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Graeber On Debt and Violence

A few fellow BPFers have shared this video with us on our Facebook wall, and we wanted to bump it to the front page and ask what you might think about it.  An especially provocative point, that also speaks to why we at Buddhist Peace Fellowship are interested in a subject like debt:

Normally, people do favors for one another; they feel in one other’s debt in this very broad sense … But when we’re talking about debt we mean something that can be precisely quantified.  It’s adding money to the matter.  And you can only really quantify debt when you’re in a situation of at least potential violence.

Graeber goes on to explain what he means, and how exactitude around what’s owed tends to arise in situations of harm, anger, and conflict.

And how about you?  Do you have thoughts on Graeber’s take on debt, its relationship to favors or gifts (in some ways recalls Lewis Hyde’s The Gift), and its relationship to violence and peacemaking?  Share your wisdom in comments!

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