"Anarchist Anthropologist" David Graeber, credited with coining "The 99%," has died

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/09/04/anarchist-anthropologist-d.html


This sucky year has now denied us potentially 20 more years of this man sharing his insights and speaking the unspeakable in America (about our class society, about our inequality, about the beneficial and malicious purposes of debt, about BS jobs, about who knows what else). Too young.


About once a year I place a fairly large book order that usually includes multiple copies of books I had read the previous year and want to share. I give them as gifts to people in my life throughout the year for any or no reason. The last few years I’ve ordered a few copies of Debt as I can’t seem to get it into the hands of enough people.

I’ll miss wondering what inspired project he has in store of us. This is truly sad news.


I think the pyramids are the most famous example of bullshit jobs. Peasants have nothing to do while the Nile is flooded? Have them drag stones into a really big heap, that should keep them busy.


It just makes me mad cause his work helped me become a mutualist on top of Kevin Carson’s work.


Telemarketing is worse, in my opinion.


All-stone pyramids were built during a very short - comparatively speaking - period of Ancient Egyptian history. Workers were not conscripted, and were well-paid, -housed, and -fed. Whole towns came into being at building sites, and workers’ families usually accompanied them. There wasn’t much the farmers could do while their fields were under water, or once they’d taken care of their own and their neighbors’ irrigation canals.

Hell, the very idea of slavery didn’t even exist until invaders from “the holy land” took over much of Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period.

Movies are the worst way to get a grasp of AE history/society. :wink: Most of the so-called doccos on tv aren’t much better.

[Edited to add:] Other large building sites, like major cemeteries, religious centers, etc also had workers’ villages. Each had varying numbers of permanent residents.


Was that double copy paste in the first snip some sort of meta commentary on the repetitive nature of wage labor?

Good one.

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"Graeber’s argument about bullshit jobs is a critique of the institutionalized administrative bureaucracies that humans have created to simply feel busy and fulfilled and important, even though it completely backfires."

And yet, we supposedly live in a world dominated by “free markets”. A true free market would, allegedly, easily eliminate these redundant and useless sinecures. But, it seems it doesn’t? Could it be that we don’t live in this wonderful world of Freedom and Liberty? (I really hate that free market fundies always refer to their ideological program as “Liberty” producing,. The liberty to always lose isn’t any sort of liberty I can recognize as useful)

Maybe we live, in fact, in an oligarchic dystopia, ever worsening for working people, and all this constant gush about the wonder of unfettered, deregulated, “free market” capitalism is just a load of SHIT to mask the fact that we live in a kleptocracy doomed towards failure and an eventual aristocratic, neo-feudalistic nightmare that will regularly collapse upon itself?

Is there any evidence of such slander that I write of?


I’ll miss seeing him pop up on mainstream media like this Charlie Rose appearance.
Like Chomsky I thought he did a reasonable job of explaining anarchist ideology to those unfamiliar.

I also particularly enjoyed his essay Are You An Anarchist? The Answer May Surprise You! and his historical perspectives on military/slavery/coinage/tribute systems.


One of my many work-study jobs included lab work at a sewage treatment facility. Any lab-related labor engaged in depended on receiving samples of this and that throughout the treatment process and from elsewhere. One day, I and the lab staff were down due to having no samples to work on. Our rarely seen supervisor, always loud, abrasive and suited, came in that day and insisted that we do something – anything – even if it just meant uselessly reviewing old lab data or at least reading job related publications. We absolutely hated him.




this entire page, dammit…

and this one…

oh and…

Dr. Graeber, you will be missed.

My thoughts go out to his family, his friends, his allies and co-workers, his students, formal and informal.


I know very well the pyramids weren’t built by slaves. Bullshit jobs aren’t the same as slavery, they can even be well paid. It’s the ultimate pointlessness that makes them bullshit jobs.




unbelievably happy batty thing
Fank yew!

'Swhy I read and grab aca-ma-demic works from Academia.edu.

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