David Graeber is an American anthropologist, author, and activist who teaches at Goldsmiths, University of London. His book, Debt: The First Five Thousand Years, is the topic of our discussion. In it, Graeber shows how debt, and debt forgiveness have been at the center of political debates across the world and have given rise to innumerable uprisings. He explores the history of money and credit, and how societies have been divided into creditors and debtors.
Most Americans know too well the unjust difference between how homeowners facing foreclosure have been treated, versus how massive indebted banks culpable for the economic crisis have been treated. That unequal application of justice has angered so many Americans, that it gave rise to a nationwide, and to an extent, worldwide movement under the banner of Occupy Wall Street. David Graeber is considered one of the first activists credited with getting Occupy Wall Street off the ground last year.
David Graeber's earlier books include Towards and Anthropological Theory of Value, Lost People: Magic and the Legacy of Slavery in Madagascar, Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology, and more. He also writes for Harper's, the Nation, and the New Left Review.
On February 2, 2012, Uprising host Sonali Kolhatkar interviewed David Graeber about his book and the Occupy movement.