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Parecon: Life After Capitalism Paperback – May 17, 2004
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“Parecon is a pragmatic and visionary programme that would certainly boost human freedom; we ought at least to try it out.”—Red Pepper
“an imaginative, carefully reasoned description, persistently provocative, of how we might live free from economic injustice.”—Howard Zinn
“It merits close attention, debate, and action.”—Noam Chomsky
“Albert is ideally suited to synthesizing all the strands running through the anti-capitalist movement.”—The Ecologist
“Parecon is a brave argument for ... a much needed ... more equitable, democratic, participatory ... alternative economic vision.”—Arrundhati Roy
“A historically informed and logical economic blueprint with the practicality of a hand-tool, and a vision guided by the desire to find nobility in work.”—Kirkus Reviews
“He is advocating a top to bottom economic revolution.”—Library Journal
“Capitalism not working for you? Michael Albert may be tilting at windmills, but readers are flocking to his book on a system to spread the wealth and work.”—Los Angeles Times
“an important contribution to the imaginative tools for everyone who wants to dismantle capitalism.”—International Socialism
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Top Customer Reviews
By contrast, Albert's style contradicts his avowed commitment to democracy and non hierarchical discourse. He writes like a member of the "coordinator" class he condemns.Read more ›
an alternative to captitalism, market socialism, and
Soviet-style central planning. The participatory economics
model was developed by Michael Albert in collaboration
with Robin Hahnel. I would recommend reading this book
with Hahnel's recent book, The ABCs of Political Economy,
which provides a more in-depth critique of mainstream
Instead of allocation by how much
power or bargaining clout you have -- which is how markets
really work (forget about mainstream propaganda
about markets as "efficiency machines"!) --
participatory economics is based on the idea of
self-management -- each is to have a say over economic
decisions in proportion to how much they are impacted.
Governance by corporations and the state is replaced
by democratic worker and neighborhood organizations.
The market is replaced by participatory planning -- the
creation of a comprehensive agenda for production by
the direct input of requests
for work and consumption outcomes by individuals and
groups, and a back and forth process of negotiation.
Intead of elite planners, as in Soviet-style central
planning, we all would craft the economic plan.
In the process of individuals and groups evaluating
possible outcomes, the planning system takes account
of consumer and worker preferences, thus giving measures
of social benefits and costs. As each production group
approximates to the average social cost/benefit, waste
is avoided.Read more ›
In a nutshell, this book offers an alternative economic vision that could fulfill human potentials and needs in participatory ways. Parecon's guiding values are equity, diversity, solidarity, and participatory self-management.
Clearly then, this book requires critical thinking on the part of the reader. Prepare to be challenged at first, as Albert analyzes the inherent weaknesses of both capitalist and the so-called "socialist" economies (e.g., former USSR), and how they both subvert human values to a considerable extent. In fact, he demonstrates conclusively how capitalism destroys equity, limits choices, wrecks solidarity, and smashes worker self-management. And because capitalism remunerates for bargaining power and has corporate divisions of labor, these ill-effects will be inevitable under capitalism, according to Albert. Therefore, Albert dismisses capitalism when thinking about a desirable economic vision.
Albert picks apart the so-called "socialist" economies in the same way. He shows the reader that such economies are clearly totalitarian, as they typically have state ownership and central planning; despite some marginal democratic forms on the periphery.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I should write a real review of this book, but I'm too lazy. Look, if you are a liberal, conservative, right-winger, or libertarian, you will hate this book. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Eric Patton
Several years after first reading this I still file it under my desk for mopping up spilt tea: right wing anarchist self-justifying bulls***. Read morePublished on March 6, 2013 by anotherreader
Parecon attempts to defend "participatory" economics. However, only a bureaucrat could love "parecon". Read morePublished on October 8, 2008 by Norman Strojny
this book is well written, well researched and well thought out.
the argument against capitalism, market socialism and centrally planned economies is firmly established... Read more
In this comprehensive, well-organised argument for a meaningful post-capitalist political economy, Michael Albert critiques both free-market capitalism as well as its existing (or... Read morePublished on March 9, 2008 by Shayn Mccallum
Definitely. We cannot count on Mr. Albert's ideas to move away from capitalism.Published on April 2, 2007 by Paulo Oneto
Because there is no "before capitalism." A stupid, stupid book designed to trick people into communism.Published on November 20, 2006 by R
If you're a Hobbesian type who feels that life is brutish, short, and that people are basically animals that need to be continually monitored, goaded into working, etc. Read morePublished on June 3, 2005 by E.V. Debs
Credit to Albert for exploring new ideas. A few good insights. But I haven't been able to finish.
I found the writing style tedious. Read more