Capitalism is a complex, dynamic, and extraordinarily robust way of organizing human life; it is also a system that achieves prosperity for the few, impoverishes the many, and depletes the commons for all. We know that capitalism is a broken system, in desperate need of change. But, to imagine a different system, we first need to understand how capitalism actually exists today —and be able to explain to others how it works, and why change is needed.
Disassembly Required is an attempt to meet these challenges. It offers an anti-capitalist analysis of capitalism, and, even more important, it explains why it is anti-capitalist. It does not stop at claiming that the present way of organizing the “economic” aspects of our lives is politically indefensible and ecologically unsustainable, but digs into the details of capitalist institutions and the economics that justify them. From money and markets to the subprime crisis, it explains the fundamental features of contemporary capitalism and how they contribute, sometimes in surprising ways, to overall capitalist dynamics.
Geoff Mann lives with his partner and sons in Vancouver BC. He teaches political economy and economic geography at Simon Fraser University, where he directs the Centre for Global Political Economy. His book Our Daily Bread: Wages, Workers and the Political Economy of the American West (UNC, 2007) won the Paul Sweezy Prize from the American Sociological Association and the Michael S. Harrington Award from the American Political Science Association, and his writing on capitalism has appeared in New Left Review and Historical Materialism, among other journals. His current research concerns the politics of macroeconomic policy, and he is presently completing a book on the many lives of Keynesianism.
“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 different, Mann says, but we don’t need to wait for another market crash to find a way out of capitalism.”—Sam Ross-Brown, Utne“A brilliantly lucid book. Mann illuminates the basic principles of modern capitalism, their expressions in contemporary economies and states, and their devastating socio-ecological consequences for working people everywhere. This is a must-read if we are to envision ways of organizing our common planetary existence that are not based upon the illusory promises of market fundamentalism and the suicidal ideology of endless economic growth.”—Neil Brenner, New State Spaces
“Geoff Mann is a new breed of monkey-wrencher. He knows that contemporary capitalism has a perverse habit of dismantling itself and gives us a toolkit to build a new, more socially just edifice.”—Andy Merrifield, Magical Marxism
“Insightful and incisive, thoughtful and thorough, filled with new avenues for thinking about resistence. Pass this one by at your own peril.”—Matt Hern, Common Ground in a Liquid City
“An essential handbook for understanding ‘actually existing’ capitalism, and thus the world as it really is—rather than as it is theorized and justified by the dissembling high priests of mainstream academia, policy, and politics.”—Christian Parenti, Tropic of Chaos