The American activist and scientist David Graeber died in Venice, at the age of 59. That’s what his literary agent says. Graeber was best known for his role in the anti-capitalist protest movement Occupy Wall Street, which emerged in the US after the 2008 credit crisis. The cause of death is unknown.
Graeber is seen as the creator of the slogan “we are the 99 percent“, which refers to all Americans who do not belong to the financial elite (the ‘one percent’) and who did not benefit from decades of economic growth. Graeber himself said that he came up with this slogan together with some other activists.
In 2015, he turned up in the Amsterdam Virgin’s House, to encourage the students who had occupied the building in protest against the marketing of the university:
As a scientist, Graeber became best known for his 2011 book Debt: The First 5000 Years, in which he explained that debt relationships around the world existed much earlier than cash, and that they played an important social role thousands of years ago – including periodic remission. In his book Bullshit Jobs (2018), he focused on modern industries, in which people with ‘nonsense jobs‘ earn a lot, without adding anything substantial to society.
David Graeber worked as a professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics after his academic career ended in his native country: Yale University refused to renew his contract as a university lecturer in 2005, according to critics as punishment for his outspoken left-wing views.