Hello,

Every so often a ZNet writer does a new book and we do a brief interview
- always the same questions - and send out the information to ZNet
Update recipients. This time the author is Robin Hahnel. The book is
from Routledge and is now available. It is called "Economic Justice and
Democracy: From Competition to Cooperation." The Routledge book link
is...

http://www.routledge-ny.com/shopping_cart/products/product_detail.asp?cu
rTab=DESCRIPTION&id=&parent_id=&sku=&isbn=0415933455&pc=

There is also an Amazon link, and one to Powells Bookshop, an
independent bookstore in NYC, both below. As best I can tell, you may
get the book soonest and easiest directly from Routledge. Another
excellent option, of course, is to frequent your own favorite
independent or left bookstore.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0415933455/qid=1111602134/
sr=8-5/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i5_xgl14/104-0131878-1146324?v=glance&s=books&n=50
7846

http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/biblio?inkey=1-0415933455-0


If you have trouble with any of the above links, given that they are so
long, you can just go to the Routledge site and search from there. 



And now, first, here are five quotes about Hahnel's new book to spark
your interest:


     Carefully reasoned and solidly grounded in historical 
     experience and theoretical understanding, Hahnel's inquiry 
     proceeds from exploration of fundamental conditions 
     of justice and rights to the design of forms of
     social organization ("participatory economics") that 
     could satisfy them. Along the way, he provides sympathetic 
     and constructive critique of major efforts to formulate 
     similar goals and advance towards them through
     the past century, investigating where they succeeded 
     and how and why they foundered, 
     and how these failures should be addressed 
     and overcome. He also considers and counters objections 
     to the paths he outlines and the goals they seek to attain. 
     It is a highly stimulating, thoughtful, and very valuable 
     contribution, addressing issues of the greatest human 
     significance with much insight, and compelling analysis 
     and argument.

                                -- Noam Chomsky


     Robin Hahnel breaks new ground here in articulating 
     his vision of a participatory economy and-equally 
     important-in showing how progress may be made toward 
     this long-run goal within the interstices of the current 
     capitalist system. Economic Justice and Democracy is 
     essential reading for anyone concerned about overcoming 
     the ravages of contemporary world capitalism and building 
     a better society.
 
                                  --Thomas E. Weisskopf, 
                                  Professor of Economics, 
                                  University of Michigan.


     Can cooperation and democracy supplant greed and 
     competition as the organizing principles of our economic 
     lives? Robin Hahnel wrestles relentlessly and insightfully 
     with this profound question throughout this wide-ranging 
     study. Economic Justice and Democracy provides one 
     serious roadmap toward a more just and egalitarian 
     society; and as such, makes an important contribution 
     toward the revival of the socialist tradition."

                                  -- Robert Pollin, 
                                  Professor of Economics and
Co-Director, 
                                  Political Economy Research Institute
(PERI), 
                                  University of Massachusetts-Amherst


     Robin Hahnel's path-breaking book reconceptualizes 
     our understanding of economic justice and economic 
     democracy. This immensely readable and inspiring work 
     should be on the bookshelf of every academic, activist and 
     citizen who is seriously interested in creating a just and 
     democratic world economy in the 21st century." 

                                   --Ilene Grabel, 
                                   Associate Professor of International
Finance, 
                                   Graduate School of International
Studies, 
                                   University of Denver


     Robin Hahnel's book is an excellent overview of the 
     principles of economic justice, and the practical and 
     theoretical flaws of both capitalism and the various 
     attempts to reform or eliminate it. But it's far more than 
     critique; it's also a blueprint for a better society, and offers 
     plenty of ideas on how to get there. Even if you're not fully 
     convinced, it will make you think. And how many books do that?"

                                    -- Doug Henwood, 
                                    Editor, Left Business Observer


\
Second, here is the interview with Robin about his book...


ZNet: Can you tell ZNet, please, what your book, Economic Justice and
Democracy: From Competition to Cooperation (Routledge 2005) is about?
What is it trying to communicate?

Hahnel: Economic Justice and Democracy argues that progressives need to
go back to the drawing board and rethink how we conceive of economic
justice and economic democracy and how we fight for both. In Part 1 the
case for defining economic justice as reward commensurate with effort,
or sacrifice, and economic democracy as decision making power in
proportion to degree affected is strengthened. Competing
conceptualizations of economic justice are carefully examined, including
those of Robert Nozick and John Rawls, and competing notions of economic
democracy are examined, including those of Amartya Sen. The last chapter
in Part 1 discusses a number of myths that plagued the left during the
twentieth century that we need to move beyond.

