[UPDATE: Gene emailed Graeber, explained things the way Gene was looking at them, and Graeber said, “OK he misread your post.” Yet all I did was claim that Gene said fiat money preceded commodity money; that is the title of Gene’s post, after all. I’ll let Gene decide if it’s appropriate to reproduce his full email exchange with Graeber in the comments.]
From Graeber’s latest response to me (on naked capitalism):
Last week, Robert F. [sic] Murphy published a piece on the webpage of the Von Mises Institute responding to some points I made in a recent interview on Naked Capitalism, where I mentioned that the standard economic accounts of the emergence of money from barter appears to be wildly wrong. Since this contradicted a position taken by one of the gods of the Austrian pantheon, the 19th century economist Carl Menger, Murphy apparently felt honor-bound to respond.
In a way, Murphy’s essay barely merits response. In the interview I’m simply referring to arguments made in my book, ‘Debt: The First 5000 Years’. In his response, Murphy didn’t even consult the book; in fact he later admitted he was responding at least in part not even to the interview but to an inaccurate summary of my position someone had made in another blog!
That “inaccurate summary” is this.