David Graeber on Menger
Owen Sims, a grad student at Queen’s, recently pointed me in the direction of David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5,000 Years (an interview with Graeber about his recent book is available below). Graeber is an anthropologist and anarchist. My interest in Graeber was piqued by the fact that he has a go at Austrian economists in general and Menger’s theory of the origin of money in particular.
I have yet to finish reading his book, but I agree with Graeber’s critique of Menger that barter is a myth. The historical and anthropological evidence on this is compelling. I also agree with his critique of Austrian economics – he sees it more as a religion or ideology. There is much to be learned from Austrian economics, but we must be careful that our analysis of economic phenomena does not descend into mere ideology.
Click here for an extensive post by Graeber on money, Menger, and Austrian economics.