Part 2  spells out a systematic critique of both capitalism and
centrally planned socialism that should be useful for all
anti-capitalists who preach beyond our own, small choir. Part 2 also
evaluates the strengths and weakness of social democracy and libertarian
socialism, explaining why anti-capitalists of all stripes, including
those committed to democratic socialism, failed to sustain the cause of
equitable cooperation and permitted the economics of competition and
greed to dominate the last quarter of the twentieth century.

After exploring the strengths and weakness of market socialism and
community based economics, Part 3 further develops the model of a
participatory economy by explaining concrete ways a participatory
economy can protect the environment, and how a participatory economy can
take part in international trade and investment without undermining its
own principles. It concludes with a careful evaluation of the major
criticisms and doubts critics have expressed about participatory
economics over the past dozen years.

Part 4 explores how to promote the economics of equitable cooperation in
the here and now through economic reform campaigns and movements that
already exist, and through alternative experiments that promote
cooperative over commercial values. Ways to broaden the base of existing
economic reform movements while deepening their commitment to more far
reaching change are emphasized. The entire book is written for
progressives and activists without any training in economics, but
activists should be particularly interested in Part 4 -- the longest
part of the book -- which offers many practical suggestions about how to
make activist organizing more effective.

 
ZNet: Can you tell Znet something about writing the book? Where does the
content come from? What went into making the book what it is?

Hahnel: This book is the product of working for progressive social
change as an economist and activist for almost 40 years. It is the
culmination of decades of work developing a thorough understanding and
critique of capitalism and its major competitors -- centrally planned
and market socialism. It is the culmination of decades of work, along
with Michael Albert, developing the model of a participatory economy.
But mostly this book responds to important criticism that have been
voiced  about participatory economics, and suggests answers to important
issues not adequately addressed before. It offers more thorough
justifications for our definitions of economic justice and democracy.
It breaks new ground with concrete proposals about how to protect the
environment in a participatory economy, and how a participatory economy
can engage in international economic activities. And it provides more
complete responses to a host of concerns expressed by people who share
our values. But most importantly this book attempts to answer two
questions proponents of participatory economics have not seriously
addressed: (1) If democratic socialism was the right answer to
capitalism in the twentieth century, where did social democrats and
libertarian socialists go wrong? Why were democratic socialists of all
stripes more confused and powerless by the end of the century than
earlier in the century? (2) How can we improve on the  practice of those
who fought for economic justice and democracy last century? In other
words, how can we accomplish in the century ahead what they failed to
accomplish in the century just ended -- finally replace the economics of
competition and greed with the economics of equitable cooperation?

 
ZNet: What are your hopes for Economic Justice and Democracy? What do
you hope it will contribute or achieve politically?

Hahnel: I hope the book will contribute to a serious rethinking about
how we go about combating the economics of competition and greed and
fighting for the economics of equitable cooperation. I hope it will help
the new generation of activists avoid the mistakes of those who went
before them, while appreciating what they did get right, and what they
did accomplish. While I do believe we need to go back to the drawing
board, it would be tragic to jettison babies with bath water, or spend
valuable time reinventing old wheels. I also hope the book will
contribute to a more constructive dialogue between twenty-first century
social democrats and libertarian socialists -- particularly those who
don't yet recognize that their political analysis and practice falls
into a tradition with a long history of successes and failures. I hope
the book will help people to work more constructively in a number of
different economic reform campaigns and movements, and also help people
building experiments in equitable cooperation to be more successful.
Finally, I hope the book will provide leftists with new ideas about how
to organize ourselves that will prove more productive than working in
small political sects and help us better sustain more enjoyable lives of
activism.



And third, here is the Introduction of Hahnel's book...


INTRODUCTION

Overview

At the dawn of the twentieth century most critics of capitalism believed
it would be capitalism's last. If they agreed on little else, socialists
of all stripes expected democracy and economic justice to advance in
tandem, replacing a wasteful system based on competition and greed with
a more efficient, equitable economy in which workers and consumers
planned how to cooperate through democratic procedures. But the more
successful heirs to nineteenth century socialism -- twentieth century
communism and social democracy -- both failed to advance the cause of
economic justice and democracy, and libertarian socialism all but
disappeared a third of the way through the century. So instead of
hearing its last hurrah, capitalism beat back all challengers in the
twentieth century, leaving us with an economy at the beginning of the
twenty-first century that is far more technologically advanced, but no
more equitable or democratic, and far more environmentally destructive
than it was a hundred years ago.

