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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  September 3, 2011 12:00pm-1:00pm EDT

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he dodged the sheriff. he flouts the law. i talked to the christian women's attorney and he remembers them bursting with offers of a translator and a small posse of other arab students to lecture him about the iran/iraq war. israel turns out to be a very important point in his radicalization. more so than i would have thought. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. coming up next on booktv david graeber, author of "debt: the first 5,000 years" discusses the impact of debt on the world over thousands of years with the author of wall street and after the new economy. this is just over an hour. [applause] >> i feel intimidated by the 5,000 year perspective.
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starting with five seconds ago in the historical time frame. that is the question. assuring in new york times that learned something. there's a piece about the debt limit in there. and the reporter explained a peace that they call in journalism that parties were fighting over the moral high ground. there is an interesting point that with ed finley made by the reporter that a lot of discourse around debt is about morality and austerity which frequently follows the bursting of a bubble is often presented as moral renovation. certainly bubbles in the past have been troubled by periods of self flagellation. what were we thinking kinds of things.
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you write a lot about that and morality. there's a lot of language around that. how did that which is narrowly defined economically, get so wrapped up in issues of morality? >> we don't really know. it seems to have happened so early is beyond the reach of the historical record but the very earliest documents seem to already have them inflated. in hebrew and sanskrit and aramaic the words for debt and guilt are the same word. it is a curious thing because in almost all of the ancient religions they invariably start the same way like plato's republic. what is justice? a matter of paying your debts. immediately that doesn't work. the rest of us are trying to figure that out. world religions are the same.
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they start by saying morality is just get -- debt but then that doesn't work. what it ends up being is buried in the law. a lot of sanskrit texts end up concluding that recognizing you don't really know debt to your parents is really the way you resolve. the bible is all about forgiveness or debt cancellation is the true morality but the interesting thing is they feel they have to start that way. the conclusion they finally came to is the only way to explain it would be they are stuck with this language because it was the language of politics and power at the time. we don't really know what people in ancient mesopotamia or india were arguing about but it seems from the evidence we have that that was it. we have language in political debate that we don't know anymore what they were. debt and the language of debt
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forgiveness and redemption was the everyday language of politics and got swept into moral language and left that way ever since. the reason why is because debt for the amoral trap. it is the language of power. people in power discovered it is the easiest way to take a situation of pure arbitrary authority and make it seem like -- you have power over somebody. the easiest thing to do is to say you guys know us your lives because we didn't kill you. we are going to demand this. is something you can't possibly pay. i am going to be a nice guy and let you off the hook but next month definitely. suddenly you have the moral high ground. they have to run around feeling rotten about themselves.
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the only way to reply to that is to say wait a minute. who owes what to do? which is what people invariably did. it was a very effective way of refraining power relations to make it seem uncertain claims to the extent that probably most people who ever lived and at some point in their lives, it is also the focus of the vast majority of insurrections and rebellions. moses finley once said there is basically one revolutionary program in all of antiquity. the council of antiquity and readers that. in that order. that reply, wait a minute of who knows what to do, does happen all the time. but once you say that you are using the language of debt so people were stuck with the argument of what is debt and who knows what to whom. the great moral philosophers had to start with that language if only to then try to kick it
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away. >> you mentioned the jubilee. when pat robinson was running for president in 1988 he suggested we should have a jubilee in that tradition which qualified him as a serious candidate for president. prompted a stern lectures in the wall street journal editorial page. that tradition, certainly christian morality is very prominent in politics but that bit seems to have disappeared. >> the other part pat robertson's program where he argues the federal reserve system of money creation is the first define system of money creation because making up money and giving it to capitalists like reproducing the divine act of creation -- it is not a materialistic thing. the money is not showing. >> it comes -- deeply wrapped up with matters of state. >> you recognize that.
