Debt vs. Great Transformation

Topics: Capitalism, Karl Polanyi, Economics Pages: 4 (1386 words) Published: October 27, 2014

Paper 1:
Debt by David Graeber & The Great Transformation by Karl Polanyi

How did we find ourselves in a Capitalistic society and when did decide in that direction? Individual gain is precisely what influenced major changes within our economic structure. David Graeber and Karl Polanyi are both influential financial gurus whose ideas on finances, debt, money and capitalism; gives their audience a different perspective. Both Graeber and Polanyi give their own insight on why they believe our current system has flaws; showing that our past greatly affected the way we handle finances today. As stated in the book, The Great Transformation; a transformation took place in which people used to trade with others because of redistribution, reciprocity or householding. “Whether the very different entities of the family or the settlement or the manor formed the self-sufficient unit, the principle was invariably the same, namely that of producing and storing for the satisfaction of the wants of the members of the group” (56). This shows that we started our economy based off of helping one another, self gain was not something that was normal yet because people would not have survived without others. The terrain and natural environment were not always conducive for plentiful crops or a good harvest. These three systems are a good representation of what motivated people to trade and were based off of the free market prior to the rise of the Market Society. Polanyi wanted to highlight the transformation people made and began trading for their own capitalistic ways. Karl describes the transformation from the free market society to our current day system as intrusive. Capitalism was not a gradual process but took place so that there could be individuals on the very top and then people that were at the bottom of the financial scale. He states “ We have become too much accustomed to think of the spread of...

References: Graeber, David. Debt: The First 5,000 Years. Brooklyn, NY: Melville House, 2011. Print.
Polanyi, Karl. The Great Transformation. Boston: Beacon, 1957. Print.
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