Communist parties sacrificed economic democracy along with political
democracy in the name of an economic justice they never delivered.
Social democratic parties avoided the totalitarian errors of communism
only to water down their commitment to economic justice and worker
self-management, and become handmaidens to capitalism. In the end,
neither delivered on their promises of economic justice or economic
democracy, and both became unwitting accomplices to environmental
destruction. As a result, communism had both feet, and social democracy
had one foot in the dust bin of history as the door closed on the
century each presumed would bear its name.

Criticism of both communism and social democracy from the left was by no
means absent during the twentieth century. But no political movement
suffered greater decline during the last century than libertarian
socialism which all but disappeared after 1939. No matter how prescient
their criticisms of communist and social democratic rivals, libertarian
socialists suffered defeat after defeat and became increasingly
marginalized and irrelevant. The rise of the new left in the late 1960s
and the appearance of "new social movements" in the 1970s and 1980s
resurrected some old libertarian socialist themes, but not a new
libertarian socialist movement. The collapse of communism and decline of
social democracy at century's end has stimulated renewed interest in
libertarian socialism, but has not led to a full blown revival of the
movement.

Conservatives interpret the demise of communism, social democracy, and
libertarian socialism as evidence that critics of capitalism under
estimate its virtues and have no better alternative. Conservatives argue
that critics misunderstand economic justice and economic democracy, and
therefore fail to appreciate how capitalism delivers both while
promoting economic efficiency. Conservatives cite the demise of
communist and social democratic economies as proof that egalitarian
notions of economic justice are incompatible with economic freedom and
efficiency. They argue that redistributive demands by the less fortunate
violate the economic freedoms of others and kill the geese who lay the
golden eggs. Finally, conservatives argue that twentieth century
economic history proves that egalitarian outcomes can only be imposed by
totalitarian means, explaining why, in their view, libertarian socialism
can never get anywhere.

Economic Justice and Democracy: From Competition to Cooperation provides
a different explanation for why things turned out as they have, and
offers new ideas about what must be done differently in the century
ahead to achieve better results. This book argues that capitalism
triumphed in the twentieth century despite the fact that it is grossly
unfair, undermines economic democracy, is terribly inefficient, and is
destined to destroy the natural environment. This book argues argues
that communism and social democracy failed because they failed to
deliver economic justice and democracy, not because economic justice and
democracy are utopian dreams in conflict with one another and with
economic efficiency. This book argues that libertarian socialists fell
into eclipse because they clung to debilitating myths, never learned how
to work effectively in campaigns to reform capitalism, and failed to
provide a compelling explanation of how workers can manage themselves
and coordinate their division of labor without resort to either markets
or central planning, not because human beings are incapable of equitable
cooperation. Obviously this interpretation of twentieth century economic
history is at odds with better known theories. It is certainly at odds
with pro-capitalist "victor's history." That is why there are many
chapters to follow, and why there will have to be more books by many
others to make the case complete. But before describing the central
concern of the book -- clarifying what equitable cooperation means, and
developing an effective program for achieving it -- two disclaimers are
in order:
 
(1) While most of Economic Justice and Democracy focuses on how to
better promote the economics of equitable cooperation, some chapters
explore why critics failed to overcome the economics of competition and
greed in the twentieth century. However, it is the future not the past
that primarily interests me. I am no historian. In my professional life
I am an economist who specializes in analyzing the predictable effects
of different economic institutions and systems. In my political life I
am an activist who fights the pernicious effects of competition and
greed and promotes the economics of equitable cooperation at every
opportunity. I trespass on the turf of professional historians with a
great deal of trepidation, and only because my economic analysis led me
to a conclusion that begged for an historical explanation: Why were
palpably inferior economic systems like capitalism and communism so much
more successful in the twentieth century than clearly superior systems
of democratic socialism? My excuse for trespassing is I could find no
answer in the historical literature that satisfied me. 