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he took too seriously. >> another element of religious tradition, many religions are found -- what happened? >> it's really interesting story. in fact, one of the things that came out when i was researching this book, one of my major discoveries is history seems to flow back and forth between periods dominated by a virtual credit and periods when gold and silver ore where money really is or collins or some other material object, actual metal is being used in everyday transactions. the funny thing is we think this world of virtual credit we are moving into a brave new world. it is completely the opposite of the original form of money in mesopotamia where they were doing most of the credit. coinage was only invented 2,000 years after the first accounts we have of compound interest.
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however, in periods where you have this form of money, it is hard to think of money as something quite as set in stone as periods when people -- it is understood that money -- usually there is some mechanism through the system. for example, the jubilee periodic cancellation. mesopotamia and kings often canceled all debts on taking power. new canes, new world and new society. we start over. that became institutionalized in that cycle and in the middle ages, which was another period, reverts to bouillon and generally forgiven maybe 600 b.c. to 3680. with the middle ages the world goes back to credit systems and
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once again applies a vast cosmological overarching institution designed to protect debtors. in this case in islam and christianity. christianity was more strict than islam. a complete ban on interest along with other things that usually can along with it. it was considered critical for society didn't polarize and split apart. the rise of the economic system we have known comes after 1492 when bouillon comes weeping into europe again. most of that is in china. it swept through europe on the way. they go back to the idea that money is gold and silver. the idea of what money is changed. interest sort of worms its way back in. interesting how they did it. kind of subterfuge. the notion of interest actually
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goes back to latin interest. what it actually meant and originally was penalty for late payment. the idea was branding money was a sin. you couldn't -- you could charge people for not returning something by the date they said they would. because it was assumed that if these people being merchants, if you had the money you would be putting out a profitable enterprise. so it would be growing 5% year. they could pay that penalty. that was the legal outpace. >> italian bankers invented very complex what amounted to derivatives instruments in the fourteenth century to disguise interest. financial innovation goes a long way. >> mortgages were another way of doing that. you can't charge interest you can just say i am buying your house and randy get back to you.
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>> we did that originally. this is funny coming after the news that lloyd blankfein of goldman sachs hired a defense attorney. we had a recent riot but it seems the one we are asked to pay their debt to society, the profligate ones are living high on the hog and collecting interest. how do they get away with that? >> all right. this is my reading. there is the obvious answer which is that our social constructs. debts between rich people have been different from debts between poor people who try to help each other out. but debts between the rich and poor are kind of different. that is where the exact morality of debt comes in. rich people can be incredibly
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dangerous, understanding and forgiving when dealing with each other as we recently saw in 2008. not so much when dealing with us. this has always been true. the funny saying is we seem to be experiencing another turn of the cycle. this is one of my major conclusions in the book. we have had virtual credit to gold and silver in the ancient world, a shift in the middle ages to credit money and bouillon. it is turning again. >> we had the anniversary of nixon. >> in 71 the dollar was completely detached from gold at a breakneck pace. you have plastic replacing currency in everyday transactions. financial is asian of capital. we had the rise of 401(k)s and mortgages and everyone with credit statements and micro
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credit. on all fronts we seem to be moving toward an ideology of credit and the actual use of virtual money. >> the american public is in love with these. >> the only thing saving students wages were completely stagnant. unless they need credit. the problem was when you go into a period of virtual credit historically what always happened was two problems. one was how to prevent this from spinning out of control. money is just an idle you or a promise what is to keep people from making any crazy promise? even more, what is to prevent people from falling into deathtraps and becoming effectively slaves? that was the great fear throughout most of human history. terrible moral disaster that would rip society apart was small percentage of the population essentially enslaves everybody else by trapping them and people are forced to sell
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off members of their family into slavery and ultimately sell themselves. there were always mechanisms to prevent that happening. the various laws and of its things. buddhists for example didn't believe in abolishing interest but instead invented the pawn shop. that was saving people from the local loan shark. first of all in buddhist temples in china and the franciscans adopted it. what did we do this time around? 40 years and who probably a 500 years cycle if history runs true, you can't necessarily expect to understand what is going on. [talking over each other] >> what normally happens is you protect the institution of debt.
