The Surplus American: How the 1% is Making Us Redundant

Book Info

  • Length: 176 pages
  • Trim size: 6" x 9"

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  • ISBN: 978-1-61205-250-2
  • Publish date: September 2012
  • List Price: $22.95
  • Your Price: $19.51

Lib Ebook

  • ISBN: 978-1-61205-281-6
  • Publish date: August 2012
  • List Price: $133.00
  • Your Price: $113.05


  • ISBN: 978-1-61205-249-6
  • Publish date: September 2012
  • List Price: $133.00
  • Your Price: $113.05


The Surplus American documents a chilling social unraveling in which the majority of Americans are being rendered jobless and redundant. The book explains the long crisis of “surplus people,” showing that the jobless are the tip of the iceberg. The book identifies a number of primary groups within the category of surplus, including the underemployed, people forcibly removed from or induced to leave the labor force, retirees, people involved in make-work by government or business, those hired to control the unemployed, and those employed to boost consumption and manage unrest. Surplus people are the dirty underside of our capitalist economy, and the authors sketch their story over the past several centuries, as well as the present condition and the future destiny of a “surplus nation.” Offering a timely analysis of social movements such as Occupy Wall Street, and using both narrative and theatrical devices, the authors conclude that new inclusive social justice movements are essential not only to solving the crisis of surplus people but also to redirecting an economy driven by outsourcing, new technology, and a merciless global corporate strategy.

Author Info

Charles Derber, Professor of Sociology at Boston College, has written for Newsday, Newsweek, Business Week, Time, the Christian Science Monitor, and other magazines. He speaks frequently on National Public Radio, talk radio, and television. His most recent book is The Surplus American: How the 1% Is Making Us Redundant (Paradigm 2012).

Yale R. Magrass is a Chancellor Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts–Dartmouth, where he teaches social theory, political sociology, and the social impact of science and technology. He is the author of three other books and more than thirty articles, including encyclopedia entries, served on the board of six journals, has been a recipient of several grants, and participated in numerous international forums.


”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

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