(2) Victories can be due to intrinsic strengths, good implementation, or
fortuitous external circumstances. Similarly, defeats can be due to
intrinsic weaknesses, poor implementation, or inhospitable
circumstances. Therefore, proponents of any alternative capitalism
defeated in the twentieth century -- communism, social democracy, or
libertarian socialism -- can always blame defeat on poor implementation
or unfavorable external factors rather than on intrinsic weaknesses in
their program. While I recognize that all three reasons for defeat
deserve serious consideration when trying to explain history, I do not
afford them equal attention because I am primarily concerned with the
future. I focus foremost on intrinsic strengths and weaknesses of
communism, social democracy, and libertarian socialism because these are
most important to future opponents of capitalism. In the case of
communism, I ignore not only negative external factors but also
misguided practice -- both of which contributed to the historical defeat
of communism -- because I find the intrinsic weaknesses of command
planning sufficient to prevent it from ever again playing a central role
on history's stage.  

In the case of social democracy and libertarian socialism, I pay little
attention to the role played by inhospitable external factors, not
because they were unimportant, but because there was little twentieth
century activists could do about them, and because many limiting
external factors will be different in the century ahead. On the other
hand, the role played by poor leadership and practice in the decline of
social democracy and libertarian socialism during the twentieth century
is of great interest to me. I believe social democracy will continue to
play an important role well into the twenty-first century, and I believe
libertarian socialist ideas will play an increasingly important role in
the century ahead. Therefore, beside intrinsic weaknesses, I focus on
poor implementation on the part of social democrats and libertarian
socialists last century because I foresee a lengthy period during which
the two will coexist and collaborate closely in the century ahead.


The Main Argument

The central argument of this book is that progressives need to go back
to the drawing board and rethink how we conceive of economic justice and
economic democracy. Until we face this intellectual challenge squarely
it will continue to sabotage our best efforts to combat the economics of
competition and greed. Conservative conceptions of economic justice and
democracy are criticized because otherwise it is difficult to dispel
popular myths about capitalism. But more importantly, this book argues
that liberal notions of economic justice and democracy are flawed, and
that continued confusion among liberal and radical reformers about
economic justice and democracy will continue to undermine attempts to
promote equitable cooperation. After carefully examining competing
notions, this book concludes that economic justice should be defined as
reward commensurate with sacrifice, and economic democracy should be
defined as decision making power in proportion to degree affected.

After demonstrating why capitalism, central planning, and market
socialism are all incapable of providing economic justice and democracy,
a coherent set of economic institutions and procedures that can deliver
economic justice and democracy while protecting the environment and
promoting efficiency is spelled out. This "participatory economy"
distinguishes between user rights and income rights to overcome defects
in traditional conceptions of private and public ownership of productive
assets. It forswears labor markets in order to compensate people fairly
for their work, while still providing strong material incentives. And
participatory planning avoids the pitfalls of central planning and
markets by allocating goods and resources efficiently through a
procedure that gives workers and consumers decision making power in
proportion to the degree they are affected by different economic
choices.

However a participatory economy is only a guiding vision. After
carefully examining legitimate concerns critics have raised about
participatory economics as a long-run goal, the final part of the book
explores how to promote the economics of equitable cooperation in the
here and now through economic reform campaigns and movements that
already exist, and through alternative experiments that grow in the
cracks where capitalism fails to meet human needs and aspirations. There
are suggestions about how to work in numerous pragmatic reform campaigns
while remaining true to full economic justice and democracy. There are
suggestions about how to broaden the base of existing economic reform
movements while deepening their commitment to more far reaching change.
And finally, ideas for how to learn from and expand living experiments
in equitable cooperation and better integrate reform work with
pre-figurative experiments are discussed.


Contents

Part I: Economic Justice and Democracy

Chapter Two: Economic Justice: This chapter compares competing notions
of economic justice both inside and outside progressive circles. It is
pointed out that conservative and liberal conceptions of economic
justice share a common basis -- they are both "contribution-based"
theories that justify how much people should receive on the basis of how
much they contribute. In the conservative view, people should consume
according to the contribution of their labor and their productive
assets. In the liberal view consumption should depend only on personal
contribution, and property income is seen as the source of inequities.
It is argued that both views are incompatible with progressive values
since contribution is determined by a host of factors over which
individuals have little or no control. Consequently, any
contribution-based theory of economic justice will prove contradictory
and unsatisfactory, ultimately misleading movements seeking to make
economic cooperation equitable.

