October 31, 2011
Meet the “anti-leader” of Occupy Wall Street
by Kelly Burdick
A 3,600-word cover story in the current issue of Bloomberg Businessweek by Drake Bennett focuses on Melville House author David Graeber, author of Debt: The First 5,000 Years, and tells the story of how he and a small band of anarchists helped kick start the Occupy Wall Street movement. Debt, Bennett writes, is:
an alternate history of the rise of money and markets, a sprawling, erudite, provocative work. Looking at societies ranging from the West African Tiv people and ancient Sumer to Medieval Ireland and modern-day America, he explores the ambivalent attitudes people have always had about debt: as obligation and sin, engine of economic growth and tool of oppression. Along the way, he tries to answer questions such as why so many people over the course of history have simultaneously believed that it is a matter of morality to repay debts and that those who lend money for a living are evil.
Kelly Burdick is the former executive editor of Melville House.