation of capital.. ie: confucianism.. awareness of money.. but put merchants lower on hierarchy..

54 min – nika: i tried to create document for notes.. if people want to go back and see and contribute

56 min – steve: he’s looking for a whole new way to understand this western thinking.. scholarship *since 60s has assumed a level of consent by using a flawed idea of culture.. so a lot of scholarship has started with a narrow understanding of culture that if is expanded out can offer a history of human possibilities rather than this ‘as if’ history.. ‘as if these things are inevitably were meant to happen’ and at any given moment there are alts.. and if we naturalize the erasure of those alts.. we’re not being fully human.. so profound.. means we’ve not fully understood our own history.. because we’ve committed epistemic fallacies.. we’ve not seen that we’re a part of the organism that we’re trying to define

yeah that.. and i’d say *since forever.. history ness.. research ness.. all data to date.. non legit.. like from whales in sea world

58 min – christian: on scholarship going down since 60s.. it seems to have a lot to do w econ.. a lot of freedoms we see as societal progress.. ie: more rights.. we advance as culture.. i wonder if these advances were not based in prosperity mainly.. because once better off.. let go.. and once worse off.. fight more.. if some

1:04 – steve: next time ch 8

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_________

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notes/quotes taken from ch7 of debt (book):

ch 7: honor and degradation

can’t begin to think about such questions w/o taking into account the role of sheer physical violence..

because there is every reason to believe that slavery w its unique ability to rip human beings from their contexts, to turn them into abstractions, played a key role in the rise of markets everywhere

ripping allows violence allows market

the death of us ness

3385

the broad outlines can be reconstructed.. best way to do so is to start from a single, odd, vexed concept: the concept of honor, which can be teated as a kind of artifact, a fragment preserved from history that seems to compress into itself the answer to almost everything we’ve been trying to understand..

on the one hand.. violence: men who live by violence.. are almost always invariably obsessed w honor.. and assaults on honor are considered the most obvious justification for acts of violence..

in the other.. debt: debts of honor and honoring one’s debts.. transition form one to the other provides best clue to how debts emerge from obligations..

even more disturbingly.. since notion of honor makes no sense w/o the possibility of degradation.. reconstructing this history reveals how much our basic concepts of freedom/morlaity took shape w/institutions – notably, but not only – slavery – that we’d sooner not have to think about at all

3407

on equiano’s book (1789) troubling because slave not opposed to slavery in early life.. why did it take him so long (to come to abolitionist position).. surely if anyone had reason to understand the evils of slavery, it was he.. the answer sees, oddly, to lie in the man’s very integrity.. to be made a slave is to be stripped of any possible honor

again.. like the analogous ness of all this.. but (to me) not getting deep enough .. ie: honor as red flag.. need to strip us back down.. or build us back up.. to just a & a

his problem was that honor is, by defn, something that exists in the eyes of others.. to be able to recover it, then, a slave must necessarily adopt the rules and standards of the society that surrounds him and this means that in practice at least.. he cannot absolutely reject the institutions that deprived him of his honor in the first place. .

yeah.. see.. great.. if we could just replace honor with a & a

it strikes me that this experience of only being able to restore one’s lost honor, to regain the ability to act w integrity by acting in accord w the terms of the system that one knows, thru deeply traumatic personal experience, to be utterly unjust – is itself one of the most profoundly violent aspects of slavery.. t

huge

getting to the deeper issues.. (even if i think we won’t truly get there if using words like honor, integrity)

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it is another ie perhaps of the need to *argue in the master’s language, but here taken to insidious extremes.. t

*language as control/enclosure et al

yeah see.. i think needing to *argue in the master’s language is extreme at all leves.. it’s what makes us all whales et al

all societies based on slavery tend to be marked by this agonizing double consciousness: the awareness that the highest things one has to strive for are also ultimately wrong; but at some time, the feeling that this is simply the nature of reality..t

huge

but also deeper.. ie: seeing all societies based on slavery

so.. to.. the death of us

*this might help explain why throughout most of history, when slaves did rebel against their masters, they rarely rebelled against slavery itself. … the flip side…even slave-owners seemed to feel that this whole arrangement was somehow fundamentally perverse or unnatural.

*language as control/enclosure et al
yeah see.. i think needing to *argue in the master’s language is extreme at all leves.. it’s what makes us all whales et al
all societies based on slavery tend to be marked by this agonizing double consciousness: the awareness that the highest things one has to strive for are also ultimately wrong; but at some time, the feeling that this is simply the nature of reality..t
huge
but also deeper.. ie: seeing all societies based on slavery
so.. to.. the death of us
*this might help explain why throughout most of history, when slaves did rebel against their masters, they rarely rebelled against slavery itself. … the flip side…even slave-owners seemed to feel that this whole arrangement was somehow fundamentally perverse or unnatural.

