Fr. 52.70

Revenge Capitalism - The Ghosts of Empire, Demons of Capital, Settling of Unpayable Debts

English · Paperback / Softback

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Capitalism is in a profound state of crisis. Beyond the mere dispassionate cruelty of 'ordinary' structural violence, it appears today as a global system bent on reckless economic revenge; its expression found in mass incarceration, climate chaos, unpayable debt, pharmaceutical violence and the relentless degradation of common life.

In Revenge Capitalism, Max Haiven argues that this economic vengeance helps us explain the culture and politics of revenge we see in society more broadly. Moving from the history of colonialism and its continuing effects today, he examines the opioid crisis in the US, the growth of 'surplus populations' worldwide and unpacks the central paradigm of unpayable debts - both as reparations owed, and as a methodology of oppression.

Revenge Capitalism offers no easy answers, but is a powerful call to the radical imagination.

List of contents

List of figures



Introduction: we want revenge

1. Toward a materialist theory of revenge

Interlude: Shylock's vindication, or Venice's bonds?

2. The work of art in an age of unpayable debts: social reproduction, geopolitics, and settler colonialism

Interlude: Ahab's coin, or Moby Dick's currencies?

3. Money as a medium of vengeance: colonial accumulation and proletarian practices

Interlude: Khloé Kardashian's revenge body, or the Zapatisa nobody?

4. Our Opium Wars: pain, race, and the ghosts of empire

Interlude: V's vendetta, or Joker's retribution?

5. The dead zone: financialized nihilism, toxic wealth, and vindictive technologies

Conclusion: revenge fantasy or avenging imaginary?

Coda: 11 theses on revenge capitalism

Postscript: after the pandemic - against the vindictive normal



About the author

Max Haiven is Research Chair in Culture, Media and Social Justice at Lakehead University, Canada. His books include Art after Money, Money after Art (Pluto, 2018), Crises of Imagination, Crises of Power (Zed Books, 2004), Cultures of Financialization (Palgrave MacMillan, 2014) and the Radical Imagination (Zed Books, 2014).


Capitalism has become a system of economic revenge, meted out against oppressed populations around the globe.

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