Instead, after considering crucial issues raised by the conservative
libertarian philosopher, Robert Nozick, and the famous liberal
philosopher, John Rawls, a radical "sacrifice-based" theory of economic
justice is defended: to each according to his or her effort, interpreted
as any sacrifice an individual incurs in carrying out his or her
economic duties.

Chapter Three: Economic Democracy: Formal democracy does not guarantee
real democracy. Just as universal suffrage does not guarantee that
everyone has an equal opportunity to influence political decisions,
being "free" to become an employer if one doesn't like being someone
else's employee, or "free" to apply for a job elsewhere if one doesn't
like the one s/he has, does not guarantee meaningful economic democracy.
But neither does giving everyone one vote concerning an economic choice
when some people are more affected than others by a decision. Economic
democracy is more complicated than either economic freedom or majority
rule. Moreover, appeals to property rights do not solve, but merely
postpone answering the difficult issues regarding economic democracy.

This chapter argues for conceptualizing the idea that people should
control their economic destinies as "economic self-management," defined
as decision making input in proportion to the degree one is affected by
the outcome. According to this criterion, if an economic decision
affects some people more than others, those with more at stake should
have greater say than those with less at stake. This criterion provides
a way to resolve conflicts between different economic freedoms and the
economic freedoms of different people when they inevitably arise, at
least theoretically, without resort to arbitrary rules. While it does
not resolve debates over how much different people are affected, it does
provide a coherent basis for adjudication.

Chapter Four: Debilitating Myths: Many twentieth century progressives
sustained themselves with false beliefs that capitalism's dynamism and
technological creativity would prove to be its weakness as well as its
strength. Grandiose Marxist crisis theories buoyed the hopes of the
faithful in the face of set backs for progressive organizations and
causes, and even less ideological reformers were influenced by the myth
that capitalism organized its own replacement. Chapter four argues that
what is true instead is that free market capitalism cannot keep itself
from devouring the environment, and will not provide even minimal
economic security for most of the third world and a growing underclass
in the advanced economies. And even when capitalism is thoroughly
reformed it cannot give people control over their economic lives or
reward people fairly for the sacrifices they make. It is argued that,
unfortunately, capitalism does not nurture the seeds of its own
replacement in the way many of its twentieth century critics hoped it
would. Instead, capitalism fosters commercial values and behaviors,
rationalizes exploitation, and teaches myths about its own desirability
and inevitability -- all of which must be successfully challenged if we
are to achieve equitable cooperation. The chapter also argues that much
of the twentieth century left was plagued by a false belief that
economic dynamics and classes were always the dominant forces governing
social stability and change. Unfortunately, their mistaken "economism"
prevented them from recognizing the nature and power of nationalism,
racism, and sexism, and also led to misguided approaches to building
coalitions of different progressive social movements.


Part II: Rethinking Our Past

Chapter Five: Neither Capitalism nor Communism: Starting from a clear
understanding about what economic justice and economic democracy mean,
this chapter highlights the intrinsic flaws in the major economic
institutions that dominated the twentieth century: private enterprise,
markets, and hierarchical management in capitalist economies, and
public ownership, central planning, and hierarchical management in
communist economies.

The chapter argues that private ownership under more competitive
conditions did stimulate the economic creativity of many of the
fortunate, lucky, and able during the twentieth century, but it always
failed to tap the creative potentials of the majority and led to
inefficient conflicts between employers and employees. The chapter
explains why public ownership reduced inequities but did nothing to
solve the problem of democratic management and created a new problem:
how to monitor the performance of managers appointed by the state. The
chapter concludes that under central planning neither planners,
managers, nor workers had incentives to promote the social economic
interest. Nor did appending markets for final goods to the planning
system enfranchise consumers in meaningful ways, as both workers and
consumers were systematically deprived of self-management opportunities
in centrally planned economies. On the other hand, the chapter explains
how capitalist markets were guided by an "invisible foot" as well as an
"invisible hand" rewarding those who externalized costs and rode for
free, not only those who built better mouse traps and reduced production
costs.

Chapter Six: Social Democracy: Losing the Faith: Social democrats
attempted to respond to the failures of capitalism without succumbing to
the errors of communism. Particularly during the middle of the century
social democrats enjoyed much success winning reforms that significantly
reduced the inequities and inefficiencies of free market capitalism. 

