David Graeber: On Bureaucratic Technologies & the Future as Dream-Time / 01.19.2012 @ SVA

David Graeber: On Bureaucratic Technologies & the Future as Dream-Time / 01.19.2012 @ SVA

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 19 January 2012 at 7.

Q&A begins at 52:24

(If you're David Levi-Strauss/affiliated with SVA and want us to take this down so you can upload it yourself, please contact us. We just want to make sure it's publicly available on Youtube.)

38 thoughts on “David Graeber: On Bureaucratic Technologies & the Future as Dream-Time / 01.19.2012 @ SVA

  1. A great lecture, first watched it a year or so ago, now watching again for a second time, doubt it’ll be the last.

    1. @Louis Victor not going to read all that crazy. you *will* have to get over people doing things that literally sustain their status of “alive”. or not. headtrip yourself all you like, but sssshhhh.

    2. @Legal Fiction Natural Fact Crazy is your bullshit. Loudly smacking and chewing loudly doesn’t keep you alive, just get over your non existing need.

    3. @Louis Victor oOo, emotional. sorry, but people need to eat, and you don’t get to stomp your little feet over it. 🙂

    4. @Legal Fiction Natural Fact oOo reading imapired, still not sorry. Are you genuinely implying that you can only chew by doing so _*LOUDLY *_ or are you just “conveniently” ignoring that part? If its the later, congratulations you just admitted to be dishonest intentionally. If it’s the former, I have bad news for you.

  2. “This has nothing to do with human need, it has to do with the need of maintaining a system of radical inequality, which as it turns out is really really expensive in terms of hours.”

    1. love that.
      david has said in one of his other talks about liberating people from mundane jobs, people say “what will people do with all their free time?”, david said “If you don’t know what to do with human liberty… that’s pretty messed up.” (he talks about being musicans/poets/being creative/etc)
      He has also said things like “how about we create/raise people we would want/enjoy being around” (my head is not recalling the context, but it may of been about living in a toxic society)

    2. @stephen trueman I think the last thing you’re referring to is in his “origins of capitalism” lecture, a pretty dense talk concerning debt where he eventually gets to the topic of how societies used to think of work and the economy in terms of the kind of people it’d “create”, as opposed to any kind of calculation of highest possible profits. I probably simplified the hell out of that, and David said it more eloquently & clearly than I ever could in that talk. Big recommendation for people to listen to that one, if they can get through all the sorta complex dowry/brideswealth history analysis at the start.

  3. Many great quotes… like “neoliberalism means provide credit to everybody so that everybody can participate…as a way of democratizing the system…leads to this strange system where freedom means being able to own a piece of your own permanent exploitation” 46:00

  4. The future is here! Think Theranos, Juicero, WeWork and Kailo. You can create anything you want (forget about if it really works or not) and some shmuck will pay for it.

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