*part\ial ness is killing all of us.. no more band aids..

3431

slavery is the ultimate form of being ripped from one’s context, and thus from all social relationship that make one a human being. another way to put this is that the slave is, in a very real sense, dead..t

slaves/whales = dead.. because st\ripped of context

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one becomes a slave in situations where one would otherwise have died.

a slave couldn’t owe debts because was dead.. in roman law.. quite explicit.. lost liberty, family , possessions.. so if later regain freedom.. would have to start over.. remarry his widow et al

socially dead – he had accepted the contempt which deprived him of personality

aka: whales.. missing pieces.. et al

this essential horror of slavery: the fact that it’s a kind of living death.. t

the death of us

on hold ness et al

aka: whales.. missing pieces.. et al

this essential horror of slavery: the fact that it’s a kind of living death.. t

the death of us

on hold ness et al

3471

orlando paterson works out exactly what it has mean to be so completely and absolutely ripped form one’s context..

first of all he emphasizes.. slavery is unlike any other form of human relation because it is not a moral relation. slave-owners might dress it up in all sorts of legalistic or paternalistic language, but really this is just window-dressing and no one really believes otherwise; really, it is a relation based purely on violence; a slave must obey because if he doesn’t, he can be beaten, tortured, or killed, and everyone is perfectly well aware of this.

second of all, being socially dead means that a slave has no binding moral relation s w anyone else.. he is alienated from ancestors, community, fam, clan, city; e cannot make contracts or meaningful promises.. except at whim of his master..

third, slave’s situation was one of utter degradation.. ie: the captive, having refused his one final chance to save his honor by killing himself, must recognize that he will now be considered and entirely contemptible being

yet.. at same time.. this ability to strip others of their dignity becomes, for the master, the foundation of his honor

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seems that this is precisely what give honor its notoriously fragile quality.. men of honor tend to combine a sense of total ease and self assurance which comes w the habit of command, w a notorious jumpiness, a heightened sensitivity to slights and insults, the feeling that a man (and almost always a man) is somehow reduced, humiliated, if any ‘debt of honor’ is allowed to go unpaid

fitting with unoffendable ness

this is because honor is not the same as dignity.. one might even say: honor is surplus dignity

violent men, as we all know are almost invariably obsessed with honor.. dignity can be lost and therefore must be constantly defended

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the result is that to this day ‘honor’ has two contradictory meanings.. one – as simple integrity.. decent people honor their commitments.. one who speaks truth, obeys law, keeps promises is fair and conscientious in his commercial dealings

huge.. i don’t see these are contradictory.. i see them as same.. ie: commitments, obedience, law, promises, commercial dealings.. listed above as good side.. same as violence referred to below

his problem was that honor simultaneously means something else, which had everything to do w the kind of violence required to reduce human beings to commodities to begin with.. t

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some of the most genuinely archaic forms of money we know about appear to have been used precisely as measures of honor/degradation: that is, the value of money was, ultimately the value of the power to turn others into money.. t

huge.. honor.. like money.. ie: value of power to turn others into degradation.. measure.. to dehumanize us
slave girl money – cumal – of medieval ireland – provides one dramatic illustration
by time earliest records kick in .. 600 ad.. the slave trade appears to have died off (ireland).. under severe disapproval of church.. why then were cumal still being used as units of account to tally up debts that were actually paid out in cows, cups, brooches, silver..wheats, oats.. and an even more obvious question: why women? there were plenty of male slaves in early ireland.. yet no one seems ever to have used them as money
appears to have been a near total absence of markets.. as a result, money was employed almost exclusively for social purposes: gifts, fees to craftsmen, drs, poets, judges, entertainers; various feudal payments
authors of law codes didn’t even know how to put price on most goods of ordinary use – pitchers, pillows chisels, slabs of bacon.. no one seems ever to have paid money for them
3522
anyone needing a tool or furniture or clothing either went to a kinsman w the relevant craft skills or paid someone to make it.. the objects themselves were not for sale.. kings assigned tasks to diff clans: leather, poetry, shields.. precisely the sort of unwieldy arrangement that markets were later developed to get around

mumford non-specialized law

money could be loaned.. mainly though for paying fines.. the size of penalties usually has at least as much to do w the status of the victim as w nature of injury..

the key to the system was a notion of honor: literally ‘face’.. one’s honor was the esteem one had in the eyes of others.. honesty, integrity, character, but also one’s power, in the sense of the ability to protect oneself ones’ fam and followers .. from any sort of degradation or insult..

unoffendable ness

what was so unusual about celtic systems – esp irish – was that honor could be precisely quantified.. every *free person had his or her ‘honor price’: graded scale..price to pay for insult.. precisely defined..

