36. There are so many books on the subject that one hesitates to cite, but a couple of outstanding examples are Anya Kamentz’s Generation Debt (2006), and Brett William’s Social History of the Credit Trap (2004). The larger point about demands for debt as a form of class struggle is in large part inspired by the Midnight Notes collective, who argue that, however paradoxically, “neoliberalism has thrown open a new dimension of struggle between capital and the working class within the domain of credit” (2009:7). I have followed this analysis to a degree, but tried to move away from the economistic framing of human life as “reproduction of labor” that hobbles so much Marxist literature—the emphasis on life beyond survival might be distantly Vaneigem-influenced (1967), but largely falls back on my own work on value theory (Graeber 2001). 37. Elyachar 2002:510. 38. See for instance, “India’s micro-finance suicide epidemic,” Soutik Biswas, BBC News South Asia, 16 December 2010, bbc.co.uk/news/world- south-asia-11997571 . 39. I have observed this first hand on any number of occasions in my work as an activist: police are happy to effectively shut down trade summits, for example, just to ensure that there’s no possible chance that protestors can feel they have succeeded in doing so themselves. 40. In practice, it mainly consists of “interest-free” banking arrangements that pay lip service to the notion of profit-sharing but in reality operate in much the same way as any other bank. The problem is that if profit-sharing banks are competing with more conventional ones in the same marketplace, those who anticipate that their enterprises will yield high profits will gravitate toward the ones offering fixed-interest loans, and only those who
anticipate lower profits will turn to the profit-sharing option (Kuran 1995:162). For a transition to no-interest banking to work, it would have to be total. 41. Under the Caliphate, to guarantee the money supply; in China, through systematic intervention to stabilize markets and prevent capitalistic monopolies; later, in the United States and other North Atlantic republics, through allowing the monetization of its own debt. 42. True, as I showed in chapter 5 , economic life will always be a matter of clashing principles, and thus might be said to be incoherent to a certain extent. Actually I don’t think this is in any way a bad thing—at the very least, it’s endlessly productive. The distortions born of violence strike me as uniquely insidious. 43. von Mises 1949:540–41. The original German text was published in 1940 and presumably composed a year or two previous. 44. Ferguson 2007:iv. 45. I can speak with some experience here; I am well known by my friends to be a workaholic—to their often justifiable annoyance—and keenly aware that such behavior is at best slightly pathological, and certainly in no sense makes one a better person.
Afterword 1. Theory of Moral Sentiments 3.36. The story is about Pyrrhus, King of Epirus, who really should have listened to his friend’s advice.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Abraham, Roy Clive. 1933. The Tiv People . Lagos: Government Printer.
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