However, while diluting the meaning of economic justice and economic
democracy allowed social democracy to expand its electoral appeal into
the middle class, it eventually cost them support among the most
exploited. Social democrats' explicit acceptance of a system driven by
greed and competition after World War II, combined with decades of
backsliding on economic justice and democracy, also undermined their
moral authority. Without moral authority or a solid base of political
support, social democratic efforts to build a movement for equitable
cooperation stalled, and when resurgent capitalism launched an all-out
offensive at the end of the century they found themselves unable to
defend gains they had worked decades to win The chapter examines the
strengths as well as the weaknesses of social democracy through the
writings of two farsighted social democrats, Michael Harrington and
Magnus Ryner, focusing on the Mitterrand socialist government in France
during the early 1980s and the "Swedish model" of social democracy in
the 1990s.

Chapter Seven: Libertarian Socialism: What Went Wrong? While prominent
in the first few decades of the twentieth century, libertarian
socialists enjoyed little success in the last two thirds of the century
largely because they failed miserably at reform work in advanced
capitalist economies. A review of their considerable successes in Russia
prior to 1920 and in Spain during the 1930s reveals that libertarian
socialists were once able organizers who lost their ability to reach out
to large segments of the population after their defeat in Spain for
reasons that are important to understand, but have been widely
misinterpreted by latter day libertarian socialists. Libertarian
socialists also failed to provide a compelling case that a libertarian
socialist economy was a realistic possibility. Social democrats and
communists had easy answers to the important question: If not
capitalism, then what?  They could simply point to Sweden or to the
Soviet Union. Having no living example to point to, other than a few
short-lived experiments in wartime situations, the failure of
libertarian socialists to make their vision of equitable cooperation
more coherent and concrete inevitably increased popular skepticism that
libertarian socialists offered a workable alternative as the "capitalist
century" marched on.



Part III: What Do We Want?

Chapter Eight: Post-Capitalist Visions: In the aftermath of the collapse
of communism, those who propose alternatives to capitalism fall into
three camps: market socialism, community based economics, and democratic
planning. After explaining why economic vision is important, this
chapter offers a critical examination of different versions of market
socialism, explaining how they would improve significantly on
capitalism, but also how they fail to provide an institutional framework
capable of securing the economics of equitable cooperation. The
motivations of proponents of community based economics are praised, but
the chapter points out that no vision of community based economics has
been elaborated into a rigorous model, and all versions leave crucial
questions unanswered, including how economic relations between separate
economic communities that are not entirely self-sufficient would be
handled. The chapter concludes with a brief introduction to different
models of democratic planning as a prelude to discussions of
participatory economics in the two chapters that follow. 

Chapter Nine: Participatory Economics: This chapter describes a system
of democratic planning known as a participatory economy which can be
subjected to rigorous analysis because it has been formalized as a
coherent economic model. A participatory economy is a viable set of
economic institutions that promote economic justice and democracy
without sacrificing efficiency that is proposed as a long run goal for
those fighting to advance the economics of equitable cooperation. The
chapter describes how, in this libertarian version of democratic
planning, production can be organized through worker councils, jobs can
be balanced for empowerment and desirability, consumption can be based
on sacrifices made at work and organized through consumer councils and
federations, and self-managed worker and consumer councils can
coordinate their activities through a participatory planning procedure
in which they propose and revise their own activities in a way that
generates equity and efficiency simultaneously. The model of a
participatory economy is elaborated in sufficient detail so readers can
see concretely why its proponents believe it promotes economic justice
and democracy without sacrificing efficiency, but also so skeptics have
something specific to criticize rather than  only a rhetorical
marshmallow to punch at.

This chapter also covers two subjects that were not broached in earlier
presentations of participatory economics. It explains how pollution and
environmental protection would be handled in both the annual and
long-run participatory planning procedures, and why other features of a
participatory economy would dampen excessive consumerism and avoid
unproductive growth. The chapter also explains how a participatory
economy could trade with, borrow from, or lend to other economies in
ways that benefit the participatory economy but do not undermine its
core principles -- no matter whether international economic partners are
poorer or richer, or what kind of economic system they may have.
Chapter Ten: Legitimate Concerns: While participatory economics is
virtually unknown in mainstream circles, it has received considerable
attention over the past twelve years from progressive economists and
anti-capitalist activists both inside and outside the United States, and
therefore has been subjected to intense scrutiny and criticism.
Moreover, many of the objections that have been raised to a
participatory economy are similar to objections raised to any kind of
worker self-management or democratic planning. This chapter considers
legitimate concerns that a participatory economy lacks sufficient
incentives for creative people to develop and deploy their talents,
tolerates laziness, would devolve into a "dictatorship of the sociable,"
requires too many meetings, would fail to develop new technologies and
products, or is incompatible with human nature.


