• 09.18.13

“52 Shades Of Greed” Playing Cards Illustrate Those Who Gambled With The Economy

Alternative Banking Group recruited 28 New York artists to illustrate playing cards commemorating some key figures in the global financial crisis.

Last year on September 17th, a subsection of Occupy Wall Street called Alternative Banking Group handed out thousands of decks of playing cards in Zucotti Park. These cards were not your typical fare, however. Instead of kings, queens, and jacks, these cards bore illustrations of those people and corporations that Occupy deems most responsible for the tanking of the economy. Now, you can own a deck of those cards yourself.


Whatever your politics, it’s hard to argue that 52 Shades of Greed aren’t objectively well-done. Alternative Banking Group collaborated with 28 artists based in New York City to come up with the designs, which find folks like Alan Greenspan relegated to a Joker card. Each card also comes with a brief explanation of what the person or company depicted did to deserve such a tribute. (Greenspan’s reads “Argued that corporations, including banks, would act in their own best interest and could therefore be trusted.”)

Alternative Banking Group isn’t all doom and gloom, though. Apparently, its next venture will be creating a companion deck called 52 Shades of Progress. Until then, have a look at some entries of the original set in the slides above.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.