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they did the opposite. they set up a first global system because you have the imf and trade bureaucracies and the e you and naphtha whether it is financial institution. what do these guys do? instead of being there to protect debtor's they create -- they protect creditors which economically is in sane which is funny. >> the burden of justice is the surplus. quickly it turned around. >> turned it around. canes had it right. following -- canes actually studied mesopotamia moralists. there is morality and there is morality. what they did is exactly the opposite of what historical you imagine they should have done. the result was predictably catastrophic. you have the third world debt
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crisis and now latin america and east asia largely liberated themselves from the imf and kicked them out basically. same thing is happening here. in fact another point i'll like to make, the idea of the terrible debt prices were 1% or 2% of the population is the creditor class that enslaves everybody else the way most americans are living and everyone is in debt and people are working extra jobs that otherwise would never want to be in. in order to pay back those debts. aristotle were lifted into the present he would probably not take the distinction between renting yourself out to someone else to work for them and selling yourself to someone else to work for them as being more than a legal nicety. he would conclude those people were slaves. >> other things you listed may have been catastrophic. they have been very good for the creditors. if we go back to the first modern debt crisis the new york
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city fiscal crisis of 1975. the bankers essentially took over the city, cut back on social spending and public sector, and were quite conscious that if we can get away with this in new york which is a volatile environment where people have high expectations we can do that anywhere. there was an op-ed in the new york times that used those words. that succeeded and you go to the debt crisis of the 80s and that was used to open up all these economies of trade and finance, privatization. reminds me from teddy negron that's as many as one phaseout of the box. creditors have been very successful over the last 40 years in using debt to enslave an impoverished and increase their own wealth and power and their luck is running out.
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>> in 2008, and let the cat out of the bag because they can do this partly because people are still following the morality of the bouillon based money system whereby it seems like debts have to be paid. what every body discovered in 2008 when they blew up their own system is debts don't have to be paid if you are big enough. it is the lesson of a virtual credit system. money is just a promise, why does it have greater moral standing than any other promise? perhaps with the idea that the argument would be if you don't pay your debts the economic system will fall apart. but in fact the economic system did fall apart. culprits didn't have to pay their debts even then. as a result people realized there was a moment of lucidity
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right after the crash. people were willing to rethink almost anything. even the economists ran a headline saying capitalism. was it a good idea? then they just put a band-aid over it and said move along, move along. band-aids fall. it is starting to happen. people came to the realization that the line may have been telling us all these years, market doesn't run itself. nobody can possibly believe that at this point. debts don't have to be repaid. if they make $13 trillion or some estimate, dark economy is money that was finagled a way, if they can make that money, that kind of debt disappear, there is no reason they couldn't do federal debt. it is all a political thing. the question is who has the most
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power. once he realized that, democracy can't mean anything. everyone has a say over that and that is why you see these movements. that is what they are saying. >> the dominant political discourse still seems to assumed the elderly need to pay their -- the 4 need to give up medicaid so that rich bankers can get another jaguar. there is no significant challenge to that orthodoxy. may be falling apart or showing signs of trade. >> it depends on where you are. in europe they are at of the center of austerity. we see what things might look like in a year-and-a-half. i have been told by some friends in graeber that it has gone to the point when it was like in argentina in 2001 when politicians basically couldn't go to the restaurant bearing false news and that kind of thing. i don't know of political party were people attack politicians can't go on the street anymore.
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i think that might well happen. >> a couple economists to study the european record over the last 40 years of austerity problems lead to an upsurge in riots. speaking of the congress, day long had the view that money is insignificant. a lot of cliches in the economics profession. money is a veil. john stuart mill's said there was nothing that could be more insignificant than money. the idea that money is neutral. dominates -- where did that idea come from? >> really odd. it has nothing to do with what economists actually do. there is a sense that all economy is our burger economies and money -- we make it a little more convenient but it is not
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important. look away. nothing to see your kind of moments. it goes back to adam smith. there is a fascinating story we all learn about where money is supposed to come from. a regionally there is barter and everyone said i will give you 20 chickens for that cow. i don't need chickens right now. so eggs. eventually you get something the guy needs or you give him money. we all learn this. in fact being an anthropologist there's a personal professional -- we have been looking for 150 years. if there's any place in the world they get that we would have found it by now. it is not true. lots of other things. they never do that. is amazing considering there are not many things nobody ever does. but there is one.
