40 Debt: The First 5 Quotes & Sayings with Wallpapers & Posters - Quotes.Pub

Here you will find all the famous Debt: The First 5 quotes. There are more than 40 quotes in our Debt: The First 5 quotes collection. We have collected all of them and made stunning Debt: The First 5 wallpapers & posters out of those quotes. You can use this wallpapers & posters on mobile, desktop, print and frame them or share them on the various social media platforms. You can download the quotes images in various different sizes for free. In the below list you can find quotes by some of the famous authors like David Graeber

The most remarkable thing is that even in Adam Smith’s examples of fish and nails and tobacco being used as money, the same sort of thing was happening. In the years following the appearance of the Wealth of Nations, scholars checked into most of these examples and discovered that in just about every case, the people involved were quite familiar with the use of money, and in fact, were using money- as a unit of account. Take the example of dried cod, supposedly used as money in Newfoundland. As the British diplomat A. Mitchell pointed out almost a century ago, what Smith describes was really an illusion, created by a simple credit arrangement: In the early days of the Newfoundland fishing industry, there was no permanent European population, the fishers went there for the fishing season only, and those who were not fishers were traders who bought the dried fish and sold to the fishers their daily supplies. The latter sold their catch to the traders at the market price in pounds, shilling and pence, and obtained in return a credit on their books, which they paid for the supplies. Balances due by the traders were paid for by drafts on England or France. It was quite the same in the Scottish village. It’s not as if anyone actually walked into the local pub, plunked down a roofing nail, and asked for a pint of beer. Employers in Smith’s day often lacked coin to pay their workers; wages could be delayed by a year or more; in the meantime, it was considered acceptable for employees to carry off either some of their own products or leftover work materials, lumber, fabric, cord, and so on. The nails were de facto interest on what their employers owed to them. So they went to the pub, ran up a tab, and when occasion permitted, brought in a bag of nails to charge off against the debt. The law making tobacco legal tender in Virginia seems to have been an attempt by planters to oblige local merchants to accept their products as a credit around harvest time. In effect, the law forced all merchants in Virginia to become middlemen in tobacco business, whether they liked it or not; just as all West Indian merchants were obliged to become sugar dealers, since that’s what all their wealthier customers brought in to write off against their debt.The primary examples, then, were ones in which people were improvising credit systems, because actual money- gold and silver coinage- was in short supply.
For centuries now, explorers have been trying to find this fabled land of barter- none with success. Adam Smith set his story in aboriginal North America (others preferred Africa or the Pacific). In Smith’s time, at least it could be said that reliable information on Native American economic systems was available in Scottish libraries. But by mid-century, Lewis Henry Morgan’s descriptions of the six nations of the Iroquois, among others, were widely published- and they made clear that the main economic institution among the Iroquois nations were longhouses where most goods were stockpiled and then allocated by women’s councils, and no one ever traded arrowheads for slabs of meat. Economists simply ignored this information. Stanley Jevons, for example, who in 1871 wrote what has come to be considered the classic book on the origins of money, took his examples straight from Smith, with Indians swapping venison for elk and beaver hides, and made no use of actual descriptions of Indian life that made it clear that Smith had simply made this up. Around that same time, missionaries, adventurers, and colonial administrators were fanning out across the world, many bringing copies of Smith’s book, expecting to find the land of Barter. None ever did. They discovered and almost endless variety of economic systems. But to this day, no one has been able to locate a part of the world where the ordinary mode of economic transition between neighbours takes the form of “I’ll give you twenty chickens for that cow.
Here we come to the central question of this book: What, precisely, does it mean to say that our sense of morality and justice is reduced to the language of a business deal? What does it mean when we reduce moral obligations to debts? What changes when the one turns into the other? And how do we speak about them when our language has been so shaped by the market? On one level the difference between an obligation and a debt is simple and obvious. A debt is the obligation to pay a certain sum of money. As a result, a debt, unlike any other form of obligation, can be precisely quantified. This allows debts to become simple, cold, and impersonal-which, in turn, allows them to be transferable. If one owes a favor, or one’s life, to another human being-it is owed to that person specifically. But if one owes forty thousand dollars at 12-percent interest, it doesn’t really matter who the creditor is; neither does either of the two parties have to think much about what the other party needs, wants, is capable of doing-as they certainly would if what was owed was a favor, or respect, or gratitude. One does not need to calculate the human effects; one need only calculate principal, balances, penalties, and rates of interest. If you end up having to abandon your home and wander in other provinces, if your daughter ends up in a mining camp working as a prostitute, well, that’s unfortunate, but incidental to the creditor. Money is money, and a deal’s a deal. From this perspective, the crucial factor, and a topic that will be explored at length in these pages, is money’s capacity to turn morality into a matter of impersonal arithmetic-and by doing so, to justify things that would otherwise seem outrageous or obscene. The factor of violence, which I have been emphasizing up until now, may appear secondary. The difference between a “debt” and a mere moral obligation is not the presence or absence of men with weapons who can enforce that obligation by seizing the debtor’s possessions or threatening to break his legs. It is simply that a creditor has the means to specify, numerically, exactly how much the debtor owes.
Freuchen tells how one day, after coming home hungry from an unsuccessful walrus-hunting expedition, he found one of the successful hunters dropping off several hundred pounds of meat. He thanked him profusely. The man objected indignantly:"Up in our country we are human!" said the hunter. "And since we are human we help each other. We don't like to hear anybody say thanks for that. What I get today you may get tomorrow. Up here we say that by gifts one makes slaves and by whips one makes dogs.... The refusal to calculate credits and debits can be found throughout the anthropological literature on egalitarian hunting societies. Rather than seeing himself as human because he could make economic calculations, the hunter insisted that being truly human meant refusing to make such calculations, refusing to measure or remember who had given what to whom, for the precise reason that doing so would inevitably create a world where we began "comparing power with power, measuring, calculating" and reducing each other to slaves or dogs through debt. It's not that he, like untold millions of similar egalitarian spirits throughout history, was unaware that humans have a propensity to calculate. If he wasn't aware of it, he could not have said what he did. Of course we have a propensity to calculate. We have all sorts of propensities. In any real-life situation, we have propensities that drive us in several different contradictory directions simultaneously. No one is more real than any other. The real question is which we take as the foundation of our humanity, and therefore, make the basis of our civilization.