July 5, 2011

David Graeber on the debt crisis pretty much everywhere


Later this month Melville House is publishing something that hasn’t really been done: a history of debt. The book is titled Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber, an anthropologist at Goldsmiths College at the University of London. Wish we could say we planned to publish it right smack in the middle of a fierce debate about the debt ceiling by members of the US Congress, or amid protests in Britain, Greece and elsewhere over hugely unpopular austerity measures, but you can’t really plan these things.

Speaking of Britain, as protests got under way last week against new cuts for public workers, Democracy Now travelled to Britain to cover them directly. While there, Amy Goodman interviewed Graeber about the cuts in Britain, Greece, and the US, and they also talked a bit more broadly about the book and the largely unsung history of debt–an oddity considering how it touches everyone and is the basis for so much of our public, private, and–especially–religious discourse. The conversation also included Paul Mason, author of Meltdown: The End of the Age of Greed and a BBC reporter who had just returned from the dramatic protests gripping Greece. Below is their conversation.