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occasionally people you hate steal their stuff but it is not convenient right now. the question is why? the real reason is money is credit. credit is a social relations. economists have a problem with credit because -- >> social relations. >> exactly. in order -- economics is germane and to let self. there is a sphere of human activity where people are thinking about destruct. normally human life we're never thinking about this stuff or creates fear were people thinking about stuff which is what economists are doing. adam smith and people like that came from a class where they thought we should be able to walk into the baker and put down your cash and take your stuff and walk out and never see the guy again which is not the way it works. this great line about the benevolence of the butcher or the baker that we expect our
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dinner. the crazy thing is it wasn't true. all transactions are on credit. people asking favors of butchers and bakers all the time. there's a feeling they shouldn't. >> britain was run by people who didn't believe in coins. >> they had a problem with credit money getting out of hand. the problem was everybody should be using actual colin's but they didn't have the means to make them. only the 1830s and 40s they meant to produce enough cash for people to go to the store. for long time they use their own money. why does adam smith told the story? it makes no sense. here is a neighbor. he wants this cow and chickens. the guy says no. these guys are neighbors in a small neolithic community. that economists assume they will interact with each other on the
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spot trade. something right now and walkaway. what sense does that make? these guys are neighbors. you don't want chickens he is going to have something. that is what really happens. what really happens is you walk up and say nice cow. you like it? it is yours. the even think of it. now you own one. it is going to come later. my son is in love with your daughter. whatever you might come up with. what you actually have is in formal credit. but that involves things like my son is in love with your daughter which is outside the domain of economics so when they did was made up the story where everyone is swapping stuff on the spot. money comes in to facilitate that. money is always secondary and arises from the basic business which is swapping stuff. >> you say and a lot of pre
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capitalist traditional societies, money didn't really serve much of an economic function. it had more symbolic value. not the way we think of money now. >> you do find cash for things that are like cash in these societies. you don't find markets. if you look --wontham was very much like money. they had these -- there were glass pieces at that point. which seems to have been received as a sort of cocoanut goodwill. sort of rare exotica. they didn't actually think they were selling them. they eventually were manufacturing stuff and using it to trade to the iroquois. white and purple beads made from
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clams. the thing was it was legal tender in most of pennsylvania and new york and massachusetts so colonists used it to trade with each other. cash was hard to come by. there is no record of any iroquois' or elgon one speaker using it to trade with each other. maybe people of different tribes than the settlers. i understand they used it to make treaties or promises to arranged marriages and pay fines. which is a giveaway of what happens to the origins of money. what is money? it is a system where you can make personal comparisons. 27 of these is three of these. it is hard to see how that could come out of a system where you say nice cow. if somebody gives you something back which you think is not worth your cow you might think the guy is a cheap.
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you might make fun of him but won't figured out a mathematical formula for how cheap you think he is. money is to emerge when people are really angry. it comes out of penalties in volume. if you have a fight and he got is your eye out and kill your brother you start saying that is twenty-seven effers. that is the circumstance where you have exact proportions and when you look at medieval law it is very clear. i put the welsh law code out where they put a price of every single object in the average house even though at that time there were no markets. it was all for paying penalties. >> you mentioned in passing there were no states so there were no markets. i was thinking of milton friedman who co-wrote a book something like 600 pages of monetary history in the united states in which he pledged
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allegiance to the doctrine that money was insignificant. it didn't matter. he made one exception which is when the state screws things up. the explanation of the great depression that the federal reserve screwed things up. none of the other fundamental issues, inequality or reckless speculation or any of those matched productivity without people having the means to purchase or produce. none of that is how the federal reserve -- but you say repeatedly that there are no markets without states. >> no. or insofar as there are those markets are centered in states that go beyond them. the islamic holiday but even then they operate completely different means. where you truly have stateless societies you don't have that unless they are brought in from
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outside. that is the fascinating thing. it flies in the face of all of our accustomed ways of thinking. we spend 100 years thinking about the division between markets and government and that is the big political space. it is the big historical and philosophical argument. it is a false dichotomy. you don't really find markets where you don't have states. >> europe had money without a state. how did it work out? >> without a state in the middle ages too. they had a system called imaginary money. it didn't really exist but everybody continued to use the nominations of currency to do credit transactions. shillings and pence go back to money that charlemagne intended to make but never actually did. he mended some of it but larger dominations he never got around to. was still used as money.
