Abstract: This innovative book is the first comprehensive synthesis of economic, political, and cultural theories of value. David Graeber reexamines a century of anthropological thought about value and exchange, in large measure to find a way out of quandaries in current social theory that have become critical at a time of ideological collapse in the face of Neoliberalism. Rooted in an engaged, dynamic realism, Graeber argues that projects of cultural comparison are necessarily revolutionary projects: He attempts to synthesize the best insights of Karl Marx and Marcel Mauss, who represent two extreme, but ultimately complementary, possibilities in the shape such a project might take. Graeber breathes new life into the classic anthropological texts on exchange, value, and economy. He rethinks the cases of Iroquois wampum, Pacific kula exchanges, and the Kwakiutl potlatch within the flow of world historical process, and recasts value as a model of human meaning-making that far exceeds rationalist/reductive economist paradigms. Contents A Few Words by Way of Introduction Ch. 1. Three Ways of Talking about Value Ch. 2. Current Directions in Exchange Theory Ch. 3. Value as the Importance of Actions Ch. 4. Action and Reflection, or Notes toward a Theory of Wealth and Power Ch. 5. Wampum and Social Creativity among the Iroquois Ch. 6. Marcel Mauss Revisited Ch. 7. The False Coin of our own Dreams, or the Problem of the Fetish
Notes: Includes bibliographical references (p. -315) and index.