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Disassembly Required: A Field Guide to Actually Existing Capitalism
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Disassembly Required: A Field Guide to Actually Existing Capitalism

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  111 ratings  ·  22 reviews
"The book’s argument does not rely on ideologies, scapegoats, or heroes. more than anything, Disassembly Required is about a kind of common sense that’s become hard to escape—a common sense of privatization, austerity, and financialization that has invaded virtually every aspect of our lives and communities. 2008 gave many of us a remarkable window toward something differe ...more
Paperback, 259 pages
Published April 23rd 2013 by AK Press (first published March 19th 2013)
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Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“Privatize the gains, socialize the losses.” Mantra of the neoliberal era.

First off, excellent excellent book. It does an impeccable job in explaining contemporary financialized and globalized capitalism - the analysis is measured, lucid, incisive, smart, exhibits strong fundamentals and understanding of systems and their historical evolutions. I learned a lot, Mann is very adept in his presentation and makes complex issues accessible and understandable (explanation of subprime implosion is top
Jun 17, 2017 rated it liked it
OK but not as well written as other books covering similar ground.
The Worldly Philosophers by Robert L. Heilbroner
23 Things They Don't Tell You about Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang
Reckless Endangerment How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon by Gretchen Morgenson
Affluenza The All-Consuming Epidemic by John De Graaf
Wendy Liu
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is absolutely stellar and I wish everyone would read it. I'm not going to write any more about it because the other reviews are quite thorough. I'll just leave this quote, from the last chapter:

At my most generous, I might grant that capitalism, relative to what came before, is among the better ways developed thus far, but [...] why would we accept something because it is the best "so far"? Imagine if we had stopped at leeching or slavery because they were the best methods for medicine
Nov 16, 2016 rated it liked it
As a non-economist, I found this a very readable description of capitalism. Mann went over the historical routes and philosophical underpinnings, as well as the current world economic system. I would definitely recommend it for that. I guess the only reason I didn't give it four stars is because I was let down by the end of the book. I kept anticipating some ideas about how we are going to disassemble the current system and there isn't anything of substance there. ...more
Matt Fahrner
Sep 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Whether you agree with his politics or not, an extremely lucid critique of the modern economic policy and beliefs. No one goes unscathed in this largely contrarian view of modern capitalism and regardless of your viewpoint it is food for thought. At a minimum readers will get a much better understanding how the current system works and what its issues are.

Highly recommended. This book deserves significantly more attention than it so far has garnered.
Sina Mousavi
Mar 16, 2020 rated it liked it
So, this book is pretty alright. It starts with a primer on different accounts of capitalist political economy (Classical, Marxian, Neoclassical and Keynesian) and then examines the role of state power and the process of money creation in shaping market outcomes. The first section of the book, which mostly focuses on the abstract, ends here.

I found the second much more engaging, as it provides an overview of the economic history of the post-WWII era, up until the 2008 Global Financial Crisis — l
Lenora Tor
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
*chefs kiss* howa to learna bouta capitalismo efficiently but a precisely
Apr 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Well organized, Disassembly Required puts capitalism in the perspective of how it fits into the current world. It briefly discusses the alternate economies that have been most proposed, like Adam Smith's belief that since nothing should hinder the interacting factors that stimulate commerce, Marx's interpretation of all profit coming from over-work, and Keynes' take that the state has to empower the worker to help them keep the capitalist system going. In addition, Geoff Mann also argues that th ...more
Aug 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Geoff delivers an excellent introduction to the world of global finance and its discontents with Disassembly Required. For those of you who read the Shock Doctrine and were left feeling angry and bewildered at the pernicious and subtle influence of capitalism and its brash infiltration into every sector of life, Geoff does a lot to explain the appeal of this system beyond the obvious explanation of ravenous greed. I would recommend this to any activist or compassionate thinker hoping to accurate ...more
Dana Larose
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I think this was perhaps the best explanation of how money works and its function in capitalism that I've read. As well, we get an overview of the economic history of the 20th century and subprime crisis in 2008 (I feel like maybe I kind of finally understand what happened in it). All throughout, Mann's prose is lucid and readable, and not at all dry.

Mann approaches the subject matter as an anti-capitalist and the book's intent to discuss some of the inherent flaws in capitalism as a system. The
Adam Fisher
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Starts out excellent - excellently insightful analyses of current developments in capitalism. However, it falls short on delivering its central thesis (that you will be given a full field guide or manual) and fails to really deliver any evident "way forward" (what to do next) even though this seems to be what it thinks it does, by the end.

Excellent insight and worth a read, but not as effectively insightful as one could hope.
John Barham
Jul 17, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: poli-sigh
Maybe I'm not the intended audience for this book. I'm as socialist as they come, but for fucks sake this is just academic blathering. One belabored point after another with little actual substance.
Socialist ideas need to be accessible beyond people with philosophy and economics degrees, otherwise I'm not sure what useful purpose this book serves.
Jun 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: junk
A governmental bureaucrat gives his support to his powerful employer: like Mann, Capitalism and everybody else should become a small obedient cog in the state machine.
Jan 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Useful though overly centered on capitalism in ‘first world’ without proper accounting for peripheries/colonization.
Ronak M Soni
Feb 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
A really nice introduction to the Marxian approach to political economy. Perfect for people who don't know anything about economics, not even what a bond is. ...more

Review by Aaron Leonard

Who are you hoping to reach with this book?

Disassembly Required is ultimately aimed at anyone who wants to understand how modern capitalism actually works, and in particular at those who suspect it is not the best we can do. I wrote it with two particular groups of people in mind.

The first is senior high school students and undergraduate students (or non-students of that age), who feel like all things to do with finance or economics
Apr 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a very interesting take on the state of Capitalism world-wide. While there were points that went over my head due to lack of background knowledge in political economics, Mann did his best to keep it simple enough for the common reader to understand. Moving on from Capitalism is inevitable as he suggests, but it will be a difficult task at hand. I highly suggest this for anyone who questions the economic status and system alive today.
Justin Brenden
Jan 04, 2015 rated it liked it
You probably need a degree in economics or finance to appreciate this book. However, it is an interesting deconstruction of capitalism and suggests a number of inherent issues as well as alternatives.
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
deep and a bit difficult, though the difficulty is due to the subject matter, not the writing, which is pretty darn clear.
Kate Klein
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
So useful!
Dec 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
a good book but a less than satisfying ending direction.
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Sarah Modak
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Dec 31, 2020
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Jan 17, 2017
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Dec 31, 2020
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