Out on 20 February 2025

The Hidden Globe

Atossa Araxia Abrahamian

20 February 2025
400 pages


Borders draw one map of the world; money draws another. A journalist’s riveting account exposes a parallel universe exempt from the laws of the land, and how the wealthy and powerful benefit from it.

The map of the globe shows the world we think we know: sovereign nations that grant and restrict their citizens’ rights. Beneath, above, and tucked inside its neatly delineated borders, however, a parallel universe has been engineered into existence, consisting of thousands of extraterritorial zones that operate largely autonomously, increasingly for the benefit of the wealthy and powerful. Atossa Abrahamian traces the rise of the hidden globe to thirteenth-century Switzerland, where poor cantons marketed the commodity they had—bodies, in the form of mercenary fighters. Following its evolution around the world, she reveals how prize-winning economists, eccentric theorists, visionary statesmen, and consultants masterminded its export in the form of free trade zones, flags of convenience, offshore detention centers where immigrants languish in limbo, and charter cities controlled by by foreign governments and multinational foreign corporations—and even into outer space, where tiny Luxembourg aspires to mining rights on asteroids.

By mapping the hidden geography that decides who wins and who loses in this new global order—and how it might be otherwise—The Hidden Globe fascinates, enrages, and inspires.