Crooked Timber is running a symposium on David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5000 Years. Contributions so far:
- Seminar on David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5000 Years – Introduction, Chris Bertram
- The unmourned death of the double coincidence, John Quiggan
- The World Economy is not a Tribute System, Henry Farrell
- Debt Jubilee or Global Deleveraging, Barry Finger
- The end of debt, John Quiggan
- The Return of Grand Narrative in the Human Sciences, Neville Morley
- The Dangers of Pricing the Infinite, Malcolm P. Harris, on student debt
All are worth reading, as are many of the comments. I’ll end with the last paragraph from Bertram’s introduction:
Does Graeber find in utopian and democratic resistance to the Axial empires an historic precedent for the Occupy movement to emulate? Perhaps our best possibilities lie not in grand schemes of societal transformation but in developing the “baseline communism” and the democratic instincts that persist even in the heart of modern capitalism. The anarchist writer Colin Ward used a phrase from Ignazio Silone – “the seed beneath the snow” – to make a similar idea vivid. We cannot take the beast on in a direct assault, and nor should we, but we can work together to develop a more human society within the nooks and crannies of the commercial one.
Sounds a bit like a plug for the Transition Movement, which originated in England and has since spread around the world.