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Born in 1961, US anthropologist and activist David Graeber was weaned on leftist politics, and declared himself an anarchist at age 16. He became an anthropology professor, and his early cultural research in Madagascar exposed him to poverty that he saw as caused by pressures to repay excessive government debt. Through a combination of activism and scholarship he has devoted much of his career to developing an intellectual basis for undermining capitalism. In his 2011 book Debt: The First 5,000 Years, Graeber uses the insights of an anthropologist to argue that debt plays a toxic role in human relations.