*free person?

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unusual about irish.. it’s all spelled out so clearly.. partly because irish law codes were work of legal specialists who seem to have turned whole business into a form of entertainment.. whimsical/comical.. still.. as a result. the moral logic that lies behind any elab code of honor is laid out here in startling honesty

3583

all this makes possible to understand nature of honor ie: slave girls kept as units for reckoning debts.. if one’s honor is ultimately founded on one’s ability to extract the honor of others makes prefect sense.. the value of a slave is that of the honor that has been extracted from them..

a washerwoman was the lowest of servants, and the one turned over in this case was to serve for life.. she was, in effect reduced to slavery. her permanent disgrace was the restoration of the abbot’s honor

3596

honor is a zero sum game
what makes medieval irish laws seem so peculiar from *our perspective is that their exponents had not the slightest discomfort w putting an exact monetary price on human dignity.. things that ought to be considered beyond all possibility of quantification
really? to us? who’s *our/us?
seems to me.. the peculiar and beyond all possibility ness (to me) is that *we can’t seem to give up the quantification ness.. can’t seem to let go of any form of measuring/accounting
it was the fact that it was still a human econ, in which money was used for social purposes.. that made it possible to create such an intricate system whereby it was possible not just to measure but to add/subtract specific quantities of human dignity.. and in doing so, provide us with a unique window into the true nature of honor itself..t
yeah.. honor.. another red flag we’re doing it/life wrong
3608
the obvious question is: what happens to such an econ when people do begin to use the same money used to measure dignity to acquire eggs/haircuts? as the history of ancient meso and mediterranean world reveals.. the result was a profound and enduring moral crisis

rather.. crisis comes w any form of measuring/accounting

meso – the origins of patriarchy

ancient greek, the word for honor was time

w rise of markets over next several centuries.. the meaning of he word time began to change.. on one hand.. became word for ‘price’ as in.. price of something one buys in market.. on other.. referred to a attitude of complete contempt for markets..actually this is still the case today: ‘in greece word ‘timi’ means honor.. which has been typically seen as the most important value in greek village society. honor is often characterized in greece as an open handed generosity and blatant disregard for monetary costs and counting.. and yet.. the same word also means ‘price’ as in the price of a pound of tomatoes..’

honor ness

3621

is honor the willingness to pay one’s monetary debts? or is it the fact that one does not feel that monetary debts are really that important? it appears to be both at same time..

masculine honor caught up in man’s ability to protect his women’s sexual reputations.. one historian.. found thru 50 yrs of police reports.. knife fights in 19th cent ionia.. virtually every one began when on party publicly suggested the other’s wife/sister was a whore..

what is it, then about the rise of money and markets that cause so many mean to become so uneasy about sex?

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what happens, for ie when the same money once used to arrange marriages and settle affairs of honor can also be used to pay for the services of prostitutes? .. reason to believe.. that it is in such moral crises that we can find current conceptions of honor and of patriarchy itself..

earliest sumerian texts – 3000-2500 bc, women are everywhere… rulers, doctors, merchants, scribes, public officials,….

3645

over course of next 1000 yrs.. all this changes.. place of women in civic life erodes; more patriarchal pattern takes shapes.. w emphasis on chastity/virginity.. disappearance of women’s role in govt and liberal professions, and loss of women’s independent legal status.. which renders them wards of heir husbands

much like problem w protest/rights today.. all those thing dehumanize us anyway.. so why fighting to have them just because men do? ie: civic, govt, profession, legal status..

let go

3656

more militarist the state.. harsher laws toward women.. but i’d add another.. war, states, markets all tend to feed off one another.. here in meso.. debt turned all human relations – and by extension, women’s bodies – into potential commodities

3681

marriage was referred to as ‘taking possession’ of a woman, the same word one would uses for the seizure of goods.. in principle, a wife, once possessed, owed her husband strict obedience, and often could not seek a divorce even in cases of physical abuse..

marriage\ing

however, for the poor – that is most people – marriage came more an more to resemble a simple cash transaction

3694

a meso husband couldn’t sell his wife either.. still everything changed the moment he took out a loan.. since if he did, it was perfectly legal.. to use his wife/children as surety.. what this also meant was that honor and credit became, effectually the same thing: ..t.. at least for a poor man, one’s creditworthiness was precisely one’s command over one’s household.. for the poor, this meant that family members became commodities that could be rented or sold

honor ness.. red flag ness

deeyah khan ness

3707

one could now hire out family members simply by taking out a loan..t

the most dramatic and enduring crisis entered on prostitution.. they were the ultimate embodiments of civilization.. machinery of the sumerian econ ostensibly exited to support the temples, which were considered households of gods.. rep’d ultimate possible refinement in everything living.. temple priestesses and spouses of the gods were the highest human incarnations of this perfect life..