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>> something changes with capitalism. you can draw parallels with credit money vs. commodity money. these things have been around for thousands of years but the system in which you produce commodities or sell in the market is different from what went before it. how does money figure into that? >> what is it that is different from other kinds of money. >> you first have to look, in order to see the difference i think one of the interesting things is in certain ways it actually is quite similar to the situations in the empire is where money really comes out of the need to pay soldiers. you have credit system as much
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earlier. there is this -- in china and greece where there is only sort of techniques of profit seeking. the interesting thing about capitalism is you have the relation between those who are making states and money and the idea that money and silver and gold tends to be dominated especially in periods of intense violence but at the same time there is this strange hybrid relationship between the merchant and the warrior. godel hit the nail on the head when he made the distinction between markets and capitalism. markets for the poor originally as a side effect of military operations. the growing consensus of historians, they developed independently on the arrow in certain circumstances within
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states or between them. but what the ultimate spirit of a market system commodity to money or another commodity, the famous formula of a way to have chickens and you want a power you can go about doing that through the medium of money. capitalism is more using money to be a commodity to get more money for lending money to variation on that. the interesting point is you could well make an argument that rather than being an extension of the market or inevitable product of the market or identical to the market which is we are taught to think, in fact capitalism is parasitic on the market. it is what happens when people with a lot of money to use it to turn into more money ally with heads of state or violent
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political authorities to create monopolies to subvert the market. you need monopolies of one sort or another to do so. china is a great counterexample to what happened in europe throughout its history from the han dynasty. china was the ultimate anti capitalist market. they loved markets and had markets that were more developed than anyplace else in the world. higher standard of living as well but markets were tightly controlled by the government and sustained by the government. various commodities would buy them for release and keep them from getting out of hand. they did the opposite of what a monopoly would normally do. what happened in europe according to the world systems analysis people coming out of this tradition is you have little princes fighting out a futile system where merchants could grab hold of these autonomous city states where they could make their own laws
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that the italian city state came first. so a huge political advantage where they were all competing for resources and they eventually started granting them incredible monopolistic advantages so capitalism emerges from a strained alliance between war making state and finance years to profit off of the deal. >> how does the gold they got from their empire figure in? >> that is interesting. a lot of it only happens through europe and goes to asia. that has a strange history. to turn from credit money to gold and silver as bouillon money starts before the americas are invented. it is happening in europe around 1450 but more importantly starts happening in china and the reason was the outburst of market populism. something that happen every now
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and then in history when markets become autonomous. in china it happened because the mongols used the system of paper money. paper money starts as a credit system and is nationalized as they do in china and the government starts doing it themselves. they had this paper money so it becomes associated with this system where people are stuck in certain occupations. some people are soldiers and craftsman. very unpopular when the main revolution to overthrow the mongols. they try to detain the system. nobody likes us. there's all this independence silver mining that creates this alternative cash economy. which is independent of the government. the government says by it. we will get rid of all the cast and stuff at you can pay your taxes and we won't even coin money any more. and use what you are using. then they want to get as much
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silver to the country to keep taxes down. it turned out there isn't much silver in china. they go through all this in 20 years. they are looking around for resources and silver just when the country's the doors happened to stumble into the new world. people have estimated the colony's in the new world would never have been viable economically were it not for the fact that this be enormous demand for silver coming out of china which is eventually where the exports go. they go through europe and start sending them across the pacific. a lot of that money passes through europe the becomes the basis for credit. the siberian governments, people using paper money like crazy based on this boy on trade and speculation which causes massive inflation in europe which pave the way to capitalism. in this period after the black
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death people were doing fairly well economically. one of the great ironies of history, the number of working people goes down by a third. cleans the slate in terms of population. >> like world war ii. >> and wages shoots up. the number of holidays is the easiest way to see what is going on. if you want to know how the class struggle is going look at how many days people have to work. in the 1450 and much of europe it was maybe half the day and spending all on these carnival's. public celebrations of various times. suddenly with the infusion of the bully on, it is not just caused by gold and silver coming in but this creation of creditors. we allocate all the capital back
