This is another of those interesting taboos: when speaking of the past, one can speak of ‘ruling classes’ pursuing strategies of rule, but when speaking of the present, this is crazy talk. … The book provides extensive historical documentation of the links between empires, violence, and forms of money creation throughout history. Almost no one ever objects to any of that. But the moment I suggest that such connections didn’t somehow just magically disappear around—I don’t know—1945, to be replaced by historically completely unprecedented voluntary arrangements which nonetheless seem to have almost exactly the same effect, suddenly I’m treated as one step from the loony bin.
Graeber is a consummate scholar, bringing a level of clarity and rigor that I’ve come to expect from philosophy into broader topics in dire need of it.