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Ice Age Art

Dear Editors

Thank you very much for forwarding the copy of the review (Mixed Media, September). It is great to read a piece in which the Marxist arguments are remembered and there are certainly excellent discussions to be had on these themes. More information on the topics mentioned can be found in the book that accompanied the exhibition. In both I tried to get away from the notion that these societies were ‘primitive’ or ‘savage’ as this is the language of the nineteenth century used to place modern western Europeans at the top of the evolutionary tree. The language of Marx and Engels that pursues evolution from savagery to barbarism and then civilization also need to be brought up to date with modern knowledge. It also sought to avoid the concept of Rousseau’s noble savage that is also inherent in the Marxist approach.

Book Reviews: 'Bleakonomics', 'Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That's OK', 'Shelley at Oxford' & 'The Lovely Horrible Stuff'

Capitalisms diminishing returns

Bleakonomics by Rob Larson. Pluto Press. 2012.

Larson has written an engaging polemic against free-market capitalism and its proponents, focusing on the role of ‘externalities’such as environmental destruction and the inadequate consideration of these by conventional economics.

Marx, Myth and Money

East Anglia Regional Branch meeting

Venue:  The Nelson, 120 Prince of Wales Road, Norwich

Recorded: 
Saturday, 15 September 2012

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Debt, Money and Marx

David Graeber’s much talked of Debt: The First 5,000 Years is what the title suggests –a history of debt since ancient times. Debt, that is, in the broadest sense, since Graeber discusses theological conceptions of debt as something humans owe to gods or to God or to society, which is rather remote from the more usual sense of owing money.

The myth of barter

Graeber sets out to refute the idea put forward by Adam Smith and followed by others that money arose out of barter. Smith argued that all humans had a “propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another”and so that barter would have been the original way in which they exchanged the products of their different trades. As barter has the inconvenience that those wanting to exchange have to have what each wants, at some stage money is invented as something that can be exchanged for anything.

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