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Hypercapitalism: A Cartoon Critique of the Modern Economy and Its Values

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  204 ratings  ·  56 reviews
PAPERBACK ORIGINAL From the bestselling cartoonist of The Cartoon History of the Universe comes an explosively graphic take-down of capitalism

Bestselling “overeducated cartoonist” Larry Gonick has delighted readers for years with sharp, digestible, and hilarious accounts of everything from the history of the universe to the story of calculus. Now Gonick teams up with psych
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 15th 2017 by New Press, The
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 ·  204 ratings  ·  56 reviews

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Stewart Tame
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
God bless Larry Gonick, for showing, not just that info comics could be every bit as fun and interesting as action and adventure titles, but that one could actually make a career doing them. I’ve been a fan of his work since the early days of The Cartoon History of the Universe, and I’m always happy to see new work from his capable pen (though I was a bit startled to see that his drawings of himself no longer resemble the mustachioed caricature from the Universe books. He’s gotten older, I suppo ...more
Ed Erwin
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, comics
Quite nice. Just by chance I read it at the same time as The Communist Manifesto: A Graphic Novel. I recommend that one only for the graphics, but this one has more recommendable content. Both books point out that unrestrained capitalism can lead to some bad outcomes, including exploitation of workers and destruction of the environment. But while CM recommends overthrowing capitalism, to replace it with something only vaguely specified, this book recommends more modest proposals. Capitalism has ...more
Apr 10, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a great intro to the problems of capitalism and how it infects near all aspects of contemporary life (from global politics to personal fulfillment). There's a nice overview of various facets of capitalism with supporting statistical evidence of how bad things have gotten.

However, while it's a nice overview, Gonick almost intentionally seems to disregard any cultural theory or political economy theory. This seems like a terrible oversight, considering discussions of the problems of capita
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Three stars for the content, and an extra star for the good intentions. Probably most useful as gateway reading for people who have a vague awareness that the modern economy isn't adding up but haven't really thought about why, or about how to resist it.
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
The authors are preaching to the choir on this one.

It is a good primer on capitalism (both pros and cons) and it's twisted offspring "hypercapitalism." Part II looks at ways to combat our current economic system.
Povilas Balciunas
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'd recommend everyone to read this book.
It explains how modern western economy works and discusses how we can do better :)
Camellia Schwartzman
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I finally read this book and I’m very glad that I did. It is very well done. I know Tim Kasser and Knox College well and I went to his talk before this book was published. I loved all of the graphs, charts, and info that he talked about. It was put simply and was a long read even though it is a graphic novel. The first half made me very pessimistic but the second half made me feel very optimistic. It also made me question why do I feel the need to buy something?? What do I value money at? Many d ...more
Amanda Hilde
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfic, graphic-novel
I'm reading this book because 2020 has made me increasingly extra anti-capitalist and because one of the authors, Tim Kasser, employed my mother as a research assistant many years ago.

This book should be required reading for everyone. 2020 has exposed many of these problems to the larger public and we should be taking action. Why does the richest country in the world have so many people whose lives are so bad. We must change.
Wendy Wagner
This book is incredibly funny! And trust me, you'll need a few laughs after this discussion of how capitalism works and how it affects people's psychology. Luckily, the last section of the book has some suggestions for how normal folks can help reign in the beast. Pretty inspiring stuff!
Sivasothi N.
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: capitalism
Lary Gonick draws and explains marvellously and this time he teams up with someone who has taught and researched topic for decades. Excellent book with hopeful suggestions and a great reference list.
Kiona Meade
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fun read and some great advice on how to reduce hypercapitalism and increase happiness!
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hypercapitalism, Larry Gonick and Tim Kasser, 2018, ISBN 9781620972823

In graphic novel form, this book attempts nothing less than an accessible explanation of capitalism. It also shows how present-day worship of markets harms a person's well-being and the planet's health.

The five commandments of hypercapitalism are: Thou Shalt Consume, Thou Shalt Operate Globally, Thou Shalt Not Regulate, Thou Shalt Spend Less on Labor and Thou Shalt Privatize. How can the average person afford all this consumpt
Robert J D
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Extensive research shows, the more people & societies prioritize materialistic values, less they care about promoting well-being, fair treatment of others, & environment sustainability." As most US businesses continue "to carry on as usual, overselling their stuff, pumping up profits, holding down wages, dodging taxes & regulations"...making Americans "less happy & satisfied, and more depressed & anxious." ...more
Alison Whiteman
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The cartoons are great, there is a great deal of humor and if you like, one can color the book. Seriously, though, this book explains clearly why hyper-capitalism is not sustainable to the earth, or to the well-being of human relationships.
Jeff Buddle
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a great and easy-to-read summation of what's wrong with the American economy today, how the grow-or-die capitalism that will eventually consume the planet and destroy humankind right along with it. There's only about 1% of us who can sluff off such a message cuz, no matter what happens, at least they'll be rich. Gonick and his co-author Tim Kasser spell it out for us in smart, witty, well-drawn panels. It's ground that Chris Hedges has covered before, and it's pretty grim.

