Writing on the Wall, The

Writing on the Wall, The

On the Decomposition of Capitalism and Its Critics

A new approach to the meaning of social emancipation


The 2008 global financial crisis has led to the re-emergence in public discourse of the idea that capitalism could end. For many, it was proof of the notion that capitalist civilisation has an endemic tendency towards crisis that will ultimately bring about its demise. Must we assume, however, that such an eventuality would inevitably result in the liberation of humanity, as many orthodox Marxists claim? Through a collection of specially revised essays, first published in France between 2007 and 2010, Anselm Jappe draws on the radical new perspective of “the critique of value” as a critical tool with which to understand today’s world and to re-examine the question of human emancipation. The Writing on the Wall offers a powerful new analysis of the decomposition of capitalism and its critics.


This passionate collection of essays by Anselm Jappe, a critique of value theorist, is a significant contribution to the critical analysis of contemporary capitalism. Resolutely anti-capitalist, the author reminds us that by demanding submission of all aspects of life to market relationships, the system inexorably leads to the destruction of human communities and the environment. ~ Michael Löwy, Alternative Libertaire

Contact with reality makes a theory stronger and the importance of Anselm Jappe’s book is that it allows us to measure the explicatory power of the ‘critique of value’ when it is applied to a number of different subjects, from political life to contemporary art. The central chapter, where he analyses the subprimes crisis, is the most striking. Here Jappe reminds us of the founding paradox of capitalism as originally formulated by Marx: capitalism realises profits by exploiting human labour, yet every increase in productivity made possible by automation and technology reduces human input into the goods that are produced. ~ Eric Aeschimann, Libération

Anselm Jappe
Anselm Jappe Anselm Jappe was born in Bonn, Germany, in 1962. Raised in Cologne and then in the Périgord region of France, he studied in Paris and Rome,...
Alastair Hemmens
Alastair Hemmens Alastair Hemmens is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Cardiff University School of Modern Languages, prior to which he taught at The A...

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