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to the emerging bourgeoisie. the wages are a metaphor for what people can actually do. laborers -- sets the stage for creating capital. >> we conclude this part. since we are thinking in the long view. it has been 40 years and weeks since nixon shut the gold window and we are living in a world of pure credit money. we have another 460 years to go? or is this the end of the credit phase? >> it is getting a little tighter but not much tighter. >> i think we have some questions. anyone?
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whig for the microphone. >> i haven't read the book. there are a number of references to currency in the old testament. that much quoted first about an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is at least what i was taught, was not you get your eye gouged out you arrange to have the dowager's eye gouged out. it is a monetary transaction that there is value that is the node and there are other references to other monetary transactions in which it is money as opposed to credit. shackles or some type of currency that is of value. that is about 3,000 years old. >> something like that.
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okay. your basis of shekels our currency is? that is the thing. we just assume that. if there were shekel collins we would have found them. in fact coinage shows up only simultaneously in china, india and the eastern mediterranean sometime later. the reason it is confusing is we're used to estimate when people talk about the nominations of money there's something physically there. sometimes there was. people would way out silver on occasion. money really begins in the ancient middle east as and equivalents. a certain measure of this equals that and it is used to measure everything else. the question was how people are actually paying each other. the thing i thought was a big giveaway is the sumerians didn't actually make scales accurate enough. they had technology to do so but didn't bother making an accurate enough to measure tiny amounts of silver that would have been
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required to buy pots and pans and things like that. somehow they were getting them in another way. if you look at what happens a lot of markets around the world they use silver as a way of the nominating that and shekel is a wage. the wage system comes from a ration system used in temples. it is the amount of silver that corresponds to the work relief and the upgrade. it starts as a measure. but in fact a dollar is the same thing. is not a physical object. a:is worth exactly a dollar. as the famous creditors said no one ever touch of the dollar anymore than anybody ever touched a pound. it is a measure. >> the holy trinity of money, exchange for value. >> economists assume the medium comes first. people who assume that list
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credit. always considered almost cracked pot. not exactly but they are considered off to the side. an interesting sub strain of economics. definitely not mainstream. except by archaeologists and historians all evidence indicates they are right. >> what about the ethics that work on a daily basis? >> you don't need currency. you pay them grain usually. the thing is once you have a system of measurements you can pay them anything that they agreed to be paid. >> salary comes from rumors that another one -- >> it is true but they don't pay themselves in salt. >> you mentioned you talk about the imf and around the same time as virtual money in the 1970s lot of things people use to pay
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for armada priced. it happened rapidly and suddenly over the last 30 years. you talk about that in the radio interview. when you mentioned the question in my mind, how much of that had to be imposed by the force of the state? how much of that was market spreading on their own accord? you say there are no markets without a state? should i be viewing this as a creation of new markets? is it a different way of looking at something already going on? >> interesting history. one way we have been able to reconstruct what must have happened in the far past is looking at the colonial world. even though the economists at that theory money would arise spontaneously and it is accounting imposed by the state on taxation was considered marginal, what those guys actually did when they went into
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the world was that. the history of madagascar, i spent some years there, it is quite clear the french government took over madagascar. first thing they said was we are going to have an economically financing colony and any way you owe us a lot of money for the cost of the expedition we outfitted to conquer you. these armies don't come cheap. we are going to impose a tax and you have to pay that tax. it is critical in the money we will now:--:--coin. they call this the educational tax. it was educational in itself. they were very careful about this. they said we need to make sure people after they pay their tax
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work on the plantation or grow pineapples or coffee, get them into the market but make sure they have a little bit left over because we set up little shops on the coast and bring shopkeeper's but make sure they have enough that they can start buying candy and nice little things and they will get hooked. this is very self-conscious. it was very clear that they knew exactly what was going on. they were on to what the administrators were doing but for many years they refused. to pull all the money left over and buy cattle to sacrifice to their ancestors. but he eventually after a century, how long could you keep up resistance? that is the only game in town. very self-conscious.
