Quinn Slobodian at Harvard Book Store


Crack-Up Capitalism:
Market Radicals and the
Dream of a World Without Democracy 

in conversation with MOIRA WEIGEL


April 13, 2023
7:00 PM ET


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes QUINN SLOBODIAN—author of Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism and professor of the history of ideas at Wellesley College—for a discussion of his latest book Crack-Up Capitalism: Market Radicals and the Dream of a World Without Democracy. He will be joined in conversation by MOIRA WEIGEL—author of Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating and Assistant Professor of Communications Studies at Northeastern University.

A Return to In-Person Events

Harvard Book Store is excited to be back to in-person programming. To ensure the safety and comfort of everyone in attendance, the following Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place at all of our Harvard Book Store events until further notice:

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About Crack-Up Capitalism

Look at a map of the world and you’ll see a colorful checkerboard of nation-states. But this is not where power actually resides. Over the last decade, globalization has shattered the map into different legal spaces: free ports, tax havens, special economic zones. With the new spaces, ultracapitalists have started to believe that it is possible to escape the bonds of democratic government and oversight altogether.

Crack-Up Capitalism follows the most notorious radical libertarians―from Milton Friedman to Peter Thiel―around the globe as they search for the perfect space for capitalism. Historian Quinn Slobodian leads us from Hong Kong in the 1970s to South Africa in the late days of apartheid, from the neo-Confederate South to the former frontier of the American West, from the medieval City of London to the gold vaults of right-wing billionaires, and finally into the world’s oceans and war zones, charting the relentless quest for a blank slate where market competition is unfettered by democracy.

A masterful work of economic and intellectual history, Crack-Up Capitalism offers both a new way of looking at the world and a new vision of coming threats. Full of rich details and provocative analysis, Crack-Up Capitalism offers an alarming view of a possible future.

Praise for Crack-Up Capitalism

“Ranging from Liechtenstein to Somalia, and from Hong Kong to Silicon Valley, Quinn Slobodian's Crack-Up Capitalism exposes how zones of exception promise capitalism an escape from the confines of the modern state and the constraints of democracy. Revelatory reading. A worthy successor to Slobodian’s brilliant Globalists.” ―Adam Tooze, author of Crashed

“In Crack-Up Capitalism, Quinn Slobodian takes us on a wild ride through the fenced-in compounds and failed states of today’s capitalist world, and invites us to imagine a future where the rich have privatized safety, turned working people into a disposable servant class, and bought entire countries outright. This sharp and wickedly entertaining book is a necessary field guide to the LARPers, bloggers, and grifters of the libertarian and anarcho-capitalist world, a warning that they are closer to fulfilling their fantasies than we might think, and a clarion call for collective action to preserve―and greatly expand―democracy as we know it.” ―Sarah Jaffe, author of Work Won’t Love You Back

“Revelatory. In this head-spinner of a book, Quinn Slobodian shows how zones, islands, micronations, gated communities, and cyber realms are remaking our planet. The capitalist future they portend isn’t a borderless utopia but a jurisdictional shatter belt, where democracy is a distant dream.” ―Daniel Immerwahr, author of How to Hide an Empire

Moira Weigel
Moira Weigel

Moira Weigel

MOIRA WEIGEL is an Assistant Professor of Communications Studies at Northeastern University and a founder of Logic. Her most recent book, with Ben Tarnoff, is Voices from the Valley: Tech Workers Talk About What They Do—and How They Do It (FSG, 2020).

Quinn Slobodian
Quinn Slobodian

Quinn Slobodian

QUINN SLOBODIAN is 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, Foreign Policy, Dissent, the Nation, the New Statesman, and the New York Times, he is a professor of the history of ideas at Wellesley College. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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