Crack-Up Capitalism

Crack-Up Capitalism

Market Radicals and the Dream of a World Without Democracy


Brought to you by Penguin.

Look at a map of the world and you'll see a neat patchwork of nation-states. But this is not where power actually resides. From the 1990s onwards, globalization has shattered the map, leading to an explosion of new legal entities: tax havens, free ports, city-states, gated enclaves and special economic zones. These new spaces are freed from ordinary forms of regulation, taxation and mutual obligation - and with them, ultracapitalists believe that it is possible to escape the bonds of democratic government and oversight altogether.

Historian Quinn Slobodian follows the most notorious radical libertarians - from Milton Friedman to Peter Thiel - around the globe as they search for the perfect home for their free market fantasy. The hunt leads from Hong Kong in the 1970s to South Africa in the late days of apartheid, from the neo-Confederate South to the medieval City of London, and finally into the world's oceans and war zones, charting the relentless quest for a blank slate where capitalism and democracy can be finally uncoupled.

Crack-Up Capitalism is a propulsive history of the recent past, and an alarming view of our near future.

©2023 Quinn Slobodian (P)2023 Penguin Audio


  • Timely and important, eye-opening ... Slobodian has done us a great service, identifying a phenomenon that needs unmasking.
    Will Hutton, The Observer

About the author

Quinn Slobodian

Quinn Slobodian is a professor of the history of ideas at Wellesley College, and the author of the award-winning Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism, which has been translated into six languages. A frequent contributor to the Guardian, New Statesman, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, Dissent and the Nation, he lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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