m of care – nov 17
Debt:The First 5,000 Years is a book that eludes simple summary. It is an encyclopaedic journey through global history encompassing the stories of grand civilizations as well as small societies whose social logics reveal more about the human condition than anyone might imagine. It is primarily a story about money and the way material issues have always been underlain by moral considerations.
part 3 in series of reading groups on david graeber‘s debt (book)
We will be discussing chapters 3 and 4 this week.
Here is a draft of the materials of the collective textbook on David Graeber’s book Debt 5000 years. if you want to add something, ask questions or comment You are welcome!
notes/quotes from 70 min recording:
steve: reviewing ch 1&2.. ch 3&4 – starts w idea of what is the value of a human life and where do ideas debt come from.. starts by tracing this to india and situates it in larger questions.. ie: what can morally be done to a human being.. system seems to be unchangeable and fixed.. so doe goes back further in time.. and shows system structured historically.. doe david’s attempt to decolonize enlightenment.. debt is his effort to decolonize histories of capitalism.. there never was a west et al.. conflation of ancient greece democracy w democracy of us.. debt is his first popular effort to decolonize by showing that capitalism is a moral system.. things that make it prone to fuse w violence.. but need not be an inevitable result.. based on particular defn of sin.. there’s a danger to decolonizing c.. because lays blame at other people’s feet.. but debt shows markets/sovereignty not until after other innovations.. how he situates idea of primordial debt as a basis for understanding exchange .. second level of analytical space
14 min – simona: 3rd ch requires economists to explain.. important to stress how serious econ theory of this ch is.. david ‘had to be uni prof.. because somebody thinking what i say outside uni would have been treated as nuts..’.. many attacking him on idea that he was not serious.. that his huge knowledge was superficial/amateur.. nevertheless.. our risk is to underestimate the value of his econ work.. could be useful as a result of this book to explain these theories and make them available to the general public.. as for 4th ch.. this is the pages that made me think he was the greatest philosopher of this century.. his appraisal of neitchse and of moral is tremendous.. shows what n did was to take adam smith’s market to extreme and show the absurdity of those consequences.. raises the very possibility of human relationships that are not about power.. interesting in quotes from n.. is how n stressed on maths of it.. the measurability of debts and the consequences of measuring the human relationships.. to measure relationships is the very essence of debt/money that makes it abstract.. and to stray from concrete human relationships is the very essence of capitalism
24 min – simona: n quote: ‘the feeling of personal obligations has origins in oldest/primitivist relationships there is.. buyer/seller.. to set prices.. measure values.. exchange things.. preoccupies minds to such a degree.. that’s that what thinking itself is.. ie: logos – means to number.. to reason in a logical way via numbers by measuring.. and ratio as calculus but also rationality.. 1st beginnings of man’s pride and (domination).. humans assess values as inherently calculating animal.. ‘ what is missing is everything that is outside calculus.. exchanging w/o recip et al.. followed by indian fellow ‘we are human we refuse to debts’
30 min – mark: on quote where someone was trying to thank an eskimo
56 min – nika: myth is like another universe.. a true universe.. i think david is dismantling myths rather than building new ones.. only if you always able to have capacity to step away and choose other myths