The Modern Economy, Its Values, and How to Change Them

From the bestselling cartoonist of The Cartoon History of the Universe comes an explosive takedown of capitalism

“Larry Gonick should get an Oscar for humor and a Pulitzer for history.” —Richard Saul Wurman, author and creator of the TED conference

Bestselling “overeducated cartoonist” Larry Gonick has delighted readers for years with sharp, digestible, and funny accounts of everything from the history of the universe to the intricacies of calculus. Now Gonick teams up with psychologist and scholar Tim Kasser to create an accessible and trenchant cartoon guide to how global, privatizing, market-worshipping hypercapitalism threatens human well-being, social justice, and the planet. But Gonick and Kasser don’t stop at an analysis of how the economic system got out of whack—they also point the way to a healthier future.

A primer for the post-Occupy generation, Hypercapitalism draws from contemporary research on values, well-being, and consumerism to describe concepts (corporate power, free trade, privatization, deregulation) that are critical for understanding the world we live in, and movements (voluntary simplicity, sharing, alternatives to GDP, protests) that have developed in response to the system. Gonick and Kasser’s pointed and profound cartoon narratives provide a deep exploration of the global economy and the movements seeking to change it, all rendered in clear, graphic—and sometimes hilarious—terms.


“A truly unique, page-turning graphical account . . . Gonick and Kasser pull off the monumental feat of rendering an otherwise dry and complex social-economic topic as clear, entertaining, informative, and even hilarious in spots. Hypercapitalism is a remarkable, essential and hopeful book for our times. To embrace and act upon its message is to live better.”
—Nomi Prins, author of All the Presidents’ Bankers and It Takes a Pillage
“A clear and concise description of how the market economy functions, why it encourages the worst aspects of human nature, and how we can cope in an age of excess.”
—John Gowdy, Professor of Economics and Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
“This book explains much about how the world works, and why it increasingly doesn’t. Read it soon, before we lose any more ice caps.”
—Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and Deep Economy
“A great introduction to the current state of the economy and what can be done about it, and a solid addition for Gonick’s many fans.”
Library Journal
“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. Hypercapitalism, 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

News and Reviews

Library Journal

“A great introduction to the current state of the economy and what can be done about it, and a solid addition for Gonick’s many fans.”

Kirkus Reviews

“[A] timely counter to those who celebrate predatory economics as the best of all possible financial worlds."

Publishers Weekly

“Gonick’s latest is another triumph: a new self-education classic for these troubled times.”

Goodreads Reviews