3719

sumerian men do not appear to have seen anything troubling about idea of sisters having sex for money.. sumerian religious texts id it as among the fundamental features of human civ.. a gift give by gods at dawn of time.. procreative sex was considered natural.. non procreative sex.. sex for pleasure, was divine.. this identification of prostitute and civilization..

jensen civilization law

3732

(many came to be via) women escaping debt bondage w no place else to go..

3746
origins of commercial prostitution appear to have been caught up in a peculiar mix of sacred (or once sacred) practice, commerce, slavery and debt
patriarchy originated in a rejection of the great urban civs in the nam of a kind of purity.. a reassertion of paternal control against great cities.. like babylon.. seen as places of Bs , traders, and whores..
3772
gerda lerner: ‘another source for commercial prostitution.. pauperization of farmers.. .. dependence on loans.. which led to debt slavery.. women end up as prostitutes.. via being sold or seeking independence.. w luck .. they might be upwardly mobile thru becoming concubines.. prostitution well establishes as a likely occupation for the daughters of the poor.. as the sexual regulation of women of he propertied class became more firmly entrenched.. the virginity of respectable daughters became a financial asset for the family.. thus, commercial prostitution came to be seen as a social necessity for meeting the sexual needs of men’
3785
mid assyrian (lerner) law code dating 1400-1100bc, 1st known reference to veiling in the history of the middle east.. first to make policing of social boundaries the responsibility of the state.. not surprising.. takes place under .. most notoriously militaristic state in entire ancient middle east.. the code carefully distinguishes among 5 classes of women:

3746

origins of commercial prostitution appear to have been caught up in a peculiar mix of sacred (or once sacred) practice, commerce, slavery and debt

patriarchy originated in a rejection of the great urban civs in the nam of a kind of purity.. a reassertion of paternal control against great cities.. like babylon.. seen as places of Bs , traders, and whores..

3772

gerda lerner: ‘another source for commercial prostitution.. pauperization of farmers.. .. dependence on loans.. which led to debt slavery.. women end up as prostitutes.. via being sold or seeking independence.. w luck .. they might be upwardly mobile thru becoming concubines.. prostitution well establishes as a likely occupation for the daughters of the poor.. as the sexual regulation of women of he propertied class became more firmly entrenched.. the virginity of respectable daughters became a financial asset for the family.. thus, commercial prostitution came to be seen as a social necessity for meeting the sexual needs of men’

3785

mid assyrian (lerner) law code dating 1400-1100bc, 1st known reference to veiling in the history of the middle east.. first to make policing of social boundaries the responsibility of the state.. not surprising.. takes place under .. most notoriously militaristic state in entire ancient middle east.. the code carefully distinguishes among 5 classes of women:

3798

led to systematic demotion of sexuality itself from a divine gift and embodiment of civilized refinement to one of its more familiar associations: w degradation, corruption and guilt

3809

as result notions of honor changed too.. becoming a kind of protest against the implications of the market.. even at same time.. came to echo that market logic in endless subtle ways

same song

3821

all this arrived almost 3000 yrs later in greece.. so greek lit gives opp to observe the transformation

money existed but not used to buy anything .. important men lives lives in pursuit of honor.. which took material form in followers and treasure/gifts.. no doubt how time first came to mean both honor and price.. all to change dramatically when commercial markets developed 200 yrs later.. greek coinage – first use mainly to pay soldiers, fined, fees to govt… but by 600 bc every greek city-state producing owns (independent) coins.. didn’t take long till coins in used in everyday transaction.. agora.. public place also doubled as marketplace.. one of first effects.. a series of debt crises..

