Teardowns come in three flavours: demolition, disassembly and dissection.
In real estate, a teardown is a house purchased only to be ripped apart by hydraulic jaws. But for an auto mechanic, an engine teardown requires the patient and careful removal of each gasket, hose, pulley and bracket, followed by a thorough cleaning, replacement of old parts and finally an engine rebuild. And in the world of consumer electronics, a teardown is a surgical dismantling of components, simply to discover what’s inside. The intent of each teardown is unique: to destroy, to repair or to learn.
Inside this book, you’ll encounter a few proposals that require a political wrecking ball. But for the most part, this teardown is a meticulous surgical operation. In an article called “If You Love Your Gadgets, Tear Them Apart,” Wired magazine explored tech teardown culture and asked, “Why are geeks so fascinated by looking at the chips, wires, ribbons and glue—the hideous part of a gadget—when the gorgeous part is on the outside?” The answer? “It’s quite simple: By peering into these gadget’s ‘souls,’ you learn their secrets.” If we’re to overcome the massive failure of modern democracy, we need to look into the soul of the swamp. What are the elements of our democratic ecosystem, and how do they relate to each other? Which parts are salvageable and which are rotten to the core?