Surplus American

Surplus American : How the 1% is Making Us Redundant

3 (1 rating by Goodreads)
By (author)  , By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 3 business days

When will my order arrive?

Available. Expected delivery to the United States in 8-11 business days.

Not ordering to the United States? Click here.


The Surplus American considers a future where increasing numbers of Americans will be rendered jobless and redundant. Exploring the ongoing crisis of 'surplus people' today, authors Charles Derber and Yale Magrass show that the jobless are merely the tip of the iceberg. Drawing on the work of economists and highlighting new trends, the book identifies a number of primary groups within the category of 'surplus' including the underemployed, people forcibly removed or induced to leave the labour force and retirees. Derber and Magrass argue that a majority of the US public is now part of the surplus population constituting an integral part of the economy. The authors conclude that these movements will be essential to solving the crisis of surplus people and redirecting the economy in a more positive direction.
show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 176 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 22.86mm | 454g
  • Paradigm
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white line drawings, figures
  • 1612052495
  • 9781612052496

Table of contents

Part I : You're Fired-The Essay 1. Americans as a Surplus People 2. Who Are the Surplus People? 3. How to Make Money from the Creation of Surplus People 4. The Four Roots of Surplus People Production 5. How Many Surplus People Are There in the US? 6. Introducing the History of Surplus People 7. How Capitalism Created Surplus People Right from the Very Beginning 8. How the First Truly Industrial Society, Britain, Used Surplus People 9. How American Capitalists Controlled the Surplus Population before World War I 10. World War I and the Roaring Twenties 11. The Great Depression Begins 12. Roosevelt, Keynes, and the New Deal 13. America at Its Height 14. America Enters Decline 15. The Age of Reagan 16. Does Our Theory Hold Up? 17. What to Do? The Tea Party and the Occupy Movement 18. The Tea Party and the Dangerous Politics of Reaction 19. The Occupy Movement and the Politics of Hope 20. The Past and Future of the Occupy Movement 21. Why a Play Is an Effective Way to Discuss Politics and Economics Part II: I Like Firing People-The Play Part III: I Like Firing People-A Version Performed at Boston College
show more

Review quote

"A lucid and informative analysis of how our increasingly dysfunctional socioeconomic system is intensifying the process of turning America into a land of surplus people, decaying infrastructure, and shredded formal democracy-and of what we can do about it"

-Noam Chomsky

"Derber and Magrass's crisp book dramatizes the powerful forces undermining job security and rendering most of us surplus, not just economically but in almost every way. An essential read for anyone who wants to understand the history and future of work, politics, and social movements in America-with a hopeful roadmap to creating an economy and a society that work for everyone."

-Chuck Collins, Institute for Policy studies, and author of 99 to 1: How Wealth Inequality is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do About It

"This is a wonderfully imaginative but disturbing prophecy of where corporate outsourcing of American jobs-and other, often hidden trends in government policies for education, youth, the elderly, the military, and the imprisoned-could lead by 2020. The dystopia which they outline-in the book and in its concluding play-is all too believable unless American's adopt the new forms of democratic resistance that their encouraging final chapters advocate."

-Jonathan Steele, International affairs columnist for the Guardian

"Derber and Magrass have produced a double-header for the agitating mind-a people's history and a people's theatre. For action, you take it from there, where you live."

-Ralph Nader

"Written in a very accessible style, the book elicits both lay and professional readers' curiosity, and leaves a decided impression that the author is an engaging, insightful teacher well worth talking to. Highly recommended."


"Derber and Magrass have done a masterful job in explaining the major issues of political economy facing us today. The analysis is complemented brilliantly with a play, ready to be acted out in classrooms, religious groups, and book groups, to better help illustrate the absurd tragedy of the masses of people being cast aside and to show how America's majority can band together to reclaim our democracy."

-Jonathan White, co-author of The Engaged Sociologist and of Sociologists in Action
show more

About Charles Derber

Charles Derber is Professor of Sociology at Boston College. He is the author of Corporation Nation, Hidden Power and Greed to Green. Yale R. Magrass is Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. He is the author of three other books and more than thirty articles, including encyclopedia entries.
show more

Rating details

1 rating
3 out of 5 stars
5 0% (0)
4 0% (0)
3 100% (1)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X