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Debt

Every economics textbook says the same thing: Money was invented to replace onerous and complicated barter systems-to relieve ancient people from having to haul their goods to market. The problem with this version of history? There’s not a shred of evidence to support it. Here anthropologist David Graeber presents a stunning reversal of conventional wisdom. He shows that 5,000 years ago, during the beginning of the agrarian empires, humans have used elaborate credit systems. It is in this era, Graeber shows, that we also first encounter a society divided into debtors and creditors. With the passage of time, however, virtual credit money was replaced by gold and silver coins-and the system as a whole began to decline. Interest rates spiked and the indebted became slaves. And the system perpetuated itself with tremendously violent consequences, with only the rare intervention of kings and churches keeping the system from spiraling out of control. Debt: The First 5,000 Years is a fascinating chronicle of this little known history-as well as how it has defined human history, and what it means for the credit crisis of the present day and the future of our economy.

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Debt: The First 5,000 Years

Before there was money, there was debt

Every economics textbook says the same thing: Money was invented to replace onerous and complicated barter systems—to relieve ancient people from having to haul their goods to market. The problem with this version of history? There’s not a shred of evidence to support it.

Here anthropologist David Graeber presents a stunning reversal of conventional wisdom. He shows that for more than 5,000 years, since the beginnings of the first agrarian empires, humans have used elaborate credit systems to buy and sell goods—that is, long before the invention of coins or cash. It is in this era, Graeber argues, that we also first encounter a society divided into debtors and creditors.

Graeber shows that arguments about debt and debt forgiveness have been at the center of political debates from Italy to China, as well as sparking innumerable insurrections. He also brilliantly demonstrates that the language of the ancient works of law and religion (words like “guilt,” “sin,” and “redemption”) derive in large part from ancient debates about debt, and shape even our most basic ideas of right and wrong. We are still fighting these battles today without knowing it.

Debt: The First 5,000 Years is a fascinating chronicle of this little known history—as well as how it has defined human history, and what it means for the credit crisis of the present day and the future of our economy.

From the Hardcover edition.Before there was money, there was debt

Every economics textbook says the same thing: Money was invented to replace onerous and complicated barter systems—to relieve ancient people from having to haul their goods to market. The problem with this version of history? There’s not a shred of evidence to support it.

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debt

Mike is a man in a spin. Downwards. His life is a car crash that seems to keep on happening. He skirts the edges of crime but never gets a break.
Jonah has a major drug dependancy that carries with it the associated risks. And debt. When his debts become too much he is given an ultimatum, a job. A once in a lifetime opportunity. An offer he can’t refuse. To do so is suicide.
Staines is a vicious criminal of the Glasgow underworld. When a major opportunity presents itself he needs front men, or victims, to place in the firing line.
Joanne is a mother who has seen death. Her children dying in front of her. Her mind shattered, her world destroyed, she struggles to escape the clutches of her tormentor.
Different people. Different lives. However lives that collide together in an explosion of chance and misfortune leading to a devastating climax.
Not all of them would make it.

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The Debt [DVD]

The Debt fuses physical and moral peril as it fuses past and present. In the contemporary half of the story, ex-Mossad agent Rachel Singer (Helen Mirren) tells and retells the story of how she and her fellow agents David Peretz (Ciarán Hinds, Rome) and Stephan Gold (Tom Wilkinson, In the Bedroom) captured and killed a Nazi war criminal. But in flashbacks to Cold War East Berlin, younger versions of Rachel, David, and Stephan (Jessica Chastain, Sam Worthington, and Marton Csokas, respectively) play out a significantly different series of events–and the gap between past and present takes its toll on all three in different (and in one case gut-wrenching) ways. Though Mirren, Hinds, and Wilkinson are a powerhouse trio, it’s the Cold War scenes that take hold of the viewer. Jesper Christensen (as the Nazi) invests his conversations with Chastain and Worthington with silky insinuation and taunting contempt, building a devastating suspense. Fans accustomed to Worthington in his action-movie roles (Avatar, Clash of the Titans) will be surprised by the gentle vulnerability he shows here, but it’s Chastain (The Tree of Life) who captures the movie’s emotional core. She and Mirren perform a strange collaboration that can only happen in the movies, building a fierce and brittle woman out of their complementary performances. –Bret Fetzer

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Back to the Black: how to become debt-free and stay that way (Telling Experience)

’Back to the Black: how to become debt-free and stay that way’ is for anyone worried about debt, who wants to know how to handle it and get out of debt as soon as possible. By viewing your problem as a coach or counsellor would, you’ll learn many tactics for handling stress, formulating a plan and much more. You’ll also learn how to fix a repayment schedule that’ll shorten the time till you are debt-free while protecting your peace of mind; how to budget more effectively; and some simple ways to track your spending in future so that you can stay “in the black” while still enjoying life.

After reading this book you will feel more confident of your ability to handle your debt situation … and you’ll have a plan for doing so.

You’ll know how to evaluate your current situation; how to decide realistic but challenging goals for reducing your debt; how to develop a list of options; and how to calculate your discretionary income. When you have that information, the decision about what to do will suddenly seem straightforward.

The book ends with a comprehensive “Resources” section, including contact details for nearly 50 organisations that can help you (most of them for free).

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How to Get out of Debt

Millions of consumers have become trapped in a spiral of debt, but there is hope. If you want to free yourself from the shackles of debt, this book is for you–it can help you “get out of debt, stay out of debt and live prosperously”. Jerrold Mundis writes in a friendly, engaging style, urging readers to stop the cycle of spending. Mundis knows what he’s talking about–he, too, was once thousands of (US) dollars in debt and didn’t know where to turn. Anecdotes from Debtors Anonymous folks, plus multiple examples from the writer’s own life and ledgers, make How to Get Out of Debt an encouraging read, not a condescending one. Once you start your program, you may want to periodically reread some chapters for inspiration or fun. –Jake Bond

List Price: £3.99
Price: £1.13

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