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Joined 1 year, 2 months ago

I build software for a living so that I can buy books.

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Review of 'Chocolate City' on 'GoodReads'

4 stars

This book is a detailed, somewhat lengthy account of the history of race in Washington, DC. While the authors focus mostly on Black and white relations, they do also cover Irish, Catholic, Chinese, and Native American history, when it is relevent to the history of DC. Though the topic of DC racial history may seem niche, it's clear after reading the book that much of history of racial relations in the US runs parallel to the history of race relations in DC. It's also clear that much of DC's history and politics, including its current disenfranchisement and demographics, is tied to racism in the city and the in the rest of the country.

Though I find many history books to be disorganized and hard to read, Chocolate City is quite readable and well-structured. The authors offer historical context when appropriate, synthesize accounts of individual activists into cohesive narratives, and avoid …

Debt (2011, Melville House) 4 stars

The author shows that before there was money, there was debt. For 5,000 years humans …

Review of 'Debt' on 'GoodReads'

3 stars

Debt is an anthropologist's take on the history of money, debt, and political economy. The book is largely an attack on many of the assumptions mainstream economists make about human nature and human history. Foremost among those false assumptions is what Graeber calls the Myth of Barter - the idea that prior to money, trade happened only through barter. Graeber, like others before him, points out that a society or economy organized around barter has never existed. Instead, the earliest human societies organized trade around centralized communal distribution or (much more commonly) credits and debts, often elaborately measured and recorded.

Graeber then re-tells 5,000 years of economic history, arguing that history can be seen as a cycle between debt-based and money-based societies. He explains that the first money-based societies were largely an outgrowth of imperialism, war finance, and slavery. The general idea is that imperial states began to raise professional …