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BUILDING A PARTICIPATORY SOCIETY AND ECONOMY FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

BUILDING A PARTICIPATORY SOCIETY AND ECONOMY FOR THE 21ST CENTURY A MASTER CLASS IN PARTICIPATORY ECONOMICS WITH MICHAEL ALBERT “[Capitalism] is not a success. It is not intelligent, it is not beautiful, it is not just, it is not virtuous – and it doesn't deliver the goods. In short, we dislike it, and we are beginning to despise it. But when we wonder what to put in its place, we are extremely perplexed. (John Maynard Keynes) In the 1980s, the conservative British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher declared “there is no alternative” (her now infamous TINA doctrine). In reply to this, others challenging this dogma have asserted “Another World is Possible” but most of them have so far failed to present a coherent and convincing alternative. Participatory economics, then, can be understood as both a direct challenge to the TINA doctrine as well as an attempt to formulate a serious answer to the question of economic vision. Participatory economics entails social ownership of productive property, self-managed workplaces and neighbourhood councils. Inside workplaces decisions are made democratically and each worker has one vote, jobs are balanced so that no-one is left with only rote and disempowering work and payment is made according to one's effort or personal sacrifice. The key values or goals of a Participatory Economy are defined as: Self-Management – decision making say in proportion to the degree one is affected Justice – reward for effort or personal sacrifice Solidarity – concern for the well-being of others Diversity – the flourishing of a variety of lifestyles and outcomes Efficiency – meeting our goals without wasting our limited time and resources Sustainability – protecting and nurturing our natural environment The key institutions to achieve those goals are: Democratic Worker and Consumer Councils Jobs Balanced for empowerment and desirability Compensation based on effort and need A participatory planning procedure Michael Albert In 1965, Michael Albert was studying physics at MIT when he objected to the US military's funding of the university. This, along with the civil rights movement, led Albert to become politically active. He went on to become a member of Students for a Democratic Society and opposed the Vietnam War. Albert founded South End Press in 1977 along with Lydia Sargent, Juliet Schor, and others.In 1987, he also founded and Zeta Magazine with Sargent. The magazine focuses on libertarian and anarchist socialist thought and was renamed Z Magazine in 1989. In 1990–91, Albert and Robin Hahnel worked on outlining their ideas around 'participatory economics'. For background go to: https://zcomm.org/author/malbert http://www.participatoryeconomics.info http://www.iopsociety.org

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