Revenge Capitalism is out now!

I’m thrilled to announce that, at long last, my book Revenge Capitalism: The Ghosts of Empire, the Demons of Capital, and the Settling of Unpayable Debts has been published by Pluto Books and is available for sale online now and in stores… whenever they reopen! You can find out more at:

*** Special: 30% off ***

Enter ‘REVENGE30’ at the checkout over at Pluto Books’ website under “add coupon”

A personal request to help spread the word.

The first two weeks of a new book’s life are crucial, and the fact that we’re all stuck indoors makes this especially difficult. While ‘m personally disappointed not to be able to do in-person public events to promote the book (for online ones, see below), the impact of the pandemic on radical publishers like Pluto is dire.  Please consider buying extra copies of my book to give to friends (or, better, enemies – they’re guaranteed to hate it) and also contributing to Pluto’s Patreon.

Meanwhile, I hope you might consider doing any of the following to help get the word out about the book:

  • Please take a moment to share the book on social media
  • Consider recommending it to a magazine, website or podcast you love for review
  • Do you know someone who might be interested in writing a book review? (If so, they can email Chris at to obtain a free review copy)
  • Forward this email or information on to people you know or email lists.


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 ‘surplussed 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.


  • Perhaps the most theoretically creative radical thinker of the moment.
    David Graeber, author of ‘Debt: The First 5000 Years’
  • Max Haiven retraces the roots of the current regression, of the reactionary trend that is driving the world toward a new darkness. These roots are humiliation and revenge. In my opinion, this book is of strategic importance.
    Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, author of ‘Futurability: The Age of Impotence and the Horizon of Possibility’
  • A deeply learned debt warrior, Haiven lays bare the abject cruelty of financial capitalism, and provides us with a rich supply of sources and arguments for a fightback that gives as good as it takes.
    Andrew Ross, author of ‘Creditocracy and the Case for Debt Refusal’


Max Haiven is Canada Research Chair in Culture, Media and Social Justice at Lakehead University and co-director of the ReImagining Value Action Lab (RiVAL). His previous books include Art After Money, Money After Art: Creative Strategies Against Financialization (2018), Cultures of Financialization: Fictitious Capital in Popular Culture and Everyday Life(2014) and (with Alex Khasnabish) The Radical Imagination: Social Movement Research in the Age of Austerity (2014).

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: We Want Revenge
  • Ch1. Toward a materialist theory of revenge
  • Interlude: Shylock’s vindication, or Venice’s bonds?
  • Ch2. The work of art in an age of unpayable debts: Social reproduction, geopolitics, and settler colonial
  • Interlude: Ahab’s coin, or Moby Dick’s currencies?
  • Ch3. Money as a medium of vengeance: Colonial accumulation and proletarian practices
  • Interlude: Khloé Kardashian’s revenge body, or the Zapatisa nobody?
  • Ch4. Our opium Wars: Pain, race, and the ghosts of empire
  • Interlude: V’s vendetta, or Joker’s retribution?
  • Ch5. 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

Things to read

Things to watch/listen

  • Short
  • Medium
    • A revenge tour of London22-minute video exploring the book’s main chapters
  • Long
    • Money as a Medium of Vengeance: Colonial Accumulation and Proletarian Practices,” A 44-minute illustrated video version of one of the book’s chapters.
    • Our opium Wars: Pain, race, and the ghosts of empire,”  55-minute audio interview about one the book’s chapters.
  • Longest
    • Four video lectures (45-minutes each) on the book’s chapters and themes, recorded as part of a seminar in April and May

Online events

  • May 7 – “‘Revenge is a human dream.’ On the poetics and politics of avenging” a conversation with Max Haiven and Phanuel Antwi.
  • May 20 – “Is ours an age of revenge capitalism?” University College London Institute for Advanced Study Talking Points Seminar. 6pm BST. Online and open to all.
  • May 27 – “Art, debt, capitalism and revenge.” Slade School of the Arts public lecture. 5pm BST. 6pm BST. Online and open to all. Link coming soon.
  • More events coming soon