3833

rather than institutionalize periodic amnesties.. greek cities tended to adopt legislation limiting/abolishing debt peonage.. then to forestall future crises.. would turn to a policy of expansion.. shipping off children of the poor to found military colonies overseas..

rotc ness
first/foremost.. it allowed even citizens of modest means to take part in political/cultural life of city/citizenship.. but this in turn drove aristocratic classes to develop more/more elab means of setting selves off from ‘tawdriness and moral corruption’ of the new democratic state
3845
when curtain truly goes up on greece in 5th cent.. we find everybody arguing bout money.. for aristocrats (who wrote most of surviving texts) money was embodiment of corruption.. they disdained the market.. ideally a man of honor should be able to raise everything he needed on his own estates and never have to handle cash at all.. in practice they knew this was impossible.. tried to set selves apart from ordinary denizens of marketplace: gold; athletic contests; literate courtesans.. brothels often sponsored by demo polis itself as service to sexual needs of its male citizenry.. in each case.. they place a world of gifts, generosity, and honor above sordid commercial exchange..
magis esse quam videri
3857
man’s honor tied to disdain for commerce.. woman’s almost exclusively sexual – virginity, modesty et al.. to extend women were expected to be shut u in house and any who played part in public life was considered a prostitute.. expected to wear veils when they ventured out
3869
money had passed from measure of honor to measure everything that honor was not.. one question not clear.. why? why had money become such a symbol of degradation.. was it all because of slavery? .. clearly not the case.. ie: ireland slave money – showed that utter degradation of a human being was in no sense a threat to heroic honor – in a way, it as its very essence..
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such were perils of war.. essential to nature of martial/warrior honor.. willingness to play game on which he stakes everything.. grandeur directly proportional to how far he can fall..
rather.. the thing that really seemed to bother them about money was simply that they wanted it so much.. since money could be used to buy just about anything, everyone desired it.. that is.. it was desirable because everybody wanted it.. ie: porne particularly appropriate.. a woman ‘common to the people’ .. available to everyone.. in principle.. we shouldn’t be attracted to such a undiscriminating creature.. but we are.. and nothing was both so undiscriminating and so desirable as money
we might say then that money intro’d a democratization of desire.. insofar as everyone wanted money.. in pursuing some promiscuous substance.. but even more: increasingly they did not just want money.. they needed it.. this was a profound change.. in homeric world..as in most human econs.. we hear almost no discussion of those things considered necessary to human life (*food, shelter, clothing) because it is simply assumed that everybody has them.. even slaves had enough to eat.. here.. prostitute was potent symbol for what had changed.. fact that their basic needs could no longer be taken for granted were precisely what made them submit to others’ desire.. this extreme fear of dependency on others’ whims lies at the base of the greek obsession w the self sufficient household

what we need/crave: bachelard oikos law

*deeper\est needs: maté basic needs

3933

this is certainly about the most ruthless and violent form of equality imaginable (saying people involve d in loans.. have to be equal to make them)

3945

with appearance of money, it could also become unclear what was gift and what was a loan.. on one hand. even w gifts.. always considered best to return something slightly better .. on other hand.. friends don’t charge interest.. so what’s diff between a generous return gift and an interest payment

4008

another subtler element.. mass production of coinage permitted a degree of anonymity for transactions.. pirates/kidnappers do business in cash – yet loan sharks at marketplace could not have operated w/o them.. it is on this same combo of illegal cash business.. usually involving violence and extremely harsh credit terms.. also enforced thru violence.. that innumerable criminal underworlds have been constructed since..

the language of money, debt, and finance provided powerful – and ultimately irresistible – ways to think about moral problems.. t

language as control/enclosure et al

4021

if debt was morality.. and at very least it was in interest of creditors.. who often had little legal recourse to compel debtors to pay up.. to insist that it was – what was one to make of the fact that money.. that very thing that seemed capable of turning morality into an exact/quantifiable science.. also seemed to encourage the very worst sorts of behavior

4044

it’s only the existence of money, socrates suggests, ta tallows us to imagine words like power and interest refer to universal realities that can be pursed in their own right.. let alone that all pursuits are really ultimately he pursuit of power, advantage, or self interest.. the question he said is how to ensure those who hold office do so not for gain but for honor.. i will leave off here.. as we all know.. socrates eventually gets around to offering some political proposals of his own, involving philosopher kings; the abolition of marriage, the fam, and private property; selective human breeding boards (clearly the book was meant to annoy its readers and for more than 2000 yrs it has succeeded brilliantly)

what i want to emphasize thought is the degree to which what we consider our core tradition of moral/political theory today springs from this question: what does it mean to pay one’s debts?