Part IV: From Competition and Greed to Equitable Cooperation

Chapter Eleven: From Here to There: Taking Stock: Whereas Part III was
concerned with clarifying what a full system of equitable cooperation
might look like, Part IV tackles the issue of a transition program. A
participatory economy may be feasible and attractive, but it is only of
academic interest if there is no way to get there from where we are
today. A participatory economy is a long-term goal in most countries
today, not a program that can be successfully fought for in the near
future. So the crucial question is what can be done to promote the
economics of equitable cooperation in the here and now midst the ravages
of early twenty-first century Robber Baron capitalism? This chapter
takes a sober look at the formidable obstacles that confront us at the
beginning of the new century, and takes stock of where the forces of
resistance have already begun to form. 

Chapter Twelve: Economic Reform Campaigns: This chapter discusses how
activists can combat the adverse consequences of the economics of
competition and greed in ways that promote the economics of equitable
cooperation by working in a number of reform campaigns that are already
ongoing. The chapter discusses the importance of campaigns for various
Keynesian reforms, campaigns for welfare and tax reform, living wage
campaigns, campaigns to strengthen the public sector and curb market
forces, and local campaigns to replace gentrification and sprawl with
community development and smart growth. 
 
Chapter Thirteen: Economic Reform Movements: This chapter explains why
activists must help build powerful economic reform movements, and
explores ways to do so without succumbing to pressures to weaken our
commitment to economic justice and economic democracy or to abandon our
long-run goal of  replacing capitalism with a full system of equitable
cooperation. The chapter contains concrete suggestions about how to work
more effectively in the labor movement, the anti-corporate movement, the
environmental movement, the consumer movement, the poor people's
movement, and the anti-globalization movement.

Chapter Fourteen: Experiments in Equitable Cooperation: Besides building
more powerful reform movements and working on campaigns to win
meaningful reforms in ways that overcome weaknesses in the practice of
both social democrats and libertarian socialists in the past,
twenty-first century activists will have to create opportunities for
growing numbers of people to enter into equitable cooperation with one
another even while capitalism continues to survive for many decades into
the future. This is the only way to develop the new habits necessary for
people to transcend the culture of competition and greed that capitalism
breeds. This is the only way to test and adjust our ideas about how to
better organize our economic affairs. This is the only way to convince a
majority of the population that a better world is possible. And this is
the only way to prevent activist burn out and sell out over the long
march.
Living examples of equitable cooperation already exist in different
contexts and places. This chapter provides a critical review of
alternative currency systems, employee stock ownership plans, worker and
consumer owned cooperatives, intentional egalitarian, and sustainable
living communities, and small experiments in participatory economics in
the US and Canada. Important international experiments in equitable
cooperation like the Mondragon cooperatives in Spain, participatory
budgeting in Kerala India and Porto Alegre Brazil, and worker takeovers
and neighborhood assemblies in Argentina are also examined. Finally, the
chapter argues for the importance of elaborating new ways people working
for extended periods in reform movements can personally commit to
partial systems of equitable cooperation to counter the debilitating
effects of  capitalist culture.

Chapter Fifteen: Conclusion:  This final chapter highlights the major
challenges economic progressives must overcome in the decades ahead. It
reiterates why we must abandon futile attempts to harness fear and
greed, and instead work to replace the logic of competition and greed
with systems of equitable cooperation. It explains the importance of
remaining true to our principles of economic justice and democracy even
when we are forced to settle for compromise outcomes. It explains why we
must combine reform campaigns with prefigurative experiments, since
neither alone is sufficient to defeat capitalism. And finally, the
chapter explores how activists working to replace the economics of
competition and greed with the economics of equitable cooperation can
forge more productive relationships with other progressive movements
like the civil rights, anti-racist, women, gay, environmental, and peace
movements.



===================================This message has been brought to you by ZNet 
(http://www.zmag.org). Visit our site for subscription options.

Reply via email to