The Obscene Wealth of the Ruling Class, What They Do with Their Money, and Why You Should Hate Them Even More

Rob Larson

Haymarket Books (20 August, 2024)

Trade paper • ISBN-13: 9798888900857  •US $22.95 • 6 in x 9 in • 240 pgs.


Economist Rob Larson combines wit, righteous anger, and clear-eyed analysis as he dissects the lifestyle, moral bankruptcy, and stupidly large sums of money hoarded by the disgustingly wealthy.

The fact that we live in one of the most unequal societies in the history of the world is becoming common knowledge. And while lists of “richest people in x country” may be easy to come by, how much do we really know about the billionaires who sit atop our global economic system? Who are they, really? How did they accumulate their ill-gotten gains? And what kind of depravities do they use to maintain their positions?

Turning their own weapons of class-war against them—from the fawning profiles found in the Mansion section of the Wall Street Journal to the national income data buried in white papers meant solely for investors and technocrats—Larson crunches the numbers so you don’t have to.

But he doesn’t stop there, because appreciating the sheer scale of the global wealth gap doesn’t even touch on all the ways the ruling class are making us miserable, breaking our society to pieces, and destroying the planet in their pursuit of ever-increasing power and profit. As we behold whole continents on fire, pandemics thrashing public health systems to smithereens, and declining lifespans for the vast majority, Larson argues that the only way forward is to yank on the emergency break and give capitalism the boot.


Praise for Bit Tyrants:

“Highly informed, lively and readable, this is a badly needed study of the giant high tech corporations that increasingly dominate the means of work and social interaction, amass and scrutinize the details of our lives, seek to shape attitudes and behavior, and like the great virtual monopolies of the past both rely on state power and heavily influence it. Beyond exposing the nature of this awesome and threatening system.”

Noam Chomsky

“Today’s tech giants control technologies that have suffused our lives, and they have generated a self-glorifying mythology and hype to match. Rob Larson’s Bit Tyrants helps puncture this ideological reality-distortion field, providing a guide to monopolistic giants like Amazon and Google, as they transform labor, politics, war and more. He does all this with a sarcastic wit that will bring a smile to anyone who has cursed the malign influence of these companies and their plutocratic rulers on 21st Century life.”

Peter Frase, author of Four Futures


Bit Tyrants: The Political Economy of Silicon Valley


Rob Larson is the author of Bleakonomics and Capitalism vs. Freedom from Zero Books, as well as Bit Tyrants (Haymarket, 2020). He writes for JacobinIn These TimesCurrent Affairs and Dollars & Sense.


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