4057

we are left w a certainty that existing standards are incoherent and self contradictory and that some sort of radical break would be required in order to create a world that makes any logical sense.. but most of those who seriously consider a radical break along lines that plato suggested have come to the conclusion that there might be far worse things than moral incoherence.. and there we have stood, ever since, in the midst of an insoluble dilemma

prior to now

4068

rudolf von jhering: ‘ancient rome conquered world 3 times.. thru: armies, religion, laws’

each time more thoroughly.. ie: roman catholic church has spread farther.. roman law has come to provide the language and conceptual underpinnings of legal and constitutional orders everywhere.. law students .. expected to spend a good deal of time memorizing tech terms in latin and it is roman law that provides almost all our basic conception about contract, obligation, torts, property, and jurisdiction – and in a broader sense.. of citizenship, rights, and liberties on which political life, too, is based

all the red flags
4080
in roman law.. property or dominium, is a relation between a person and a thing.. characterized by absolute power of that person over that thing.. this defn has cause endless conceptual problems..
there’s no need to worry about property rights if no one else is there..
clearly then property is not really a relation between a person and a thing.. it’s an understanding of arrangement between people concerning things
property ness
4091
rights.. rights.. the only thing absolute about my rights to a chainsaw is my right to prevent anyone else from using it..
nonetheless roman law does insist that the basic form of property is private property, and that private property is the owner’s absolute power to do anything he wants w his possessions.. 12th cent jurists refined this into 3: usus (use of a thing); fructus (enjoyment of thing); abusus (abuse/destruction of thing).. but roman jurists weren’t even interested in specifying that much, since , in a certain way, they saw the details as lying entirely outside the domain of law.. in fact, scholars have spent a great deal of time debating whether roman authors actually considered private property to be a right (ius) for the very reason that rights were ultimately based on agreements between people and one’s power to dispose of one’s property was not: it was just on’e natural ability to do whatever one pleased when social impediments were absent

rights ness

how did this come about? and why? most convincing explanation i’ve seen is orland paterson’s: the notion of absolute private property is really derived from slavery..property as relation between 2 people where one is a thing (this is how slaves were defined in roman law: people who were also a res, a thing)

property as rights over thing once slavery made another person a thing

4116

word dominium meaning absolute private property, was not particularly ancient.. only appears in latin in late republic.. right around time when 100s of 1000s of captive laborers were pouring into italy, and rome as a consequence, was becoming a genuine slave society.. by 50 bc, roman writers had come to simply assume that workers.. were someone else’s property.. the existence of millions of creatures who were simultaneously persons and things created endless legal problems, and much of the creative genius of roman law was spent in working out the endless ramifications

huge.. property.. slavery.. dehumanizaion .. rights.. all red flags we’re doing it/life wrong

4129

many of these debates might strike us as profoundly exotic .. but our contemp tradition of jurisprudence is founded directly on such debates

as for dominium, word is derived from dominus meaning master/slave-owner, but ultimately from domus, meaning house/household.. it’s of course related the english term domestic.. which even now can be used either to mean ‘pertaining to private life’ or to refer to a servant who cleans the house.. comus overlaps somewhat in meaning w familia ‘family’ .. but as the proponents of family values might be interested to know, familia itself ultimately derives from the world famulus, meaning slave..

4143

in creating notion of dominium then, and thus creating the modern principle of absolute private property, what roman jurists were doing first of all was taking a principle of domestic authority, of absolute power over people… defining some of those people (slaves) as things, and then extending that logic that originally applied to slaves to geese, chariots, barns.. et al.. that is to every other sort of thing that the law had anything to do with

property ness
history of rome.. like of early greek city states.. was one of continual political struggle between creditors/debts.. until roman elite eventually figured out the principle that most successful mediterranean elites learn: that a free peasantry means a more effective army, and that conquering armies can provide war captives who can do anything debt bondsmen used to do, and therefore a social compromise.. allowing limited popular rep, banning debt slavery, channeling some of fruits of empire into social welfare payments – was actually in their interest
rotc ness as habitus ness
4155
presumably the absolute power of fathers developed as part of this whole constellation in the same way as we’ve seen elsewhere.. debt bondage reduce family relations to relations of property; social reforms retained the new power of fathers but protected them from debt..
what makes roman slavery so unusual in historical terms, was conjuncture of two factors.. one was its very arbitrariness.. in dramatic contrast w say, plantation slavery in the americas.. there as no sense that certain people were naturally inferior and therefore destined to be slave.. instead slavery was seen as a misfortune the could happen to anyone
as a result.. there as no reason that a slave might not be in every way superior to his/her master: smarter, finer sense of morality, better taste, greater understanding of philosophy.. the master might even be willing to acknowledge this.. there was no reason not to since it had no effect on the nature of the relationship.. which was simply one of power
4181
liberty meant nothing outside of membership;in a community

