Hello, A year ago Verso books released Parecon: Life After Capitalism. Now the paperback is available as well.
The Parecon book page which includes comments, reviews, excerpts, and some interviews and debates, is at: http://www.zmag.org/ParEcon/pelac.htm Last May, after a few mailings like this, the cloth bound edition shot to number 13 on Amazon. Yes, 13. It was an incredible performance defying all expectations. Can the paperback do as well at the cloth did? How high can we move up from our starting position = 1,871,970th? And can we sustain momentum by sticking to our promotional mailings sufficiently long so that parecon gets serious public evaluation? I am asking you to please consider buying and reading Parecon: Life After Capitalism. Of course I think Parecon is a viable, worthy alternative to capitalism and that the distribution of this book can help debate and advocacy. But don't rely on my view. Instead, consider these comments from others: Noam Chomsky, linguist, dissident, and ZNet commentator says... "There is enormous dissatisfaction, worldwide, with prevailing socioeconomic conditions and the choices imposed by the reigning institutions. Calls for change range from patchwork reform to more far-reaching changes. ...Participatory economics outlines in substantial detail a program of radical reconstruction, presenting a vision that draws from a rich tradition of thought and practice of the libertarian left and popular movements, but adding novel critical analysis and specific ideas and modes of implementation for constructive alternatives. It merits close attention, debate, and action." And here is a quote from Chomsky from 1970 that helped motivate my unrelenting concern for vision. I hope that it will motivate you as well... "If the present wave of repression can be beaten back, if the left can overcome its more suicidal tendencies and build upon what has been accomplished in the past decade, then the problem of how to organize industrial society on truly democratic lines, with democratic control in the workplace and in the community, should become a dominant intellectual issue for those who are alive to the problems of contemporary society, and, as a mass movement develops, speculation should proceed to action." Arundhati Roy, writer, dissident says... "The structure of capitalism is flawed. The motor that powers it cannot but vastly increase the disparity between the poor and the rich globally and within countries as well. Parecon is a brave argument for replacing that flawed machine and offers a much needed -- more equitable, democratic, participatory -- alternative economic vision." Howard Zinn, Historian, dissident says... "I can't count the number of times when serious critics of our social system would say to me: 'Why can't we come up with a vision of what a good society would be like?' This is what Mike Albert boldly does in Parecon: Life After Capitalism, and the result is an imaginative, carefully reasoned description, persistently provocative, of how we might live free from economic injustice." Cynthia Peters, writer, activist, ZNet commentator, and member of SEIU Local 285 says... "As an organizer, writer, and union-based educator, there is a certain refrain I hear over and over again. That is, `Why bother struggling for social change? We can't really do any better than this.' Too often our reply is simply that `another world is possible.' But we don't say what might this world look like. How would we design institutions? How would we structure society? These are reasonable questions, and progressives lose credibility when we have no real answers. Participatory economy (parecon) offers a vision of how we might organize production, consumption, remuneration and distribution in ways that foster the values we believe in, such as justice and solidarity. Albert gives us what we need to imagine and debate what `another world' would look like. Albert's writing is clear, and his case for parecon has been fine-tuned by many years' experience writing and speaking. This is an important book, not just because it does economic vision so well and so credibly, but because it is a model for all the vision work that needs to be done. >From the Italian edition's dust jacket -- the first to appear internationally: "After the triumph of neoliberism worldwide, many believe that market laws are nothing more nor less than natural laws, and that their luggage of injustice and unequally is an inevitable ill. However, the failure of historical alternatives to capitalism does not rule out the possibility that the principles of equity, solidarity, self management, and diversity may replace free trade, whose failures are increasingly evident. Without limiting personal freedom, indeed encouraging it. And without compromising research, innovation, development. These are the aims of participatory economic planning `from below', giving to self-managed workers and consumers councils the responsibility of elaborating production and consumption choices in light of their social costs and benefits.... Participatory economics is an exercise in collective intelligence elaborated by people from different countries, to which everybody is invited to contribute. Through an accurate exposition and the rebuttal of the most serious criticism, through case studies and a detailed description of the strategies to translate the model into reality, it shows that bringing democracy to all aspects of economic life, from production to labor organization, from consumption to resource distribution, is not a utopia; indeed, it shows that another world is possible." Adele Oliveri, economist, political activist, ZNet commentator, and Italian translator of Parecon says... "If we are to convince people to join the growing worldwide struggle for global justice, we must be able to offer them a glimpse into what our desired future society might look like. Parecon takes economic vision out of the realm of academic journals and throws it right in the middle of the activism arena, showing us how we can build from the bottom up a set of consumption, production, and allocation institutions that foster equity, diversity, solidarity, participation, and self-management. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and definitely recommend it to anyone who is serious about winning the hearts and minds of the undecided to the cause of our common effort to build a more humane world." Andrej Grubacic, historian, political activist, ZNet commentator, and Serbo-Croat translator of Parecon says... "Transition from capitalism to a more desirable economy, especially in Eastern Europe, will come to pass only after more sweat and tears have flowed in more campaigns on more fronts than we can yet imagine. Parecon, as a model which acknowledges all the merits and all the debits of a Soviet system, Eastern European experience, and Yugoslav experiment, is, in my opinion, extremely important for its attempt to formulate a coherent anti-authoritarian, left libertarian, economic vision. Parecon seems to me to be an anarchist economic vision which adds detail and depth via its attention to the specific positive economic institutions not previously clearly advocated by anarchists - perhaps most notably balanced job complexes and participatory planning." Ezequiel Adamovsky, Argentine Activist, ZNet commentator, and author says... "I believe the Argentinean social movements that are trying to build alternatives to capitalist irrationality --such as the barter markets, piquetero productive projects, workers self-managed factories, independent distribution centers, etc.-- will surely find inspiration in Michael Albert's book. Will the future be exactly as he envisions it? That's not the question. What matters is that Parecon helps us imagine how we can organize society after we get rid of capitalism. Parecon makes utopia look feasible." Robert McChesney, Co-editor, Monthly Review says... "There is no more important issue facing humanity than imagining and putting into place a post-capitalist economy, based upon democratic principles and humane values. It has been all but obliterated in recent times due to the dreadful nature of the Soviet communist experience, and, far more important, the hatred of our ruling elite for any notion that there can be an alternative to the status quo. It is to Michael Albert's everlasting credit that he has worked tirelessly to grapple with the very difficult questions of what a truly democratic economy might look like, and how it might work. I strongly recommend Parecon: Life After Capitalism as a mandatory entry point for such a discussion, the importance of which becomes more apparent every day. It is a discussion that cannot be postponed any longer. Albert's thoughtful contribution deserves everyone's attention." Stephen Shalom, political scientist, writer, ZNet commentator, and editor of Socialist Visions says... "Left proposals for change have so often been either minor tinkerings with current horrors or the vaguest of imaginings that dissolve on close examination. Participatory economics -- Parecon -- has avoided both these dangers: it is a hard-headed, carefully thought-out proposal for far-reaching and fundamental change. In this volume, Michael Albert elaborates the model and provides compelling responses to criticisms. Anyone who knows we need a new world ought to give this book serious attention." Carl Boggs, political scientist, writer, and author of Social Movements and Political Power says... "In Parecon, Michael Albert has built extensively and creatively upon his earlier work on participatory economics and democratic politics understood in the most radical, transformative sense. What he provides is nothing less than an urgent agenda for the twenty-first century, one that would move us toward the kind of empowerment, citizenship, and engagement needed to reverse the present slide toward barbarism. The model Albert proposes and so convincingly articulates goes well beyond failed systems of the past - market capitalism, the command economy, social democracy - while also pointing toward a much needed alternative to the present-day ravages of capitalist globalization. More than a discourse on economics, the book offers a broad vision of radical transformation grounded in the very best elements of previous emancipatory theories and movements. It will be essential reading for anyone interested in fundamental social change." Paul Street, Director of Research and Vice President for Research and Planning at the Chicago Urban League says... "Those who dissent from the status quo are continually faced with a significant question that is often asked with hostile intent: 'So what's your solution?' Contrary to some left opinion, the question is not inherently a method of suppressing or ridiculing dissent and the struggle to answer it is not an inherently dogmatic or reformist. The failure to provide or even attempt solid answers is arguably a great moral and intellectual failure of the left, especially in a time when existing political-economic arrangements so clearly threaten human survival. I know of no one who has worked more effectively to answer the question in at once flexible, democratic, and radical fashion than Mike Albert in his Parecon: Life After Capitalism. It is must reading for those who sense the left's urgent need to supplement criticism with an inspiring and practical vision of how the world might be put on solid, democratic, and sustainable ground." Can all these commentators be wrong? Maybe, but surely their comments at least provide good reason to judge the book for yourself. I hope that you will do so. I am relying on you to do so. Here are the relevant links to access further information or to purchase the paperback edition... The Parecon book page which includes comments, reviews, excerpts, and some interviews and debates, is at: http://www.zmag.org/ParEcon/pelac.htm The Amazon Link for purchasing is at: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/184467505X/qid=1083004284/ sr=12-1/102-8081306-6393769?v=glance&s=books I know, of course the above mega-link is absurd. But you can also just go to Amazon.com and search parecon, and then click for the paperback edition. The AK Press Link for purchasing is at: http://www.akpress.org/ Then you search parecon. The Verso link for purchasing is at: http://www.versobooks.com/books/ab/a-titles/albert_m_parecon.shtml A guide to local independent bookstores is at: http://www.newpages.com/NPGuides/bookstores.htm Thank you Michael Albert ===================================This message has been brought to you by ZNet (http://www.zmag.org). Visit our site for subscription options.