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once you understand what was going on they were trying to create markets particularly labor markets. it becomes -- you realize one of the great mysteries if you believe the adam smith history version where money comes is created from below, why did ancient kings want taxes and money at all? because if gold and silver is money they grab the gold and silver mines. what is the point of taking it? stand your picture on it and give it to people and everybody give it back. doesn't make a lot of sense. if you are trying to create a market particularly if you are trying to create a market to pay for soldiers it makes perfect sense. big problem is here is 40,000 guys. how do you feed them? they will eat everything with a mile or two of where they are living immediately. if you don't want marauding bands of soldiers attacking your community you have to play another 40,000 people to play those guys unless you just take a little bit of gold and silver which is what they will be
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leading anyway. give it to the soldier and say everyone has to give one back. suddenly you are employed in everyone in the kingdom as people providing soldiers with thing they want or need but at the same time you are creating markets so the first market places the use cash develop around military operations. >> the 1970s and more recent a lot of these states that are most liberal. most monetized things that previously had not been were actually not directly in the colonial grip. parts of africa in the postcolonial era, they still adopted liberal policies. no longer free services offered by the state before that. how did that happen? >> largely through the imf.
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they simply imposed -- i turned to madagascar. madagascar had two or by some accounts three in the last 20 years. the first one they had the guy who was put in power was running the place. he went to the imf. they kicked out the previous -- he knew enough about power to do whatever the imf told him. they kicked out that guy. the new guy with a brain surgeon or something. not a professional politician. he went to the imf and said name one country that did what you say and is now read. they said shut up and do what you are told. he said no. if you don't have an imf treaty the world bank will give you money. you don't get american aid and if you don't get american aid you don't get export credit. it was the economic equivalent of dropping a nuclear bomb. they had the power to do that.
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people who don't play along. >> if you go back to the fiscal crisis they have to start charging tuition and their referendums in 1847. felix said it is not fiscally important. it was really sort of where the market needs to remake people's sold. there was a bit of soul remaking. >> that is why a jubilee would be helpful. it would do exactly the opposite. it would be real shock value and a way of telling as after 2008 you learn money is something that can be reshuffled anyway. let's bring that home. >> thanks so much. really great. quick question. is that an invention that is really neat? and used throughout the world?
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is it something that is permanent and everywhere? in your research defined -- may be hawaii comes to mind as a place that was not involved in the world economy until much later. was it discovered in 1788 or something? is it something everyone does? something that spreads? if not, does that open the possibility of a debtless society. >> depends how strictly you define the term. when i think of debt i think of a moral obligation that has been perverted by violence. somewhat less politically it is an obligation that can be quantified in which it is depersonalize. it is not between two people but between whoever the debt is owed to you can transfer.
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there are places without quantifiable and transferable obligations. i don't think it is the human universal. i think it is potentially a human universal in that it is a concept that could be easily understood in any context. sort of like money. it would be hard to eliminate many of any sort. if you imagine money as a way of comparing the values of things in proportional fashion it is an idea anyone could understand easily enough. it is universal in that sense. people make proportional calculations like that. once it is there it is hard to get rid of. i think the key thing is not to assume any time people are making promises to each other even involving material things that is a debt and therefore debt is universal because you assume the rest of the package naturally flows out of it. >> time for one brief question.