property ness

history of rome.. like of early greek city states.. was one of continual political struggle between creditors/debts.. until roman elite eventually figured out the principle that most successful mediterranean elites learn: that a free peasantry means a more effective army, and that conquering armies can provide war captives who can do anything debt bondsmen used to do, and therefore a social compromise.. allowing limited popular rep, banning debt slavery, channeling some of fruits of empire into social welfare payments – was actually in their interest

rotc ness as habitus ness

4155

presumably the absolute power of fathers developed as part of this whole constellation in the same way as we’ve seen elsewhere.. debt bondage reduce family relations to relations of property; social reforms retained the new power of fathers but protected them from debt..

what makes roman slavery so unusual in historical terms, was conjuncture of two factors.. one was its very arbitrariness.. in dramatic contrast w say, plantation slavery in the americas.. there as no sense that certain people were naturally inferior and therefore destined to be slave.. instead slavery was seen as a misfortune the could happen to anyone

as a result.. there as no reason that a slave might not be in every way superior to his/her master: smarter, finer sense of morality, better taste, greater understanding of philosophy.. the master might even be willing to acknowledge this.. there was no reason not to since it had no effect on the nature of the relationship.. which was simply one of power

4181

liberty meant nothing outside of membership;in a community

the relation of dominus and slave thus brought a relation of conquest, of absolute political powers into the household (in fact .. made it the essence of the household)

4192

freeborn: crime; slave: necessity; freedman: duty.. what is significant here is that the sexual subservience is considered the duty only of the freedman.. not of a slave.. this is because slavery was not a moral relation.. the master could do what he liked, and there was nothing the slave could do about it

the most insidious effect of roman slavery however, is that thru roman law, it has come to play havoc w our idea of human freedom

free\dom ness

the meaning of the roman word libertas itself changed dramatically over time. as everywhere in the ancient world, to be free meant, first and foremost, not to be a slave.. since slavery means above all the annihilation of social ties and the ability to form them, freedom meant the capacity to make/maintain moral commitments to others.. the english word free for instance is derived from german root meaning friend, since to be free meant to be able to make friends, to keep promises, to live w/in a community of equals.. this is why freed slaves in rome became citizens: to be free, by defn, meant to be anchored in a civic community, w all the rights and responsibilities that this entailed

? oi.. so many red flags

by 2nd cent ad however, this had begun to change. the jurists gradually redefined libertas until it became almost indistinguishable from the power of the master.. it as the right to do absolutely anything, w the exception, again, of all those things one could not do

4206

in digest, the defns of freedom and slavery appear back to back: ‘freedom is the natural faculty to do whatever one wishes that is not prevented by force/law.. slavery is an institution according to the law of nations whereby one person becomes private property (dominium) of another, contrary to nature..

in fact, the defn intro’s all sorts of complications.. if freedom is natural, then surely slavery is unnatural.. but if freedom and slavery are just matters of degree, then logically, would not all restrictions on freedom be to some degree unnatural? would not that imply that society, social rules, in fact even property rights, are unnatural as well?

yes.. all that.. unnatural

this is precisely what many roman jurists did conclude – that is, when they did venture to comment on such abstract matters, which was only rarely. originally, human beings lived in a state of nature where all things were held in common; it was war that first divided up the world, and the resultant ‘law of nation’ the common usages of mankind that reg such matters as conquest, slavery, treaties, and borders, that was first responsible for ineqs of property as well..

4219

this in turn meant that there was no intrinsic diff between private property and political power – at least insofar as that power was based in violence

huge

still, even in this new medieval world, the old roman concept of freedom remained.. freedom was simply power

4243

this is a tradition that assumes that liberty is essentially the right to do what one likes w one’s own property. in fact, not only does it make property a right, it treats rights themselves as a form of property.. in a way, this is the greatest paradox of all.. we are so used to the idea of ‘having’ rights – that rights are something one can possess – that we rarely think about what this might actually mean.. in fact (as medieval jurists were well aware) one man’s right is simply another’s obligation..

rights ness

historically, there is a simple – if somewhat disturbing – answer to this.. those who have argued that we are the natural owners of our rights and liberties have been manly interested in asserting that we should be free to give them away, or even to sell them.. modern ides of rights/liberties are derived from what came to be known as ‘natural rights theory’ from the time when jean gerson

