David Graeber: On Bureaucratic Technologies & the Future as Dream-Time
School of Visual Arts
The twentieth century produced a very clear sense of what the future was to be, but we now seem unable to imagine any sort of redemptive future. How did this happen? One reason is the replacement of what might be called poetic technologies with bureaucratic technologies. Another is the terminal perturbations of capitalism, which is increasingly unable to envision any future at all.
David Graeber likes to say that he had three goals for 2011: to promote his new book, Debt: The First 5000 Years (Melville House), learn to drive, and launch a worldwide revolution. He's done well on the first, failed the second, and the third may be on the way, in the form of the Occupy Wall Street movement that Graeber helped initiate. He teaches anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London, and is also the author of Towards an Anthropological Theory of Value, Lost People: Magic and the Legacy of Slavery in Madagascar, Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology, and Direct Action: An Ethnography, among other books.
David Graeber gave this talk in the School of Visual Arts theater on January 19, 2012.