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>> we're just coming out of this housing crisis. >> we are? [laughter] >> we saw the rise of easy access to debt pushing up the idea of increased value. do you have any anecdotal anecdotes' where the same thing has happened? >> which aspect? >> easy access to credit for putting up the value of the house and suppose the value of the house based on -- >> you mean the fluctuating system. scams are prevalent in human history. that is why you have economic regulation. the debt trap is easy to fall into. you look in the bible or almost anywhere people with lots of money figure out ways to trap
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people. the idea that capitalism is a way of manipulating the market. once these institutions are there people will always try that kind of thing. one reason religious codes are so strict about ensuring it doesn't happen is the idea that there can be a market and people will not fall into that is utopian. i always think a utopian argument is where you say how things can work and doesn't and you say it is the end. the economic system is built for individuals as they actually exist and individuals as they actually exist if you set up the system will make scams and fall for them. >> that is it. [applause]
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>> you are watching 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books on c-span-2-booktv. >> booktv is at book expo america in new york city looking at some of the fall 2011 books that are coming out and we're pleased to be joined by george gibson, publisher of bloomsbury press. tell us about some of your books. let's start here with carl bogus's book on bill buckley. >> this is the first full biography of bill buckley. an icon of the conservative arena. he was the father of conservatism as it is known today. a remarkable man. absolutely remarkable man. very little has been written about him. this is the first full-scale biography. >> did mr. bogus have access to his library? >> he had access to every
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available resource. bogus is more liberal in his political persuasion so it is a very interesting balanced biography and fascinate people on both sides of the aisle. >> someone who is not liberal in their persuasion is an offer we have covered often on booktv who is victor davis hanson. i see a novel coming out by him. >> this is his first novel and a remarkable epic it is. a novel about a great greek general and the extraordinary battles he fought. it brings alive warfare in the ancient world in a way that very few people can. because he knows so much about history and ancient history of this book is alive with that kind of detail. it is a fascinating thing for him to write a novel and it will be a great success. >> mr. gibson. on your shelf here, inside mexico's criminal insurgency. >> the author has lived in mexico for ten years and has
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gone inside the drug insurgency in mexico and interviewed everybody involved from the gang leaders to the police and tells the inside story of what is happening in mexico. the extraordinary upheaval in their society. because he tells it from all angles you come to understand who is responsible. not just the gang but the government bears the responsibility as well and have a huge effect on the united states. from mexico and all over the united states. >> american crisis. >> bill fowler is a professor of history at northeastern. we were talking a few years ago and he wanted to write a book about his troops at newberg in 1783 after the war had ended but the war hadn't ended. i thought you should write a larger story about 1780 one-83. we think that the war ended in
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1781 when cornwallis surrendered to george washington in yorktown. didn't end for two more years until the british forces were led out of new york in 1783. this is the story of the tumultuous and dangerous two years the united states could have fallen apart. they had no money. the states were not allied. they would not give money to pay the army's so the army was not paid and on the brink of mutiny. the treaty with paris had not been signed yet. the country was in complete chaos and in many ways washington held it together those two years and that is what this book is about. >> those of the books coming out in fall of 2011. if you would please give us a snapshot of bloomsbury press. >> bloomsbury is more than bloomsbury press. bloomsbury u.s. a on the the adult side has three. bloomsbury in print and press imprint and walker and co.. bloomsbury the main imprint does a lot of fiction and natural
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history and food and sports related titles. bloomsbury press does history and science and current affairs and economics. the walker list does history and science as well with self improvement books and a lot of languages. >> are you selling more he books than hardback books? >> not more but a great many. they have sailed -- sold dramatically in the last six months as they have for every publisher. we are selling more than we were last time this year and it has become a familiar part. >> how would you like to see the google book settlement end? >> happily. i don't want to comment on it as a publisher. what google wants to do making this available is very important. spreading knowledge is very important but

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