4256

it followed that there could be nothing intrinsically wrong with say, debt peonage, or even slavery. and this is exactly what natural rights theorist came to assert

yeah.. rights ness .. big red flag

abuses will exist in any system.. the important thing was that there was nothing inherently unnatural or illegit about the idea that freedom could be sold.. before long.. similar arguments came to be employed to justify the absolute power of the state.. thomas hobbes was first to really develop this in 17th cent.. but it soon became commonplace.. govt was essentially a contract, a kind of business arrangement, whereby citizens had voluntarily give up ;some of their natural liberties to the sovereign.. finally, similar ideas have become the basis of that most basic, dominant institution of our present econ life: wage labor, which is, effectively the renting of our freedom in the same way that slavery can be conceived as its sale

work via renting freedom; slavery via selling freedom

gare enslavement law et al

4276

just as lawyers have spent 1000s yrs trying to make sense of property concepts.. philosophers to make sense of how to have a relation of domination over selves.. most popular solution: mind and body separate.. mind holds natural domination over body.. but this flies in face of everything w now know about cog sic.. (so) it’s obviously untrue, but we continue to hold onto it anyway.. for simple reason that none of our everyday assumptions about property, law and freedom would make any sense w/o it

embodiment (process of) et al

conclusions: 1st 4 ch’s describe dilemma: we don’t know how to think about debt.. trapped between happily bartering and debt is everything (substance of all human relations.. which leaves everyone w uncomfortable sense that human relations are somehow an intrinsically tawdry business..

4285

this is why i developed concept of human econs: ones in which what is considered really important about human beings is the fact that they are each a unique nexus of relations w others.. therefore no one could ever be considered exactly equiv to anything or anyone else.. in human econ.. money is not a way of buying/trading human beings, but a way of expressing just how much one cannot do os

discrimination as equity.. graeber values law.. et al

4296

it is only by threat of sticks, ropes, spears, and guns that one can tear people out of those endlessly complicated webs of relationship w others (sisters, friends, rivals..) that render them unique, and thus reduce them to something that can be traded.. t

4308

in human econs.. when this ability to rip people from their context does appear.. it is most often seen as an end in itself..

st\ripped from context

the squelching of one man’s individuality was seen as somehow swelling the reputation, the social existence, of the other… in what i’ve been calling heroic societies, of course, this kind of addiction and subtraction of honor/disgrace is lifted from a somewhat marginal practice to become the very essence of politics.. t

heroes become heroes by making others small..t this very ability to degrade others to remove unique human beings form the hearths/fams and thus render them anonymous units of accounting.. the irish slave girl currency, the welsh washer women – is itself the highest expression of honor.. in heroic societies, the role of violence is not hidden – it’s glorified..t

4320

that such relations of intimacy can often develop between men of honor and those they have stripped of their dignity.. history can well attest.. annihilation of equality also elims debt.. of any relation other than power.. it allows a certain clarity.. why kings have notorious tendency to enjoy company of slaves..

something more here though.. king/slave are mirror images.. unlike normal humans who are defined by commitments to others.. they are defined only by relations of power.. they are as close to perfectly isolated, alienated being as one can possibly become

alienated/isolated from all the st\ripped from context ness

4333

so.. defining selves as master and slave.. only way we can imagine ourselves as completely isolated beings.. t

ie: thomas jefferson.. owner of many slaves.. chose to being declaration of independence by directly contradicting the moral basis of slavery ‘we hold truths to be self evident.. that all men are created equal.. thus undercutting any argument that africans were racially inferior.. and that ancestors could have been justly/legally deprived of their freedom.. in doing so however, he did not propose some radically new conception of rights/liberties.. neither have subsequent political phioslophers.. for the most part, we’ve just kept the old ones. .but w the word ‘not’ inserted her and there..

4344

most of our most precious rights/freedoms are a series of exceptions to an overall moral/legal framework that suggests we shouldn’t really have them in first place..

formally.. slavery has been eliminated, but (as anyone who works from 9-5 can testify) the idea that you can alienate your liberty, at least temporarily, endures..in fact it determines what most of us have to do for most of our waking hours.. except usually .. on weekends.. the violence has been largely pushed out of sight.. but this is largely because we’re no longer able to imagine what a world based on social arrangements that did not require the continual threat of tasers and surveillance cameras would even look like

black science of people/whales 

________

_________

from debt (book)

m of care – oct 20debt (book) – part 1

m of care – nov 3 – part 2 – ch 1-2

m of care – nov 17 – part 3 – ch 3-4

m of care – dec 1 – part 4 – ch 5-6

m of care – dec 15 – part 5 – ch 6

m of care – jan 5 – part 6 – ch 7

_________

_________

museum of care meetings

museum of care

_________

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