Gonick and Kas
Scribe Publications
Like fish who don’t know they live in polluted water (because it’s everywhere), many people don’t know they live in economically, socially, and politically polluted societies. Hyper-Capitalism, in lucid prose and delightful graphics, pulls back the curtain with crystal clarity. I can’t think of a better book for young people to read as they chart their futures.
Barry Schwartz, Author of The Costs of Living, The Paradox of Choice, and Why We Work

This book explains much about how the world works, a
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing

“Reagan froze the minimum wage for 8 years, during which time inflation eroded its value by a third. Bush II did the same. The wage rose slightly under both Clinton and Obama, but its purchasing power is still lower than at any time between 1956 and 1985.”

This book can make for dark and depressing reading at times and yet throughout the duration the authors manage to maintain a playful, funny, provocative and insightful air that works really well to get the message across. This is a delightful r
Christian McKay
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you're like me, and you get tripped up when arguing with people who are super pro-capitalism because you have a dearth of knowledge on the subject, this book is for you.
Dana Robinson
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book. Just the overview of capitalism is worth the price of admission and the references section is outstanding. I do wish that part II were a little more fleshed out, but there are entire books on that.
David Grassé
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An indictment of the modern corporatist/capitalist system in the form of a fun, entertaining, and informative graphic novel. However, this book is much more than an extended harangue against the capitalist system. This book also offers suggestions and recommendations for undermining, circumventing, and even changing the system for the better.
Highly recommended for all ages!
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really good, really depressing at times, excellent resources and citations.
Jul 09, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2017-18
If you were to go back in time to explain how companies can recommend products to purchase using as established information network to someone 50 years ago, they'd say it'd make Star Trek. Even just explaining phones, email and other tech to users today can be challenging. Adding our consumer impulses to all this technology is daunting too as people grapple with instant buying via Amazon, media through iTunes and other online apps that offer instant satisfaction to get what we want. C ...more
This was a pretty good overview of the ways in which our modern capitalist society has "over-reached" from its original goals and has morphed into a sort of values-destroying monster (represented in the book, appropriately, as a big bug monster). The first few chapters talk about how capitalism was originally intended to work, then it briefly talks about the key points that encouraged the formation of "hypercapitalism" in modern society. The authors go over what the key differences between hyper ...more
Dec 11, 2018 rated it liked it
As someone who has never taken an economics class, this book was pretty helpful, although I didn’t end up feeling hopeful about battles against capitalism.

While the text was useful in presenting new information and building on it, I found the illustrations pretty bad. They weren’t particularly well done, but more importantly, the authors have “a note on gender, ethnicity, and cartoons” to open the book where they explain “a cartoon book ...must use specific characters to represent those differe
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I found this a very effective introduction to capitalism -- the only one of about the 10 or so I have read. It has humor, it simplifies without losing the essentials, it has an excellent section on the every day forms of socialism and anarchy that oppose capitalism. I would consider it for an introductory course. But it has one fatal flaw: it demonizes capitalism whereas what I need is an understanding that capitalism has an ethical pull and draw.

If falls short on the structural conditions of h
Matt Benkarski
A comprehensive overview of capitalism as it’s “supposed” to work, the beast that is “hyper capitalism”, and ways in which we can resist or try to change the system as it currently exists. “Hyper Capitalism” is an excellent introduction to those unfamiliar with these topics and inspired some hope in me as an individual trying to participate less in the rat race, rat fuck, whatever rat analogy works best for you.
The creators end the book with the hope (it seems) that we as consumers and citizens
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm not a big business type of guy. Financially, I understand how the world works, but that's just about it. Sometimes I need a visual representation to get me through some of the heavy topics of life. In this case, capitalism. Kasser's book is good. But with added illustrative representation by Larry Gonic, it's a fantastic read. It reminds me of Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics but with Capitalism. Kasser and Gonic take you through a history of capitalism in our country and around the worl ...more
Aviva Rosman
May 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
There's some good things here for kids - I think the cartoon explanation of capitalism is great - but overall lacks the sophistication that I've found in other Larry Gonick cartoons.

The biggest problem is that by representing corporations as a monolithic bug, rather than an organization made up of real humans, the book curiously ends up absolving the people making the decisions it abhors and can't fully explain the mechanisms that result in unjust ends. Despite the focus on action at the end, h
This was a very good examination of the world of capitalism. I will give it credit for explaining the bed rock principals of capitalism. There is so much that many who decry it have no idea of what it really does and what its benefits are. The examination of its flaws are well spoken and clearly presented.

Where it falls apart is when it tries to offer some alternatives. The way they are presented is as though they were magic curealls with no explanation of what some of their down sides are. He
Larissa Stenzel
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wish this were essential reading for all business students (and beyond). This is both easily digestible and packed with information on the rise of capitalism in our nation and our world. The authors demonstrate how the free market has gotten completely out of hand, going beyond what Adam Smith had described, coming into conflict with true democracy. They don't end it on a completely depressing note, as Part II explains various actions and movements people have taken and can take to counter the ...more
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Larry Gonick (born 1946) is a cartoonist best known for The Cartoon History of the Universe, a history of the world in comic book form, which he has been publishing in installments since 1977. He has also written The Cartoon History of the United States, and he has adapted the format for a series of co-written guidebooks on other subjects, beginning with The Cartoon Guide to Genetics in 1983. The ...more

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